Buy Auto Liability Insurance or Face the Consequences
Every U.S. state has financial responsibility laws on the books, and these require almost all vehicle owners to purchase liability insurance in order to drive legally. These laws have been on the books for awhile, but some states are stepping up enforcement measures.
For example, Texas has the TexasSure program to make sure that drivers have proper car insurance even if they are not caught driving without it. This is a computerized system that matches vehicle owners to policies. In Texas, the usual punishment for driving without insurance consists of fines, but Dallas takes car insurance enforcement it a step further, and Dallas impounds uninsured cars when the local police find them operating without required minimum Texas liability insurance.
Penalties For Driving Without Insurance
These penalties also vary for each state. Typically, they include fines. Some states even impose jail time, suspended licenses and registrations, and required hours of community service. Most of the time, penalties get worse for subsequent infractions than they are for first timers.
State by State Minimum Liability Insurance Rules
Minimum required liability laws differ in every state. They always include coverage for property damage and bodily injury. But remember that liability insurance covers the “other guy,” and it is not purchased to protect your car. You need comprehensive and collision coverage for that. Some states also require other coverage like PIP (personal injury protection) and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Here’s how to understand liability coverage:
- Here is an example of Alaska’s rule: 50/100/25.
- This means that the policy has to include at least $100,000 or total injury coverage per accident, $50,000 for injury for each person, and $25,000 of property damage.
- Disclaimer: These laws are subject to change, so you need to contact your state insurance department or a locally license agents for the right numbers. This is for informational use only.
Also note that some required policies do not come with very high limits. For example, this is California: 15/30/5. It is certainly easy to imagine an accident doing more than $5,000 worth of damages to a fairly new car. It is also easy to imagine hospital bills exceeding $15,000 or $30K for the entire accident. People with assets to protect may want to consider purchasing a policy with higher limits or buying umbrella insurance to protect assets.
State by State Limits
- Alaska 50/100/25
- Alabama 25/50/25
- Arkansas 25/50/25
- Arizona 15/30/10
- California 15/30/5
- Colorado 25/50/15
- Connecticut 20/40/10
- Delaware 15/30/10
- Florida 10/20/10
- Georgia 25/50/25
- Hawaii 20/40/10
- Idaho 20/50/15
- Illinois 20/40/15
- Indiana 25/50/10
- Iowa 20/40/15
- Kansas 25/50/10
- Kentucky 25/50/10
- Louisiana 15/30/25
- Maine 50/100/25
- Maryland 30/60/15
- Massachusetts 20/40/5
- Michigan 20/40/10
- Minnesota 30/60/10
- Mississippi 25/50/25
- Missouri 25/50/10
- Montana 25/50/10
- Nebraska 25/50/25
- New Hampshire 25/50/25
- New Jersey 15/30/5
- New Mexico 25/50/10
- Nevada 15/30/10
- New York 25/50/10
- North Carolina 30/60/25
- North Dakota 25/50/25
- Ohio 12.5/25/7.5
- Oklahoma 25/50/25
- Oregon 25/50/20
- Pennsylvania 15/30/5
- Rhode Island 25/50/25
- South Carolina 25/50/25
- South Dakota 25/50/25
- Tennessee 25/50/15
- Texas 30/60/25
- Utah 25/65/15
- Virginia 25/50/20
- Vermont 25/50/10
- Washington 25/50/10
- Wisconsin 50/100/55
- West Virginia 20/40/10
- Wyoming 25/100/15
List of State Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Again, state laws may change, and this is just for information and comparison purposes.
First offense: 45-day license suspension and/or up to a $500 fine; subsequent offense: up to $1,000 and/or suspension of license up to six months.
First offense: 90-day driver’s license suspension; second offense: one-year driver’s license suspension.
First offense: $250 fine, suspension of license up to three months; second offense within 36 months: mandatory fine of at least $500 and up to six-month suspension of license and registration; third offense within 36 months: mandatory fine of at least $750 and mandatory one-year suspension of license and registration.
First offense: $50 to $250 fine; second offense: $250 to $500 fine; subsequent offense: $500 to $1,000 fine and/or one year in jail.
First offense: $100 to $200 fine; subsequent offense within three years: $200 to $500 fine. Judge must impose greater fines if defendant fails to provide proof of insurance in court.
First offense: $500 fine; subsequent offenses: $1,000 fine; sentence of up to 40 hours of community service also possible.
First offense: $35 fine; subsequent offenses: $50 fine.
First offense: mandatory fine of $1,500 to $2,000 and license suspension for six months; subsequent offenses: $3,000 to $4,000 fine and six-month suspension of license and registration.
District of Columbia
First offense: $300 to $500 fine; subsequent offenses: $500 to $2,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.
Suspension of registration and driver’s license if you fail to provide proof of insurance in court.
$200 to $1,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail; suspension of registration until proof of insurance is provided and fees are paid.
First offense: $500 fine; subsequent offense: $2,500 fine; judge may suspend first offense fine and order community service at request of defendant.
First offense: $75 fine; subsequent offenses: up to $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail.
$500 to $1,000 fine and three-month driver’s license suspension.
First offense: Court may suspend driver’s license or vehicle registration for one year; subsequent offenses within five years: suspension of driver’s license for one year.
Citation and removal of license plates and registration receipt, possible impoundment of vehicle.
First offense: $300 to $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail; subsequent convictions within three years: $800 to $2,500 fine; penalties may include driver’s license suspension and revocation of vehicle registration.
First offense: $500 to $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail; subsequent offenses within five years: $1,000 to $2,500 fine and/or 180 days in jail.
First offense: license plate impoundment and $50 reinstatement fee; second offense: $150 fine; subsequent convictions: $500 fine.
$100 to $500 fine and 30-day license and registration suspension.
Registration suspension and $150 fine per vehicle without insurance for one to 30 days; after that, fine increases by $7 per day; maximum penalty of $2,500 for 12-month period.
Up to $500 fine if no previous conviction or finding; otherwise $500 to $5,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail.
$200 to $500 fine and/or up to one year in jail.
First offense: $200 to $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail; subsequent conviction within 10 years: $200 to $3,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail.
$500 fine and up to one-year license suspension.
Suspension of driver’s license or assessment of four points on driver’s license.
First offense: $250 to $500 fine and/or 10 days in jail; second offense in five years: $350 fine and/or 10 days in jail, surrender and suspension of registration and license plates until proof of compliance is furnished; third or subsequent offense within five years: $500 fine and/or up to six months in jail, surrender and suspension of registration of license plates until proof is furnished; fourth offense: surrender and suspension of driver’s license.
Driver’s license suspension.
Up to $1,000 fine; civil penalties of $600 to $1,000, suspension of license and registration.
First offense: $300 to $1,000 fine, community service and forfeiture of the right to operate a motor vehicle for one year; subsequent convictions: 14 days in jail and forfeiture to operator motor vehicle for two years, up to $5,000 fine and 30 days community service.
Up to $300 fine and registration suspension.
$150 to $1,500 fine and/or up to 15 days in jail, plus $750 civil penalty.
First offense: $50 fine and revocation of vehicle registration of 30 days; second offense within three years: $100; third offense: $150.
First offense: minimum $150 fine and revocation or suspension of registration until proof of insurance is provided; subsequent offense within 18 months: minimum $300 fine.
First offense: revocation of registration, $75 fine and three-month driver license suspension; second offense in five years: one-year license suspension; subsequent violations: two-year license suspension.
Up to $250 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail; suspension of driving privileges until reinstatement fee is paid and proof of insurance furnished.
License suspension or registration revocation.
$300 fine, three-month suspension of driver’s license and registration.
First offense: $100 to $500 fine and up to three-month license and registration suspension; second offense: $500 fine and up to six-month suspension; third and subsequent offense: $1,000 fine and up to one year suspension.
First offense: $100 to $200 fine or up to 30 days in jail; second offense within five years: $200 fine and/or 30 days in jail; third or subsequent offense within five years: 45 days to six months in jail.
30-day to one-year driver’s license suspension.
Up to $100 fine.
First offense: $175 to $350 fine; subsequent offenses: $350 to $2,000 fine.
First offense: $400 fine; subsequent offense within three years: $1,000 fine and driver’s license suspension until proof of insurance furnished.
$100 fine and driver’s license suspension until supplying proof of insurance.
Driver license and vehicle registration suspension.
Up to $250 fine or community restitution.
First offense: $200 to $5,000 fine, 30-day driver’s license suspension, revocation of vehicle registration until proof of insurance provided; subsequent offense: $200 to $5,000 fine and/or 15 days to one year in jail.
Up to $5,000 fine.