We all know that you need a driver’s license in order to drive a car (or at least I hope you do!). But what about car insurance? Can you drive a car without insurance?

Let’s find out. 

Can You Drive A Car Without Insurance?

Technically, yes, you can drive a car without insurance. However, if you do, you’re mostly likely breaking the law. 

So, if we change the question to “can you legally drive a car without insurance” then the answer is pretty much always a big fat no.

In most states in the U.S., you cannot legally drive a vehicle if you don’t have car insurance. It is just flat out against the law to drive a car to do that. So if you do drive without insurance and get caught, you will likely get ticket, a fine and maybe worse (more on this below).

When You Can Get Away With It

There are a few scenarios where you can drive a car without insurance. 

One is in the state of New Hampshire. Did you know it’s possible to drive a car there if you don’t have an auto insurance policy?

Yes, that’s correct. In the state of New Hampshire, you can purchase surety bonds or make a cash deposit to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as an alternative to a car insurance policy. 

However, both options are expensive. So it may not be worth it to go that route.

The other scenario is for those who have a permit but not a full driver’s license. The most common example is a teenager who’s just learning how to drive. 

Those who have a permit do NOT have to have insurance to drive a car. The coverage from their parent’s policy will cover them until they get a full on license. 

Penalties For Driving With No Car Insurance

Now, let us get back to the penalties that you may receive by driving without car insurance. The specifics will vary depending on which state you’re in. So, to get the exact penalties, you’ll have to look up the rules for your state. However, here are some generalities you can expect. 

In some states, you’ll get a ticket and have to pay a penalty. And that penalty can be a pretty hefty fine (over $1,000 in some states).

Other states have much stricter penalties. One of the more common ones is the suspension of your driver’s license. Or you the authorities may impound your car.

The inability to prove that you have a car insurance is different from not having one at all. And the penalties for each will generally differ. 

Some of the penalties for driving a car without car insurance includes: 

  • Vehicle impound
  • Suspension of license
  • Sentencing to prison

If you get into an accident and don’t have a car insurance policy, things will be even worse for you. For example, in California, you may lose your license for up to a year for that violation. While New York charges a fine for up to $1,500 and an additional penalty fee of $750. 

Not to mention, you may be personally on the hook for damage to your car (and others) as well as healthcare costs and possibly more. 

When it comes to car insurance coverage, the required coverage will also differ on a state by state basis. The reason why states (along with lenders) require you to have a car insurance policy if you buy a vehicle, is because as soon as you purchase your car, you are the legal owner of it. 

So for you to avoid violating a law, you will need to purchase and keep a proof of your car insurance before you drive.

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