Can I be arrested for not having car insurance?
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UPDATED: May 19, 2021
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- Auto insurance is required by law in almost every state
- If you are caught driving without insurance, you could be fined or lose your license
- You probably will not be arrested if it is your first offense for not having car insurance
If you own or drive a car, you know how expensive it can be. Car payments, gas, maintenance, tolls – the list goes on and on. If you are looking to reduce costs and save money, one expense many people look at cutting is their car insurance.
Is that a good idea? Can you get into trouble with the police and maybe even get arrested?
A better option to save money would be to comparison shop for car insurance to get the best rate. Try our free rate tool above to get started.
Why do you have to have insurance?
There are several reasons why the government requires you to have car insurance:
- To make sure that you can pay for any damage or injury resulting from an accident
- To make sure that your car loan is paid if you wreck your car
- To make sure that you can pay for your own medical care that you may need from an accident
California is a good example of the typical car insurance requirements. In California, the government sets specific requirements for car insurance:
- $15,000 for the death or injury of any one person. If one person is injured in the accident, your coverage pays up to $15,000.
- A total of $30,000 for the death or injury of more than one person in any one accident. If two or more people are injured, the coverage pays up to $30,000. The coverage will not pay more. The injured people share the money.
- $5,000 for damage to the property of other people.
Most states have similar minimum requirements. In some states, if your driving record is so bad that no insurance company will sell you a policy, you can buy insurance from the state or pay an uninsured drivers’ fee.
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How much will car insurance cost?
Because almost all car insurance is sold by private insurance companies, its cost will depend upon how risky a driver you are.
The insurance companies determine your risk and the cost based on your age, sex and driving history.
- A 19-year-old single male with a speeding ticket will pay from $1,400 to $10,000 a year for car insurance.
- A 65-year old married couple with a clean record will pay from $300 to $3,200 a year for car insurance.
What are the penalties for not having car insurance?
Each state sets the penalties if you are caught without car insurance. The penalties are different in each state; they can include:
- a ticket and/or fine
- suspension/revocation of your vehicle registration or driver’s license
- arrest and jail for repeat offenders
For example, in Virginia, uninsured drivers face a $500 fine and suspension of driver’s license and vehicle registration.
If you live in Montana, however, you could be arrested and jailed for up to six months if you’ve been caught three or more times driving without insurance.
If you are looking to save money and reduce the costs of owning and operating your car, there are many good ways to reduce expenses. For example, you could reduce the number of miles you drive or buy a cheaper grade of fuel.
However, you should not drop your car insurance. Driving without insurance is illegal; if you are caught, you could be fined and have your driver’s license and vehicle registration suspended. Depending on your state laws, you could even be arrested and sent to prison.