You know California law mandates every vehicle on the road carry insurance for at least the minimum liability limits. You probably also know there is something called the California Low Cost Auto Insurance program which offers special rates for certain drivers so they can drive with at least some insurance coverage. You know all that, but you still haven’t purchased any auto insurance. Here are a few reasons why you need to reconsider that decision.
If you get pulled over and do not have proof of insurance, you could be issued a ticket and pay a fine of $100-$200 plus court costs. That could easily cost you close to $600. As driving without insurance is against the law, your vehicle could be towed and not released to you (or the registered owner) until the appropriate coverage is obtained. Towing and storage charges for impounded vehicles are not cheap and could add a few hundred dollars more to your tab.
If you get into an accident and do not have insurance, things will get more complicated and more expensive. Whether or not you are at fault, the DMV can suspend your driver’s license for up to four years. You may get it reinstated if you can show current proof of insurance, which would be in the form of an SR-22 filing.
Briefly, an SR-22 filing is when your insurance carrier files paperwork with the state notifying them of your coverage. They keep the state update on your car insurance policy renewals and cancellations. This is usually required by the state for a few years to verify you are maintaining your insurance. Of course, you will need to purchase a high-risk auto policy, which will probably cost considerably more than if you would have just gotten insurance in the first place. Some insurance companies do not offer SR-22 filings. If yours is one of them, expect your auto insurance to be cancelled.
Now let’s talk about the other guy. Although California requires every driver to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, what do you think an insurance company will do after it pays a UM claim from its own insurance? They will go after you for the money they had to pay out. Maybe you don’t think you have any assets that would be at risk of a civil settlement, but you probably do. The same would go for any property damage you may cause. Since you do not have an insurance company behind you, any judgement will fall squarely on your shoulders.
You probably opted out of buying auto insurance because you want to save money. Hopefully, you can see how driving without any coverage could cost you thousands of dollars. Check in with an insurance professional and see how you can avoid that in the future.