This is what happens when you don’t have car insurance in New York

Are you one of the estimated 1 in 8 drivers without auto insurance? More than 12% of Americans use a vehicle without coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The state of New York has a lower proportion of uninsured motorists, but it’s still too high at 6.1%. By failing to insure, individuals are putting themselves (and everybody else, for that matter) at risk.

If you’re thinking a nominal fine and a point or two on your license are the only risks you’re running, think again. There are a host of hazards for drivers that can leave them liable for personal injuries, property damage, and other payouts in the hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars range.

Here are the reasons why avoiding the cost of auto insurance could be the most expensive decision you ever make:

The basics: Obeying the law – or paying if you don’t

Unless you’re driving in New Hampshire or Virginia, then auto insurance is mandatory to operate a vehicle. Living in either of those places may sound like an easy ride, but drivers there are still held liable for any accidents they cause. A suspended license and registration are the least of their worries compared to the prospect of paying property, personal, and/or medical/funeral expenses out of pocket.

This is the first thing that will hurt a driver with no insurance. If an accident happens, they may be unable to meet the costs of repairs, reimbursement, or worse (think lawsuit). A simple “fender bender” alone can cost more than $3,000 to fix. When the potential add-on expenses of an accident are considered (medical bills, pain, and suffering, lost income/lost employment), the cost of a monthly premium seems reasonable.

More penalties for not having auto insurance

The NY DMV makes the matter clear. Auto insurance is mandatory and failure to maintain coverage could lead to suspension of your license and registration. The minimum liability coverage is as follows:

  • $10,000 for property damage for a single accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident

Insurance must come from a provider licensed by the NY DMV and penalties for driving without it are steep. Breaching Section 319 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Code will lead to a citation of between $150 to $1500 or up to 15 days in jail. Tickets, arrests, and impounding of your vehicle are also likely if you’re driving with lapsed insurance.

Next on the list of uninsured drivers’ woes may be the SR-22. “An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility that ensures that you are meeting your state’s car insurance requirements and that you will continue to meet these requirements for a specified amount of time (generally 3 years).” This is typically required after being caught without insurance, racking up too many points on your license, being convicted of a DUI, or being “involved in a serious injury-causing accident.” Filing an SR-22 shows law enforcement that you now carry the minimum necessary amount of insurance – but having it on your record marks you as an even worse liability for insurers.

Most will further raise your premiums … that’s if they decide to even continue to insure you at all.

Insured but not quite – when too little insurance doesn’t cover you

An insurance rule of thumb is that you’re better off with the more options you add to your policy. You should never overload yourself with extras, however; ascertain how likely you may have reason to cash in these add-ons.

A few examples of these items are Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage, comprehensive coverage, and collision insurance. To understand how valuable they can be, let’s consider what happens when you don’t have them.

For example, with some drivers operating uninsured, you’re at risk of being hit by one – what then? If you’re not carrying Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage you may be paying out of pocket to fix any damages caused by the uninsured. Depending on the severity of the accident, one or both parties could be looking at losing anything from thousands of dollars to the seizure of their assets and home.

Comprehensive and collision protection

Comprehensive coverage is there to protect even the best (and luckiest drivers) on the road. You may go through your road year without so much as a scrape, but nature and crime can strike at any time.

Comprehensive insurance kicks in if your vehicle falls prey to the elements (floods, hail, fire), or suffers damage from external objects or vandalism. You may have gone without coverage because of your confidence at the wheel. The items on that list don’t care about driving skill.

Collision insurance is something many drivers think they’re automatically covered by in New York. basic auto insurance policies cover bodily damage to you, others, and the other driver’s vehicles. If you’re driving without collision coverage, there will be no guaranteed financial assistance if you’re hit by another vehicle, collide with a tree or building, or roll your car.

Your takeaway on auto insurance

It’s common sense to cover yourself against accidents caused by yourself or others. Keep in mind to always carry proof of your insurance with you once you have it. If you’re involved in an accident and can’t prove you’re covered, that can also count as an offense. You may be allowed a day or two to provide the evidence and avoid or mitigate any fines, but don’t take the risk.

We hope this information has changed your mind if you’re not covered. To avoid any penalty for not having auto insurance, reach out to us for dedicated and personalized insurance protection.