D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Sep 9, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • Driving without car insurance can result in your vehicle being towed and your license suspended
  • Gaps in car insurance coverage could put you in a high-risk pool
  • Your car insurance rates can increase by $30 or more per month if you’re caught driving without insurance

Is it bad not to have auto insurance? Driving without car insurance can have serious consequences. Repeat offenders often have their driver’s license revoked and their car impounded.

But did you know penalties vary for each state? Don’t worry – we’re here to help.

Our car insurance guide explains why driving without auto insurance is a bad idea and what you can do to get insured right away.

After you learn about why not having car insurance is a bad idea, enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool above to compare affordable insurance companies near you.

Is it bad not to have car insurance?

If you plan on driving a vehicle, then yes. All drivers are required to carry the minimum auto insurance requirements.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Safety, motorists in the state aren’t required to have car insurance. Also, New Hampshire drivers don’t have to show proof of auto insurance.

But is it illegal? Continue to the following subsection to learn more.

Is driving without car insurance illegal?

The answer is yes. Law enforcement enforces auto insurance law. If you’re in a state with a mandatory car insurance law, you could face a misdemeanor charge for driving without insurance.

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What happens if you get caught driving without car insurance?

If you get pulled over and don’t have auto insurance, several events can occur. Here’s a list of penalties you may encounter.

  • Driver’s license suspended
  • Vehicle towed and impounded
  • Jail time
  • Driver’s license revoked
  • Fines

You can encounter all of these penalties at once. Each state law responds differently to driving without insurance violations.

Let’s look at how fines vary for each state and how driving without car insurance impacts monthly rates.

Fines for Driving Without Car Insurance by State
StatesPenalty (Fines)Average Monthly Car Insurance Rate w/ Failure to Show Proof of Insurance Violation
Alabama$500-$1,000$125
Alaska$500$128
Arizona$500-$1,000$131
Arkansas$50-$250$158
California$100-$200$167
Colorado$500$147
Connecticut$100-$1,000$156
Delaware$1,500-$3,000$142
Florida$150-$500$211
Georgia$25-$185$160
Hawaii$500-$5,000$92
Idaho$75-$1,000$106
Illinois$500-$1,000$114
Indiana$250-$1,000$105
Iowa$250$100
Kansas$300-$2,500$146
Kentucky$500-$1,000$167
Louisiana$500-$1,000$225
Maine$100-$500$110
Maryland$1,000-$2,500$124
Massachusetts$500-$5,000$156
Michigan$200-$500$236
Minnesota$200-$3,000$120
Mississippi$1,000$131
Missouri$500$163
Montana$250-$500$141
Nebraska$50$138
Nevada$250-$1,000$150
New Jersey$300-$5,000$149
New Mexico$300-$1,000$116
New York$150-$1,500$141
North Carolina$50-$150$106
North Dakota$150-$5,000$118
Ohio$160-$660$88
Oklahoma$250$136
Oregon$130-$1,000$124
Pennsylvania$300$114
Rhode Island$100-$1,000$172
South Carolina$100-$550$141
South Dakota$100-$500$130
Tennessee$25-$300$109
Texas$175-$1,000$129
Utah$400-$1,000$114
Vermont$0-$500$93
Virginia$500$94
Washington$550-$1,000$115
West Virginia$200-$5,000$125
Wisconsin$510$98
Wyoming$250-$1,500$130

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Some states have a zero-dollar fine, but other states have fines up to $5,000. In addition to fines, your auto insurance rates could increase by $145 each month.

What happens if you get into an accident without car insurance?

Getting into an accident while driving without insurance can create a lot of legal problems for you.

First, you’ll have to deal with state law penalties. Second, the no-fault driver can take legal action against you.

Also, your auto insurance rates will go up. Let’s see what car insurance rates look like when you have an at-fault accident and no proof of insurance on your driving record.

  • Average Monthly Car Insurance Rate for Good Drivers – $108/month
  • Average Monthly Car Insurance Rate for One At-Fault Accident – $168/month
  • Average Monthly Car Insurance Rate for One At-Fault Accident & No Proof of Car Insurance – $174/month

Driving infractions and accidents drive up your auto insurance rates and disqualify you from specific discounts.

Do everything you can to save money. Ask your car insurance company to help you find eligible car insurance deals.

How long can you drive without car insurance?

Drivers are not supposed to be behind the wheel if their vehicle is not insured. State laws across the United States make it very clear that all drivers should have auto insurance.

If you don’t have car insurance, don’t drive your vehicle. It’s too risky, and you could get into trouble that isn’t worth it.

Can I have a car without car insurance and not drive it?

It’s okay to own a vehicle that isn’t insured yet, but you shouldn’t drive unless the car has insurance.

You’re required to buy car insurance before you drive off a dealer’s lot. Although you own the car, the dealer won’t contribute to any negligence.

Therefore, you won’t be able to drive a vehicle without getting it insured first.

How do I find cheap rates after a gap in car insurance coverage?

It’s challenging to locate affordable auto insurance rates when you’ve had a gap in insurance coverage. Accidents and driving violations have a significant effect on car insurance.

Here are three ways you can lower car insurance rates.

  • Target car insurance discounts
  • Opt for liability-only coverage
  • Lower your coverage limits

If you can’t get cheaper auto insurance, try shopping with multiple companies. Some of the best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers are Dairyland and The General.

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Is It Bad Not to Have Car Insurance: The Bottom Line?

It’s a bad idea to drive your vehicle without insurance. Driving uninsured increases future auto insurance rates, affects your driving history, and has the potential to get you in trouble with the law.

Now that you know why it’s bad not to have car insurance, use our free comparison tool to locate the best insurance companies in your area.