Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • All drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance in order to drive legally
  • If you get into a car accident without insurance, you could be fined and/or imprisoned
  • You are responsible for paying for the entirety of the accident if you do not have insurance
  • Not having insurance means you could be left with a totaled car and no financial means to repair or replace it
  • Affordable car insurance policies can be found by using a comparison tool

If you do not have car insurance and get into a car accident, you are responsible for all of the expenses incurred during the accident. This means that you must pay for both your car repairs and medical bills and the other driver’s car repairs and medical bills. You could also face fines from the police and DMV as well as other legal and civil penalties. If you do not have car insurance, it is in your best interest to find a policy. This can be easily accomplished by using a comparison tool. Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Did You Have Insurance Prior to the Accident?

If you had insurance prior to the accident, your insurance company is responsible for repairing your vehicle to its precedent status or replacing your vehicle with a comparable car if your vehicle is deemed a total loss. Some insurance companies will also offer you the cash equivalent of your vehicle minus any fees and deductible. If you take a cash option, you can use the money to buy a new car of your choice. If you are canceled, you can use a comparison tool to find a new insurance policy.

Your insurance company can cancel you after your car accident, but they are still responsible for repairing or replacing your vehicle.

If you did not have insurance or could not provide proof of insurance at the time of the accident, you were likely issued a citation. Not having insurance can result in the suspension of your plates and registration. You may have to pay fees to the DMV for each day you remain uninsured, and you may not be able to renew any registrations until you’ve taken care of all the fees associated with not having insurance. In addition to DMV fines, citations and other penalties, the driver of the other vehicle or their insurance company could opt to sue you for the bills incurred during the accident.

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Do You Own Your Car or Is It Financed

When you do not have insurance, you are financially responsible for the repair or replacement of your vehicle. No insurance company will offer you any sum of money for it. If you own your vehicle, it is up to you whether or not you want to repair or replace it.

If you still owe money on your vehicle, you will have to continue making payments until the car is paid off. This means that if you finance another vehicle, you will be responsible for paying both loans. If your lender finds out the car is uninsured or not insured up to the provisions of your loan agreement, they may assess penalties and issue forced-place insurance. Forced-place insurance does not absolve you of your state’s minimum insurance requirements. It only protects the lender. To find car insurance for your vehicle that meets the state minimum requirements, you can use a comparison tool to receive multiple quotes.

Salvage Titles

If a car has been deemed unrepairable by an insurance company, the title will be marked “Salvage Parts Only”. What this means is that the car cannot be repaired for less than the car is worth. At this point, the car is turned into the DMV as being a total loss, and the DMV issues a Salvage title or certificate.

A salvage title or certificate is different than a car being deemed completely unrepairable. An “unrepairable” stamp on a title means that the car can only be sold for parts or scrap. A salvage designation means the car cannot legally be driven, sold or registered in its current condition.

If you do not have car insurance, it is up to you to notify the DMV that the car has been wrecked, and the cost to repair it would be more than the car is worth.

  • Unrepairable on a car title means the car can only be sold for scrap
  • Salvage on a car title means the car cannot be registered, driven or sold in its current condition
  • The insurance company or owner must notify the DMV with the car’s status

Repairing and Reregistering a Salvage Vehicle

Salvage vehicles can technically be repaired and reregistered. However, the total loss vehicle must be repaired and inspected. The inspection must show that the vehicle is safe to drive and passes all applicable emissions tests and requirements of the state where you reside.

Once your vehicle is deemed roadworthy, you must go to the DMV and apply for a Revived Salvage title.

Different states will have different requirements for reviving a salvaged vehicle. In general, you will need to fill out the application for a new title, and you will need to bring proof that you own the car, any inspection forms and pay any applicable fees.

  • Repair the vehicle
  • Get any needed inspections
  • Go to the DMV and apply for a Revived Salvage title

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Getting Car Insurance after an Accident

If you did not have car insurance prior to your accident, you will be deemed a high-risk driver, and your insurance premiums will increase dramatically. Once you become a high-risk driver, you will have to find insurance with a company that has policies for high-risk drivers, and that may not include your previous insurance carrier.

If you intend to reinsure your salvaged vehicle, you may find the process difficult. Some insurance companies do not insure salvaged vehicles at all, and those that do may only offer liability coverage. This means that if you get into another accident, and the accident is deemed to be your fault, you would be responsible for paying for your car repairs and any medical expenses. To find insurance policies for high-risk drivers or to insure your salvaged vehicle, use an insurance comparison tool to quickly pull up quotes from multiple insurance companies. Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!