Driving without insurance risky – and often illegal

May 9, 2018 | By: Christina Goldberg

The Insurance Research Council reports one out of eight drivers in the U.S. is uninsured and putting insured drivers at greater risk. If you’re insured, you might think that this statistic doesn’t affect you.

However, the Insurance Journal reports, “When an uninsured driver is at fault in an accident, insured drivers or their insurance companies often are left to pay for the resulting physical damage and health costs. Similarly, an underinsured driver may not have high enough policy limits to cover all costs of damage.”

The study found 13 percent of all U.S. motorists were uninsured in 2015, up from 12.3 percent in 2010 – reversing a seven-year decline. Forty-nine states require drivers to carry car insurance.

The state of insurance statistics

The only state that does not mandate drivers to carry car insurance is New Hampshire, although individuals are still responsible for damages up to $50,000 for liability and $25,000 for property damage. In Virginia, there is an option – if drivers don’t want to pay for insurance, they have to pay the state a $500 fee annually. However, they would still be held liable if they caused an accident.

Regardless of the requirement throughout the majority of the country, the number of uninsured drivers varies from a low of 4.5 percent in Maine to a high of 26.7 percent in Florida. Mississippi, New Mexico, Michigan and Tennessee join Florida in the top five states with uninsured drivers.

What are the consequences of driving without insurance?

In Florida, failure to maintain personal injury protection coverage and property damage liability coverage on a motor vehicle may result in the loss of registration and driving privileges in the state. There are also additional costs associated with reinstating the license or registration. Furthermore, securing a insurance policy that cannot be canceled may also be required for reinstatement.

Additionally, if you cause an accident and are uninsured, you could be sued. If you don’t have the amount of money necessary to cover the costs of the complainant’s damages, your assets (i.e. property, vehicles, etc.) could be in jeopardy. Unfortunately, as attorneys, we have seen the further devastation that befalls an injured client who is himself without Uninsured Motorist insurance and was injured through no fault of his own with an uninsured driver.

Insurance can be costly, and some might feel that premiums are too high to pay. However, the penalties and consequences are hefty and could do devastating, permanent damage to your finances and ability to hold a license in the state of Florida.