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Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in New Jersey

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in New JerseyBetween the complicated highways, non-sensical turnpikes, and pothole-cratered residential streets, New Jersey is a challenging place to drive for veteran motorists and newcomers alike. Despite these hazards, some drivers still take on the added gamble of driving without insurance, risking extreme financial loss in the event of accident (not to mention steep fines for getting caught).

In New Jersey, all motorists are required to carry insurance meeting the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. Simply put: A driver must purchase coverage including certain features up to specific amounts stipulated by the state.

Unlike most other states, New Jersey is a so-called “no-fault” state. As a result, injuries you sustain in an accident will be covered by your own insurance policy regardless of whether you caused the accident or not. Drivers must carry auto insurance that includes the following minimum limits:

  • Property damage liability ($5,000 per accident)
  • Personal Injury Protection ($15,000 per person, per accident)

While a basic policy is necessary to fulfill the state’s mandatory minimum insurance laws, it will almost always fall short when covering the full costs of treating injuries and repairing your vehicle after a serious crash. Many drivers choose to purchase additional components for added protection to ensure that a wide variety of damages are covered. For example, a driver looking to protect his/her property against damage caused by a natural disaster would elect to invest in comprehensive coverage. Keep in mind, these additions will increase your premiums.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  1. Penalties for driving without car insurance in New Jersey
  2. How to reinstate your license after being caught driving without auto insurance
  3. What if I’m involved in an accident with a person driving without car insurance?
  4. Will I be considered a high-risk driver if I’m caught without car insurance?

If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer or are involved in accident, authorities will request to see proof that your vehicle is insured up to the state’s minimum liability limits. In NJ, officers will accept either electronic or printed evidence such as an insurance card issued by your provider. If you cannot present this proof and officers discover that your vehicle’s insurance has lapsed or your car is uninsured, you could face the penalties we’ve listed below.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in New Jersey

New Jersey lawmakers have little patience for drivers caught without auto insurance. The state enforces some of the strictest penalties in the country for errant motorists caught violating its mandatory insurance laws.

Based on the nature of your violation – for example, if you were driving while intoxicated or were involved in an accident ­– you could face steep fines, additional surcharge assessment fees, a community service sentence, suspension of your license, vehicle impoundment, and even jail time. Keep in mind, if this is your second, third, or subsequent offense, you may be strapped with added penalties.

As a first-time offender, you could be fined $300 to $1,000 and may be ordered to pay a $250 surcharge for three years (that’s a total payment of $750.). Additionally, your license could be suspended for a year and you may be forced to comply with a prolonged community service sentence. If your vehicle is impounded by authorities, you will have to pay $100 to reclaim it.

As a serial offender, your fine could scale as high as $5,000. Fortunately, the surcharge total remains the same, but your license may be suspended for an extra year. Additionally, you may be ordered to complete 180 hours of community service and could spend up to two weeks behind bars.

How to Reinstate Your License After Being Caught Driving Without Auto Insurance

Unlike many other states, New Jersey does not offer motorists opportunities to fast track their license suspensions. Not only will you have to wait out your suspension period, but you will also have to fulfill all obligations set out by the courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles before your driving privileges are restored. These requirements can include completing your community service sentence and paying off your outstanding fines.

You will need to show the Department proof of an insurance policy meeting the state’s mandated minimum liability limits.

What If I’m Involved in an Accident with a Person Driving Without Insurance?

Uninsured drivers are a highway hazard for anyone driving in the country. In New Jersey, it’s estimated that more than 14% of all motorists are not carrying adequate coverage. But what does this mean for you?

If you’re involved in an accident with one of these errant motorists, it’s unlikely they will have the financial means to compensate you for your loss. You do have the option to file a lawsuit against the driver, but in most cases this is a dead-end, amounting to little more than a protracted legal battle with a tiny payoff worth half as much as the cost of reaching the verdict. Your best bet: Invest in uninsured motorist coverage.

While New Jersey does not require motorists to carry this added feature, our Geeks recommend purchasing this relatively inexpensive addon to bolster your existing coverage. This policy addon will reimburse you for property damage and/or medical costs related to an accident involving an uninsured, at-fault driver.

Will I Be Considered a High-Risk Driver If I’m Caught Without Car Insurance?

Probably. Insurance companies use the term “high-risk driver” to describe motorists who have a higher than average chance of causing or being involved in an accident. As a result, high-risk drivers pay more for insurance than the average motorist.

If you were caught violating insurance laws, nabbed driving while intoxicated, caused a serious accident, or violating many of the state’s traffic laws, it’s possible you are now considered a high-risk driver. Any traffic violations you commit and accidents you are involved in (or caused) are recorded on your permanent driving record. Insurers use this document to help calculate your premiums.

However, you can still reduce your premiums as a high-risk driver by taking time to pick up safer driving habits, completing a driving safety course, avoiding accidents for a few years, and not committing traffic violations in that same time period. Additional discounts are available to motorists who drive less and invest in cars equipped with advanced safety features. Contact your provider to learn more about their premium discounts.

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How Auto Insurance Companies Determine Fault in Car Accidents

How Auto Insurance Companies Determine Fault in Car AccidentsWho caused the accident? This fundamental question lies at the heart of any insurance claim, helping providers calculate and determine fair compensation to the motorists involved. But this simple question doesn’t always have an easy answer. Often, claims adjusters have to perform detailed investigations to determine insurance liability.

Before we delve into the process of determining fault, we will first look at the difference between “fault” states and “no-fault” states. In so-called “no-fault” states, drivers are required by law to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Med Pay. This coverage will kick in to pay for medical costs stemming from an accident regardless of who or what was to blame for the accident. Typically, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit in these states unless your claim meets certain state-specific criteria (i.e. you suffered a permanent disability or incurred significant damages).

The following states have no-fault auto insurance laws: Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah. But the majority of states follow a “fault system.” In these states, motorists have three main avenues to pursue when seeking compensation for damages sustained in a crash:

  1. Filing a claim against the at-fault motorist’s auto insurance provider;
  2. Filing a claim with their own insurer; or
  3. Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist.

To recover compensation in a third-party claim, you will be required to prove that the other motorist was at fault. Important evidence might include a copy of the official police accident report, photographs taken at the site of the crash, witness statements, and more.

It is now up to the insurance company’s claims adjuster – an individual responsible for resolving claims – to conduct a complete investigation to determine fault. Fault is not a black-and-white equation; it is not uncommon for multiple parties to share liability.

For example, let’s assume a distracted driver rear-ended your vehicle on the highway. However, the official accident report reveals that you had changed lanes in front of the driver without signaling. Your insurer may decide that you were 25% responsible for causing the accident. Depending on your state, you could now be held liable for 25% of the damages sustained by the other party/parties involved. This illustrates the importance of building a watertight case as a few percentage points can add up to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the circumstances.

Take note: In states that employ modified comparative negligence laws, such as Iowa, your claim will most likely be rejected if a claims adjuster concludes that you were more than 50% to blame for an accident taking place.

How to Help the Insurance Company Determine Fault After a Car Accident

If you are involved in a collision, there are steps you can take to streamline the claims process and help the insurance adjuster determine fault. Keep the following tips in mind:

1. Get a Police Report

In the event of a severe accident – typically where one or more parties sustained injuries, or property damaged exceeded $1,000 – police may be phoned in to compile an investigative report on the crash. This report is a document detailing important information surrounding the accident, such as whether any of the drivers involved were ticketed for a moving violation, any of the drivers tested over the legal blood alcohol limit, or any of the drivers were driving without insurance.

In negotiations with insurers, the success of your claim can hinge on the information inside this report. However, this report can contain inaccurate information, in which case you can request to amend the details, or you can bring in other evidence such as eyewitness testimony to corroborate your version of events.

2. Don’t Admit Fault at the Scene

Regardless of the circumstances, you should never confess to causing an accident. Insurance adjusters are looking for any evidence to dispute your claim – and a crash-site confession is going to put you in their crosshairs.

In the moment it may seems like the crash was your fault, but additional evidence could later emerge showing you were not entirely to blame for the accident taking place. If you are involved in a collision, focus on taking down the contact details and insurance information of the other party/parties involved instead.

3. Gather Evidence at the Scene

It can be hard to keep calm after a crash but gathering the right evidence in the minutes following a collision can mean all the difference. Using your phone or a camera, take photographs of any property damage you sustained in the crash. You should also snap pictures of road markings, street signs, and anything else that may help you prove fault.

Gathering witness statements can also help bolster your case by lending even more credibility to your version of events. Don’t forget to take down the contact details of any witnesses you speak to as the claims adjuster may need this information to follow up.

In addition to an invoice of your repair bill, you should also include both a receipt of your current and future medical costs for injuries you sustained in the crash. Many drivers forget to include a full list of these expenses as part of their claim and are burned later when compensation falls short.

4. Find out If the Other Driver Has Auto Insurance

While most states have laws requiring all drivers to carry insurance meeting minimum liability limits, many drivers still risk fines and other penalties by driving without adequate coverage. If you’re involved in an accident with an at-fault, uninsured driver, it’s likely that this motorist does not have the means to reimburse you for property damage and injuries you sustained. While you could file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, many attorneys advise against this as a protracted legal battle will cost you more than you stand to save.

You best bet: Purchase uninsured motorist insurance. This added layer of protection is relatively affordable and will kick in to cover costs resulting from an accident involving an underinsured/uninsured driver.

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Does Car Insurance Cover Pain and Suffering?

Does Car Insurance Cover Pain and Suffering?Even minor accidents can cause major injuries, costing you a small fortune in medical treatment. But if the at-fault driver had car insurance or you carried no-fault insurance, this policy should offset the cost of healthcare. It may also provide compensation for pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering is a legal term used to describe any type of pain — mental, emotional, or physical — sustained or stemming from a crash. At its most basic level, this definition can include the cost of treating injuries, such as broken bones or wounds. But this term can also extend to mental conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder or general pain and discomfort inhibiting your ability to do your job or affecting your quality of life.

Does No-Fault Car Insurance Cover Pain and Suffering?

Yes. In so-called “fault” states, pain and suffering is usually covered as part of bodily injury liability insurance. The catch: Unless you’ve purchased additional coverage, such as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), this feature will only reimburse other parties for damages stemming from an accident you caused. In order to seek compensation for your own pain and suffering, you would need to carry no-fault insurance or file a claim against the at-fault driver.

In “no-fault” states, the mandatory PIP or Medpay component of your insurance policy should chip in to help you pay your medical bills regardless of fault.

More FAQs About Car Insurance and Pain and Suffering

What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

In states where PIP is offered, it is usually an optional addition to liability coverage. Also called “no-fault coverage,” PIP will always kick in to help cover your medical bills regardless of whether you caused the accident or not.

PIP coverage with a low deductible can sometimes double your premiums. But these added costs net you comprehensive injury coverage, ensuring you have the funds to pay for the costs of medical treatment, lost wages, and even transportation expenses.

PIP is available as an optional extra in Wyoming, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, Vermont, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Maine, Louisiana, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Georgia, Connecticut, Colorado, California, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, and Alaska.

PIP coverage is a compulsory inclusion in the following states: Washington D.C., Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

What Is Medpay?

Medpay is another type of no-fault insurance. It covers medical expenses incurred by the driver and his or her passengers; however, it won’t reimburse you for lost wages, transports costs, or trauma counselling.

Will My Health Insurance Cover Injuries Sustained in a Car Accident?

Yes, most health insurance plans will cover the medical costs associated with treating injuries sustained in a crash. However, there are two important factors to consider: First, the features of your auto insurance policy or the at-fault driver’s policy will pay first, and second, you will still have to pay your health plan’s deductible before your coverage kicks in to reimburse you for the remaining costs. Simply put, health insurance is your last line of defense when other insurance coverage has been exhausted.

What Is a Deductible?

A deductible is the amount you will have to pay to cover the cost of damages before the relevant policy features reimburse you for the remainder of the expenses. A low deductible will arm you with better protection against financial loss but will increase your monthly or yearly premiums. A high deductible will put you at risk of losing more money in the event of the worst, but you will pay significantly less to maintain your policy.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) Protection?

Most states require drivers to carry insurance that meets certain minimum liability limits. This ensures that at-fault motorists have the means to compensate the other parties involved in a crash. However, many drivers choose to risk the fines and jail time by driving without insurance. If you’re involved in an accident with an at-fault, uninsured driver, he or she may be unable to cover the costs of treating injuries you sustained in the collision.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) protection is a relatively inexpensive addon to your basic policy that will reimburse you for pain and suffering resulting from an accident involving an underinsured/uninsured driver. It will also cover the costs of treating injuries sustained by anyone else listed on your policy, such as relatives, friends, and employees.

States with a high rate of uninsured drivers include Florida, New Mexico, Michigan, Mississippi, Arkansas, Indiana, Washington, Alabama, Tennessee, and Washington DC.

Is It Worth Investing in Emergency Road Service Coverage for an Accident?

In the event of a severe collision, your vehicle may be beyond repair. Instead of relying on an unknown towing company that will charge you hundreds of dollars just to move your vehicle from the street, you can prepare for any eventuality (and save money) by including Emergency Road Service insurance as part of your policy. This affordable feature won’t just cover the costs of towing your wrecked vehicle to the shop; it also provides compensation for:

  • Tire changes;
  • Battery services;
  • Locksmith services for when you lock your keys in the car;
  • Tire changes; and
  • On-site mechanical labor.

Many providers will sweeten the deal by including Emergency Road Service insurance as part of their offerings. However, if you do not have this type of coverage, our Geeks recommend purchasing Emergency Road Service insurance. For a few more dollars every month, you’re buying peace of mind that your next breakdown (or accident) won’t break the bank.

Now that you understand the ins and outs of which insurance policies and features do and do not cover pain and suffering, it’s time to compare your options and find the right policy for your budget and needs. Click here to use our auto insurance quote comparison tool.

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Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Alabama

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in AlabamaSweet home Alabama can turn sour if you’re caught driving without car insurance meeting the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. Yet over 17% of Alabama motorists risk fines, license suspensions, and prison time by driving without coverage.

So what are Alabama’s minimum liability limits? Much like most other states, Heart of Dixie lawmakers require motorists to purchase and maintain auto insurance policies up to certain amounts. This helps ensure you can cover the costs of any injuries or damage sustained by you, your passengers, or other parties involved in an accident. All drivers must carry:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage liability

While this barebones policy will keep you in good standing with the law, it may not be sufficient to protect you against financial loss in an accident. Many motorists choose to invest in additional features and addons, set a lower deductible, or increase their coverage limits to make sure their insurance doesn’t fall short in the event of the worst.

On this page we will explore:

  1. First offense penalties for driving with no coverage in Alabama
  2. Second offense penalties for driving without car insurance in Alabama
  3. Reinstating your license after a Driving Without Insurance conviction
  4. SR-22 filing requirements in Alabama
  5. The consequences of causing a crash while you are uninsured
  6. The benefits of uninsured motorist coverage
  7. How providers calculate premiums in Alabama
  8. Alabama’s license points system

If you are involved in an accident or stopped by law enforcement, authorities can demand to see proof that you or your vehicle is insured up the state’s minimum liability limits. Proof of insurance (POI) can include any document from your insurer showing evidence of an up-to-date auto insurance policy. You can also request your insurer send you an official insurance card. Keep a copy of these important documents along with your vehicle’s registration and health insurance information stashed in your glove compartment at all times.

If you are unable to present proof of insurance, or your vehicle is not insured, you could face the following penalties:

First Offense Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Alabama

If you were hoping for just a slap on the wrist for driving without insurance, you’re out of luck. Violating the state’s mandatory insurance laws is categorized as a Class C misdemeanor. If you’re caught, your transgression could be etched into your criminal record for life, jeopardizing your chances of finding gainful employment, limiting child custody rights, impacting rental opportunities, and more. You will also have to pay up to $500 in fines, could spend up to three months behind bars, your vehicle registration will be suspended a minimum of 45days, and your vehicle could be impounded.

Second or Subsequent Offense Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance

Serial rulebreakers risk severe penalties. For your second or subsequent Driving Without Insurance conviction, you should expect to pay up to $3,000 in fines, serve up to six months in prison, a 6-month license suspension, a 4-month registration suspension, and car impoundment. Even worse, you will be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, joining the ranks of those convicted for crimes such as resisting arrest, cruelty to animals, and intimidating a witness in a trial.

FAQs About Driving Without Auto Insurance in Alabama

How Do You Reinstate Your License and Registration?

If you are convicted for a serious traffic violation – such as driving without insurance, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or committing numerous reckless driving offenses – your license and registration may be suspended.

The first time you are caught driving without insurance, you will have to present proof your vehicle is insured for a full calendar year to the relevant department. You will also need to pay $200 in reinstatement and processing fees before your driving privileges are restored.

For second or subsequent offenses, you will first have to complete SR-22 filing requirements before your registration and license are reinstated. The average cost of reclaiming your license and vehicle registration after a second offense can add up to $400 in fees.

What Are SR-22 Filing Requirements?

If your license is suspended or revoked, the state will need you to first complete SR-22 filing requirements to restore your driving privileges. Typically, Alabama requires motorists to fulfill this obligation for a period of three years. As pat of these requirements, you will need to purchase a type of coverage known as SR-22 insurance. Unlike standard policies that just insure a single vehicle, this policy covers you as an individual regardless of whether you are a driver or passenger in your own car(s) or someone else’s.

Your insurer will file the SR-22 form/certificate on your behalf. This document is proof that you have purchased a policy meeting the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. However, if you let your coverage lapse during the SR-22 filing period due to a missed payment or cancellation of your policy, your provider is required, by law, to report this lapse in coverage to authorities.

As a result, you could lose your driving privileges and will have to reset the clock on your SR-22 filing requirements.

What Happens If I’m Involved in Accident and I’m Uninsured?

Alabama employs a “fault” or “tort” system for resolving insurance claims. This means that the person responsible for causing in accident can be held liable for compensating the other parties for damages such as repair bills and injuries. If you are involved in an accident in Alabama, you can seek compensation in one of three ways:

  • Filing a claim with your own insurer;
  • Filing a lawsuit against the driver you believe is responsible for causing the accident; or
  • Filing a claim against the at-fault motorist’s auto insurance provider.

However, if you cause an accident while you are uninsured, you won’t just face the administrative and criminal penalties for driving without insurance. Coverage is your financial safety net in the event of the worst. Take away that protection and your exposed to extreme financial loss when the other parties involved in the accident decide to file a lawsuit against you to recover the costs of damage sustained.

Remember: When determining fault, if it emerges that you were driving without insurance, this negligence could sway the courts against you too.

What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Because Alabama has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country, your chances of being involved in accident with one of these errant motorists is extremely high. As a result, many providers offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as optional feature when purchasing a policy. This addon will kick in when an at-fault driver’s insurance falls short, saving you from having to dip into your own coverage (or pockets) to offset loss.

There are three main types of uninsured/underinsured motorist protection in the state:

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) insurance: If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, this feature will absorb the costs of treating injuries sustained by those include on your policy, including you, your family, friends, and even employees. This addon often covers costs such wages lost due to the injuries.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) insurance: This addon will absorb the expenses of repairing damage to your car caused by an at-fault uninsured driver. However, if you already carry collision coverage, our Geeks recommend instead increasing the limits of your pre-existing coverage as this main feature covers all damage to your vehicle resulting from collisions with other vehicles or objects.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance: Many motorists will choose to purchase just a barebones policy to meet the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. However, this coverage is often insufficient in the aftermath of a more serious accident. Adding a UIM feature to your insurance will ensure you have the funds available to pay for treatment and repairs even when the at-fault driver’s insurance runs dry.

UMBI, UIM, and UMPD are relatively affordable additions that will protect you against extreme financial loss. In Alabama, there is almost a 2 in 10 chance that your next accident will involve an uninsured or underinsured driver. You should also consider purchasing the policy if you travel or live in the following states:

  • Florida
  • New Mexico
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Washington
  • Tennessee
  • Washington, D.C.

How Do Car Insurance Companies in Alabama Calculate Premiums?

Your auto insurance rates are regulated by the Alabama Department of Insurance. This authority has enabled providers to charge rates based on risk profiles constructed using statistical data. As a result, the following factors could affect your monthly, quarterly, or annual premium:

  1. Your auto insurance coverage history;
  2. Your average mileage;
  3. Your permanent driving history and accident record;
  4. Your marital status;
  5. Your age;
  6. Your gender;
  7. Your credit history; and
  8. The age, make, and model of your car.

Your deductible will also have an impact on how much you will pay for your policy. A deductible represents the out-of-pocket amount you will have to fork over to cover damages such as repairs and treatment before your policy’s features compensate you for rest. A low deductible will increase your rates but cover you for more in the event of the worst. A high deductible will keep your rates low, but expose you to the risk of financial loss in a crash.

Alabama’s License Points System

Whenever you are caught committing traffic violations on Alabama’s roads, you will receive points on your license. The number you receive is calculated based on the severity of your infraction. For example, you will receive only 2 points for speeding between 1 to 25mph over the posted speed limit. However, if you’re caught overtaking a school bus, you will receive a total of 5 points.

If you’re a reckless driver, these points can add up quickly. Once you’ve received 12 points in a 2-year period, your license will be suspended for 60 days automatically. Receiving 15-17 points in that same period will result in a 90-day suspension, 18-20 points will result in a 120-day suspension, 21-23 points will result in a 180-day suspension, and 24 or more points will result in a 1-year suspension.

Fortunately, points for a specific violation expire 2 years after you committed the infraction. However, the violation will still be reflected on your driving record, potentially increasing resulting in permanent increases to your premium.

There are a few exceptions in Alabama’s points system. Namely, if you are ticketed for as series of so-called “serious” offenses within a three-year period, your license will be suspended automatically regardless of how many points you’ve accumulated. Serious offense can include reckless driving, following another vehicle too closely, making an unsafe lane change, or causing a fatal accident. For example, if you were caught endangering other motorists by making erratic lane changes twice in three years, your license will be suspended for 60 days. Commit another serious offense, and you won’t be able to drive for 3 months.

How Can I Reduce My Insurance Premiums in Alabama?

Insurers love safe drivers and will reward you for maintaining an accident-free driving record. You can also reduce your rates by:

  • Enrolling in and completing a driving safety course
  • Purchasing a vehicle with advanced safety features
  • Avoiding accidents for a few years
  • Not committing traffic violations
  • Maintaining unbroken coverage for a few years

Many insurers offer discounts to certain categories of drivers, including pensioners, low-mileage motorists, and more. You can also secure reduced rates by bundling your auto insurance with your life insurance and home insurance as part of an umbrella plan or by insuring all your vehicles under one multi-car policy. Some providers offer discounts to drivers who transfer over their existing policy from another insurance company. Use our calculator above to find quotes for the best auto insurance policy for your budget and needs.

 

 

 

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Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Wyoming

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in WyomingWyoming is top destination for recreational hunters and nature lovers alike. But if you’re caught driving without car insurance in this idyllic state, you could find yourself in the crosshairs of the authorities on the hunt for errant drivers.

According to state law, driving without insurance is classed as a misdemeanor offense. As a result, taking this unnecessary risk won’t just result in you relinquishing your driving privileges but could also tarnish your otherwise spotless criminal record.

In Wyoming, all drivers are required to insure their vehicles with the state’s mandated minimum limits. This system is similar to other states and is divided into three categories of coverage: $25,000 for bodily injuries to one individual in one crash, $50,000 for total bodily injuries caused in an accident, and $20,000 for property damage (or 25/50/20).

This basic policy provides enough coverage to pay for bare minimum injuries and damage sustained by another party in a crash. In more severe accidents, these amounts may not be enough to protect you from financial. That’s why many motorists elect to purchase added policy features to cover different types of loss.

In this blog we will discuss:

  • Penalties for driving without insurance
  • SR-22 filing requirements
  • License reinstatement fees
  • Expunging a Driving Without Insurance misdemeanor from your criminal record
  • Disputing a Driving Without Insurance conviction
  • Probationary License limitations
  • No fault and fault states
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage
  • High-risk driver categories
  • Deductibles

If you are caught driving without insurance (or cannot produce proof that you are insured up to these limits), you could be subjected to some of the penalties listed below:

First Offense

In some states, first-time offenders are given a warning and a slap on the wrist. But Wyoming pulls no punches, strapping virgin rulebreakers with fines, jail time, license suspensions, and SR-22 maintenance requirements.

If you are caught driving without insurance for the first time in Wyoming, you can expect these penalties:

  • Fines totaling up to $750;
  • Up to six months behind bars;
  • SR-22 maintenance requirements for a period of three years; and
  • License suspension until you are able to show the courts, state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or Department of Transport (DoT) proof you are insured.

Second, Third, and Subsequent Offenses

When it comes to serial offenders, the gloves come off in Wyoming. If you are caught driving with no insurance more than once, you can expect these penalties:

  • Fines of up to $1,500;
  • Prison time to be determined by the courts following conviction;
  • SR-22 maintenance requirements for a period of three years;
  • License suspension until you are able to show the courts, state DMV, or DoT you are insured; and
  • Surrender of license plates and registration.

What Is SR-22 Filing?

Following the suspension of your license due to any serious offense – such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, causing a severe accident, committing numerous traffic violations in a short window of time, or driving with no insurance – you will be required to complete SR-22 filing requirements before your license is restored.

This requirement involves filing forms with the local DMV or DoT proving that you are insured up to the state’s minimum limits. Typically, your insurer will take care of filing these forms as part of what is known as SR-22 Insurance. This type of “insurance” is tailored to high-risk drivers. As a result, you will tend to pay far more for insurance during the SR-22 filing period.

Warning: If you let your coverage to lapse for any reason – whether you missed a payment or cancelled your policy – your insurer will have to inform the department that you are no longer insured. In this event, your driving privileges will be revoked and you will have to surrender your plates and registration. Worse still, regardless of how far you were into completing your SR-22 requirements, you will have to start the process from scratch, winding the clock back to the beginning of the three-year period.

While SR-22 Insurance is more expensive, it is the only way to continue driving while completing this process. Many motorists in this situation choose to trade out their cars for less expensive models to offset the burden of increased rates.

Can I Reinstate My License After a Driving Without Insurance Conviction?

As we’ve mentioned above, the state Department of Motor Vehicles will reinstate your driving privileges once you are able to produce reliable proof that you are covered. In addition to this evidence, you will also have to pay a reinstatement fee of $50 to restore your license. You must also fulfill SR-22 filing requirements for an uninterrupted period of three years.

However, if you were convicted for committing numerous serious offenses, you may be barred from the road for a set number of years. In these cases, either the courts or DMV will inform you of these added penalties.

Can I Have a Driving Without Insurance Misdemeanor Expunged?

Nobody wants a misdemeanor on their criminal record. Convictions for many traffic offenses – including driving with no insurance – will tarnish your standing with the law. A conviction can also sink your chances of employment in the public sector, obtaining a gun license, applying for travel VISAs, or even applying to rent an apartment. However, your fate is not set in stone. Countless Wyoming motorists have managed to expunge this conviction from their records.

How? Typically, you will have to wait up to five years until after your sentence has expired. During this time, if you have committed any other crimes, your application for expungement may be rejected.

Can I Dispute My Driving Without Insurance Conviction in Wyoming?

If you believe you were wrongfully convicted for driving without insurance, you can challenge your conviction in court. You can request a hearing by sending a written letter to the Wyoming Department of Transportation within three weeks after you received a notice of license suspension or revocation.

In some cases, you can accept the conviction but request a record review. This will ensure you retain limited driving privileges. However, take note; a request for a record review will only be successful in situations where you have a clean permanent driving record. You will need pay $15 for a record review and a further $50 in reissuance fees. In many cases, you may also need to complete SR-22 filing requirements before the license is issued. Similar to a dispute, you will have to send a written request to the department detailing the reasons why you should retain limited driving privileges.

In the event that your request is approved by the department, you can acquire what is known as a Probationary License.

What Is a Wyoming Probationary License?

Typically, a Probationary License is a limited license given to younger drivers (under the age of 21). However, if your license is suspended, you can often apply for this temporary document to retain your driving privileges with a few limitations. These limitations can differ based on the nature of your offense. In the event that you are convicted for driving without insurance, the only real drawback is the SR-22 filing requirement.

What’s the Difference Between a No Fault and Tort State?

In the U.S., states are divided into “no fault” and “tort” states. In so-called “no fault” states, drivers receive compensation from their own insurers for injuries and damages sustained in a crash regardless of who or what caused the accident. In this way, drivers can have peace of mind that their coverage will kick in to pay at least a portion of their expenses immediately in most cases. However, policies in these states tend to cost far more than in “tort” states.

In “tort” states, the driver who is at-fault is responsible for covering the losses of all other parties in a crash. For example, if a motorist is driving in the wrong lane and crashes into another vehicle, he or she will be held liable for the repair costs and medical bill of the other driver. The parties who have suffered an injury or loss would therefore file a third-party claim against the insurance company of the at-fault motorist.

In many cases, fault is not a black and white concept. It is not uncommon for claims adjusters to assign a portion of the blame to each driver involved in the accident. For example, let’s say you were hit by a reckless driver but you were also breaking the law. The claims adjuster determines that you were 20% at-fault for the collision. That means 20% of the costs would come out of your own coverage or out of pocket.

What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

It’s estimated that nearly 10% of Wyoming’s motorists are driving without insurance. That means if you’re involved in an accident, there is around a 1 in 10 chance the other motorist isn’t covered up to the state’s mandated minimum limits. Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage is your safety net in any situation involving Wyoming’s risk takers. Here’s what these policy features cover:

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM): Many, if not most, drivers choose to pay for the bare minimum coverage to meet the state’s liability limits. In serious accidents, these policies will fall short of covering the costs of injuries and property damage. Investing in UIM coverage will protect you from financial loss when an at-fault motorist’s policy has limits that are too low to cover your losses.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UMBI): Uninsured drivers are a road hazard you might not hear about during Driver’s Ed. Fortunately, UMBI is an add-on that kicks in to cover the costs of treating injuries sustained by anyone in your vehicle (who is listed on your policy) in the event of a collision with an at-fault motorist who does not have insurance. Many UMBI policies will also cover additional expenses such as lost wages.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage (UMPD): This added feature will compensate you for any damage to your car caused by a driver with no insurance. However, if you plan to or already carry collision coverage, it’s not worth increasing your premium with UMPD as part of your policy.

Because of the low financial risk for providers, these features can be relatively inexpensive compared to most other types of coverage. We suggest investing in these add-ons if you live in states where there are a high number of uninsured drivers, such as FloridaNew Mexico, Michigan, Mississippi, Arkansas, Indiana, Washington, Alabama, Tennessee, and Washington D.C.

Am I a High-Risk Driver?

The definition of a high-risk driver can differ based on context. For example, an 18-year-old driver with limited experience is classed as a higher risk driver than a middle-aged motorist with a spotless driving record. But in most cases, you will be classed as a high-risk driver if you are convicted for committing severe traffic violations such as driving under the influence, driving without insurance, or causing a serious car accident.

High-risk drivers are a financial risk for insurers because they are statistically more likely to file a claim than low-risk drivers. As a result, if you are classed as a high-risk driver, you will probably pay more for coverage.

You can reduce your premium by taking time to learn safer driving habits and avoid being involved in an accident for a few years. If you are currently completing SR-22 filing requirements, you will notice a drastic reduction in your rates once you have fulfilled this requirement. You can also net yourself discounts by driving less, attending and completing a safety driving course, investing in a car with better safety features, trimming unnecessary addons from your policy, and obtaining a higher-education degree. Ask your provider about what discounts they offer and what you can do to reduce your rates.

What Is an Auto Insurance Deductible?

In the event of an accident, your deductible represents how much you will have to pay out of pocket to cover costs of repairs and treatment for damages and injuries sustained in a crash before your auto insurance policy kicks in. Simply put, a higher deductible will keep your rates low but will put you at risk of greater financial loss after a car accident.

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