UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Melanie MussonUPDATED: Mar 13, 2020Fact Checked

Auto insurance can be expensive, and many people may find it difficult to justify the cost of insuring a vehicle that they rarely drive. Although it may be tempting to forgo insurance, the costs of being uninsured greatly outweigh the benefits of avoiding an insurance policy. Driving without insurance can lead to lawsuits, suspended licenses and trouble with the law. It’s always better to purchase an affordable insurance policy or get rid of a car that you don’t need rather than skipping the insurance. There are numerous ways that driving without insurance can cost you:

Vehicle Registration

The first reason you will need to purchase auto insurance is so that you can register the vehicle. The DMV will require proof of liability insurance before they will register any car. An individual has 30 days after the purchase of a vehicle to get it registered. If he or she continues driving the vehicle after this point, they may be pulled over and cited for driving a car without registration. In many cases, a police officer will not allow the vehicle to be driven away if it doesn’t have proper registration; this means that the vehicle will be impounded and the driver must cover the related fees to retrieve it. They may also need to pay a ticket and may need to buy insurance before the vehicle can be recovered.

Suspended Licenses

In most cases, if a person is found to be driving without auto insurance, the DMV will suspend that driver’s license until they can provide proof of insurance. This may happen because the driver is pulled over by the police or if the driver is involved in an auto accident. It may also occur whenever a person allows their auto policy to lapse; whenever a policy is canceled, the insurance company will notify the DMV.

Once the DMV has been notified that a driver is operating without insurance, the only way to reinstate the license is to purchase an auto policy and submit an SR-22 form to the DMV. This is a proof of insurance form that proves that an individual accepts financial liability for any damage a vehicle may need. If the driver continues operating any vehicle while their license is suspended, they face hefty fines and possible criminal charges.


If a vehicle’s owner is involved in an auto accident that causes damage or injuries to another person or property, the owner is responsible for paying for that damage whether or not they have insurance. The cost of auto repairs can be quite high, and medical expenses can easily exceed $100,000 even for apparently minor injuries. If you do not have insurance that will cover these costs, you will be responsible for paying them out of pocket.

In most cases, uninsured motorists are approached directly by the other party’s insurance company to set up a payment plan through a collections agency. These can take a very long time to pay off and will damage your credit until they’ve been fully paid.

In addition to collections agencies, you may be taken to court and sued privately for damages or injuries. You will need to pay for the lawsuit settlement itself in addition to court fees and the cost of an attorney. These costs can add up astonishingly fast.

Protecting Yourself

In addition to the liability cost of causing an auto accident, drivers without insurance are also not protected whenever they’re involved in collisions. This means that the driver must pay not only for damage that they cause but also find a way to pay for their own repairs and medical expenses.

Even if you are a very safe driver and never cause an auto accident, that doesn’t mean that you will never be hit by another driver. There is no guarantee that the person that hits you will have insurance, and suing them for damages will take time and money. If you carry full coverage auto insurance, the insurance company would help pay for legal costs and the expense of repairing your vehicle.

Although the costs of auto insurance may be inconvenient, they are a necessary part of vehicle ownership. Just like rent payments and grocery costs, auto insurance is a necessity of life and should be budgeted accordingly. Fortunately, it’s possible to get a very good deal on auto insurance if you shop around. Car insurance is very competitive and insurers offer numerous discounts and special offers to lure in new customers.

Drivers with a safe driving history are able to obtain very affordable auto insurance by taking advantage of safe-driver discounts and other programs. In order to find the best insurance company for your needs, you can obtain a free quote online. Once you’ve found an insurance company that will suit your needs, you can work with the agent to create a policy that will provide the best coverage at a cost you can afford.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson