There is no excuse for driving without a valid car insurance – it is illegal. Can you drive without insurance if the car is insured?
Even if the vehicle itself is insured, you can still be punished if you are not properly insured to drive the vehicle.
Is driving without car insurance always illegal?
Driving a vehicle on a public road without at least a basic level of car insurance (liability insurance) is against the law.
If the society you drive in is not available to the public, you do not need insurance.
From a legal point of view, liability insurance is the absolute minimum you need. The insurance will cover you if you are held responsible for a traffic accident that will injure others or damage their property.
In addition to third-party protection, you can choose additional fire and theft protection, or opt for comprehensive insurance that includes protection against damage to your own vehicle.
Driving a car without insurance is a crime
In all 50 states, driving a car without insurance is a crime. If you drive a vehicle that is registered but not insured, you drive uninsured and will be subject to severe penalties.
In states like Oregon, these penalties may include:
- A fine of up to USD 427
- Suspension of license for up to one year
- Keeping SR-22 insurance for up to three years
Remember that cars must be insured before they can be registered in the state. For example, in Michigan, you must buy insurance without a fault before the state issues a label. The same requirement applies when renewing registration.
An expired car will probably also have expired tags, and the police will routinely check plates that go beyond their registration date.
You do not need motor insurance if:
- you have a valid statutory field notification (SORN)
- your vehicle has been kept away from a public road since February 1, 1998
- your vehicle has been scrapped, stolen or removed and you have notified
- your vehicle is between dealers or in stock by an authorized dealer.
If your vehicle seems uninsured, you will receive a warning from the Motor Insurers Bureau to insure your vehicle or check that the insurance company has entered the correct data into its database. If you are insured, you should contact the insurer immediately.
If you do not insure your vehicle, you will receive a permanent penalty notification, and if you still do not insure it, it may be seized, clamped or destroyed, or you may be brought back to court.