It’s the law in every state in the country that you have to have car insurance in order to drive. Yet the penalties associated with failure to carry auto insurance vary widely from one state to another.
Online Auto Insurance conducted a study of each state’s penalties and fees for driving uninsured and arrived at a list of the best and the worst. Here’s a look at the five states with harshest penalties for driving uninsured, followed by the five states with the weakest penalties and fines.
5 States with Harshest Penalties for Driving Uninsured
New Jersey – Drive uninsured in New Jersey, the Garden State, and first-time offenders will face fines ranging from $300 to $1,000. But the additional penalties are quite severe: a one-year suspension of the privilege to drive and a community service requirement. Repeat violators face a fine of $5,000, a two-week stint in jail, and driving privileges suspended for two years. After two years, the driver must reapply for a driver’s license with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, which can still reject the request if it deems the person is likely to violate again.
Delaware – The fines for violating the requirement to carry auto insurance in Delaware are higher than in New Jersey, ranging from $1,500 to $2,000, but the suspension of driver’s license is less, at six months.
Kentucky – In the Bluegrass state of Kentucky, drivers who flout the law and drive without auto insurance face fines of $500 to $1,000 and, like Delaware, a six-month license suspension.
Illinois – Fines of $600 to $1,000 are what drivers face in Illinois for driving without car insurance, plus a license suspension of three months.
Arizona – The minimum fine in Arizona for driving without auto insurance if $500. Also mandated is a three-month license and registration suspension.
5 States with Weakest Penalties for Driving Uninsured
Idaho – The most lenient of all the states for driving uninsured is Idaho, where it only costs violators who get caught a fine of $75. The state has no requirement to suspend the driver’s license or registration for any period of time.
North Carolina – Violate the law to carry car insurance in North Carolina and you’ll face $100 in fines and fees. In addition, your registration will be suspended until you can prove you have coverage.
Arkansas – Fines and fees range from $50 to $270, along with suspension of registration until coverage is in place.
New Mexico – Drivers without auto insurance in New Mexico face a maximum fine of $300.
Vermont – Here, the fines range from $250 to $500 for driving while uninsured.
Bottom line: It doesn’t pay to take the chance of getting caught driving minus car insurance. Not only will you face the possibility of having to shell out bucks for fines and fees, but you also may lose the privilege of driving for some period of time. Think you can get around in another manner? For the cost of car insurance and the peace of mind it gives you that you’re covered should you need it, going without insurance isn’t a very good choice.Best advice is to shop around and obtain multiple quotes. Observe traffic laws and improve your driving behavior to lower your risk profile and your rates. Stick with it and eventually your car insurance will be more reasonable. Just don’t try to drive without being insured.