Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance

There are close to 250 million drivers in the United States and every day they suffer from over 6,000 injuries resulting from tens of thousands of car accidents. For the most part, medical bills, property damage, and liability will be covered by insurance and all drivers will go their separate ways with minimal financial loss.

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But uninsured drivers throw a spanner in the works and can cause big problems for over 200 million insured drivers. These high-risk drivers lack even the most basic liability insurance and this puts everyone at risk. 

Uninsured drivers cause chaos for other drivers and for insurance companies. They drain money from the US economy every year and they also harm themselves, as there are severe penalties for anyone found to be driving without insurance.

Penalties for Uninsured Drivers (First Offense)

What follows is a list of state laws concerning uninsured motorists and the penalties that will be enforced when they are found to be uninsured.

In most cases, you will be fined a small sum, face a license and registration suspension, and be required to prove that you have insurance coverage before your license is reinstated.

  • Alabama = Fine of up to $500; imprisonment of less than 3 months, license suspension ($200 to reinstate).
  • Alaska = Suspension of driver’s license for at least 3 months.
  • Arizona = Fine of $500 or more; driver’s license suspended for at least 3 months.
  • Arkansas = Fine of between $50 and $250. Can’t register until insurance is acquired and proof is supplied.
  • California = Fine of between $100 and $200. Vehicle may be impounded.
  • Colorado = Fine of $500 or more. Community service may be ordered.
  • Connecticut = Fine of between $100 and $1,000. License may be suspended for 1 month, after which proof of insurance must be provided.
  • D.C. = Different penalties for operating and owning, with fines ranging from $150 to $500 and license suspension that can last for up to 30 days.
  • Delaware = Fine of between $1,500 and $2,000. License suspended for up to 6 months
  • Florida = License suspended until insurance is acquired and reinstatement fee of $150 is paid.
  • Georgia = Fine of between $200 and $1,000. Can face prison time of up to 12 months. License can be suspended for 60 days, after which as reinstatement fee of $200 is due.
  • Hawaii = Fine of $500. License may be suspended as well, and community service can also be ordered.
  • Idaho = Fine of $75. License will be suspended until proof of insurance or financial responsibility is provided.
  • Illinois = Fine of over $500 and no more than $1,000. License suspended for 3 months; reinstatement fee of $100.
  • Indiana = License can be suspended for up to a year and for no less than 3 months, with a reinstatement fee of $150.
  • Iowa = Fine of $250 (or community service). Car can also be impounded.
  • Kansas = Fine of more than $300 and less than $1,000. Can also face imprisonment, with a reinstatement fee before the license is returned.
  • Kentucky = Fine of more than $500 and no more than $1,000. Imprisonment is also possible along with, or in lieu of, a fine.
  • Louisiana = Fine of no more than $500. Suspension, reinstatement fee and impoundment also possible.
  • Maine = Fine of between $100 and $500. License suspended until insurance is acquired.
  • Maryland = Fine begins at $150 but can increase by $7 per day after a fixed period, reaching as much as $2,500. Restoration fee is also levied.
  • Massachusetts = Fines of $500 paid to both the city and risk plan. Imprisonment of up to 1 year also possible and license can be suspended for 2 months.
  • Michigan = Fine of between $200 and $500 and/or imprisonment of less than 1 year.
  • Minnesota = Fine of between $200 and $1,000 and/or imprisonment of no more than 90 days. License suspended until proof of insurance is provided. Community service and impoundment may also be ordered.
  • Mississippi = Fine of $500, license suspended for 1 year or until proof of insurance is provided.
  • Missouri = Fine of no more than $300; license suspended until proof of insurance and a $20 fee are provided.
  • Montana = Fine of between $250 and $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 days.
  • Nebraska = License and registration suspended until reinstatement fee of $50 each is paid.
  • Nevada = Fine of between $250 and $1,000; reinstatement fee of $250.
  • New Hampshire = No laws concerning mandatory car insurance.
  • New Jersey = Fine of between $300 and $1,000. License suspended for up to 1 year. Community service may be ordered.
  • New Mexico = A fine of less than $300 and/or imprisonment of up to 90 days.
  • New York = Fine of between $150 and $1,500 and/or imprisonment for 15 days. License and registration will also be suspended, with escalating fees that increase by the day.
  • North Carolina = $50 fine, probation, license suspension and restoration fee of $50.
  • North Dakota = Fine of no less than $150 and no more than $1,000. Proof of insurance must be provided for reinstatement.
  • Ohio = License is suspended until proof of insurance is provided. Reinstatement fee of up to $100 is also charged.
  • Oklahoma = Fine of less than $250 and/or imprisonment for up to 40 days. Impoundment also possible.
  • Oregon = Fine of between $130 and $1,000.
  • Pennsylvania = Fine of $300. Registration will be suspended until a $50 restoration fee is paid.
  • Rhode Island = Fine of at least $100 and no more than $500. License and registration suspended until fees of between $30 and $50 are paid for each.
  • South Carolina = License and registration suspended until reinstatement fees of $550 are paid and proof of financial responsibility is provided.
  • South Dakota = Fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days. License and registration will also be suspended pending reinstatement fee of $50.
  • Tennessee = Fine of less than $100. License and registration suspended until proof of financial responsibility is provided.
  • Texas = Fine of between $175 and $350.
  • Utah = Fine of at least $400. License and registration suspended until a $100 reinstatement fee is paid.
  • Vermont = Fine of $250 to $500. License and registration suspended until proof of insurance is provided.
  • Virginia = Fine of less than $500. License and registration suspended until $500 fee paid.
  • Washington = Fine of $250 plus additional fees of $37.
  • West Virginia = Fine of no less than $200 and no more than $5,000 and/or imprisonment for at least 15 days and no more than 1 year. License and registration suspended until reinstatement fees are paid.
  • Wisconsin = Fine of up to $500.
  • Wyoming = Fine of between $250 and $750 and/or imprisonment for less than 6 months.

Penalties for Uninsured Drivers (Additional Offenses)

The penalties for being uninsured increase significantly for all additional offenses, especially if they occur within a few years of the last offense. There is a greater risk of your driving privileges being revoked for an extended time and you may also face jail time depending on the severity of the issue and the punishment imposed by the court.

  • Alabama = Constitutes a Class B Misdemeanor, which can result in fines up to $3,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months. License and registration may also be suspended for between 4 and 6 months.
  • Alaska = License suspended for over a year if occurs within 10 years of last offense.
  • Arizona = Fine of at least $750 if occurs within 36 months of last offense. License and registration also suspended for 6 months. If a third offense is committed, fines increase and offenders risk jail time.
  • Arkansas = Fine of up to $500; registration suspended. If a third offense is committed, fines increase and offenders risk jail time.
  • California = Fine of up to $500 in addition to penalty costs if it occurs within 3 years of the first incident. Can also result in the vehicle being impounded.
  • Colorado = Fine of at least $1,000 if it occurs within 5 years of last offense. License and registration suspended for up to a year.
  • Connecticut = Fine of up to $1,000. License and registration suspended for up to 6 months.
  • D.C. = Fine increases by 50% for each additional offense.
  • Delaware – Fine can go as high as $4,000 for each subsequent offense that occurs within 3 years of the last one.
  • Florida = License and registration suspended until reinstatement fee is paid. Fines increase steadily with each offense.
  • Georgia = Same as first offense, but license and registration will be suspended for longer and with a higher reinstatement fee if occurs within 5 years of the last offense.
  • Hawaii = Fines increase, as does the risk of imprisonment and impoundment. By the third offense, these risks are substantial.
  • Idaho = Fine of up to $1,000 if offense occurs within 5 years. May also face up to 6 months in jail.
  • Illinois = Doesn’t change for second offense, but fines and penalties increase substantially for third and subsequent offenses.
  • Indiana = License and registration suspended for up to 1 year. Reinstatement fees of at least $225. Applies to all cases that occur within 5 years of the last.
  • Iowa= N/A
  • Kansas = Up to $2,500 in fines for offenses that occur within 3 years of the last.
  • Kentucky = Up to $2,500 in fines for offenses that occur within 5 years of the last. Offender may also face jail time of 6 months. License and registration will be suspended for 1 year.
  • Louisiana = Fines and fees increase.
  • Maine = N/A
  • Maryland = N/A
  • Massachusetts = Fines of up to $5,000 to the city and $500 to the risk plan. License and registration suspended for 1 year and offender also faces up to 1 year in jail.
  • Michigan = N/A
  • Minnesota = Risk and fines increase significantly for third offense committed within 10 years of the first two.
  • Mississippi = N/A
  • Missouri = Fines and risk increase with each subsequent act. By the third, offenders can face fines of up to $300 and jail time of up to 15 days.
  • Montana = Fines and risk of jail time increase for subsequent offenses that occur within 5-year period.
  • Nebraska = N/A
  • Nevada = Fines of up to $1,000 and reinstatement fee of up to $750 depending on the number of previous offenses.
  • New Hampshire = N/A
  • New Jersey = Fine of up to $5,000 and/or jail time of 14 days. License and registration suspended for 2 years and community service may be ordered.
  • New Mexico = Fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 6 months may be ordered.
  • New York = N/A
  • North Carolina = Fines increase slightly, along with risk of jail time, for every subsequent offense committed within 3 years.
  • North Dakota = Maximum fines and penalties may be levied by the third offense, but the risk is also great for the second offense.
  • Ohio = Second offense can result in license and registration being suspended for a year and this increases to 2 years for the third offense if they occur within 5 years.
  • Oklahoma = N/A
  • Oregon = N/A
  • Pennsylvania = N/A
  • Rhode Island = Fine for second offense is $500, followed by 6 months suspension. This offense can result in a fine of $1,000 and a suspension of 12 months.
  • South Carolina = Additional offenses that occur within 10 years will increase the fines and could lead to jail time of 30 days for the second offense and no less than 45 days for the third.
  • South Dakota = N/A
  • Tennessee = N/A
  • Texas = Additional offenses can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a suspension. Vehicle may also be impounded for 180 days.
  • Utah = Fine of at least $1,000 if occurs within 3 years.
  • Vermont = N/A
  • Virginia = N/A
  • Washington = N/A
  • West Virginia = Same as first offense with harsher suspensions.
  • Wisconsin = N/A
  • Wyoming = Fine of up to $1,500 and/or jail time of no more than 6 months.

Bottom Line: Uninsured Drivers in the US?

According to official statistics, there are 32 million uninsured drivers in the United States, which is roughly 13% of all drivers. This is a staggering statistic for the developed world and if you are in an accident, there is a one in seven chance it will involve one of these drivers.

The good news, however, is that insurance laws are on your side for the most part. Minimum insurance requirements mean that all drivers are required to have some form of cover and, as discussed above, face severe penalties if they do not. 

So, don’t take the chance, don’t leave it to fate, and make sure you get the necessary liability coverage. It will cover you and anyone you’re in an accident with and it will also prevent you from being stung with severe fines and other penalties.