With well over 228.2 million licensed drivers in the United States, the question of whether car insurance is required is rarely raised. Auto insurance is mandatory in all states with very few exceptions being New Hampshire and Virginia.
It is commonly known that drivers will get penalized if caught driving without insurance, but there are also borderline situations in which inexperienced drivers can be caught off-guard.
What if you are getting pulled over in someone else’s car without insurance? Will you or the owner of the car get a ticket? What will happen to your driver’s license? Read on to learn to know everything about this presumably complicated scenario.
Driving Your Car Without (Proof of) Insurance
First, it’s worth noting that not having insurance and not being able to prove that you have insurance are separate violations. Penalties for not providing proof of insurance are generally less severe than penalties for not being insured, especially if you submit proof of coverage within a specified deadline.
- Not having insurance may result in a ticket, fines, license suspension, an increase in your insurance premium, and even jail time. Penalties vary depending on multiple factors, such as your driving record, whether this is your first-time/second-time/third-time offense, the type of offense itself, your state, etc.
- Not being able to provide proof of insurance will likely result in nothing more than a fine, penalty assessment/processing fees, and a ticket fee. Even if you don’t have insurance proof yourself, the police officer may be able to confirm your coverage independently with a statewide insurance registry. This, however, will not spare you from paying a small penalty.
The worst-case scenario would be causing an accident while not having auto insurance. This can quickly become a disaster. If you are at fault, you will likely have to pay for the repair and medical expenses of everyone involved, and your vehicle may be impounded. You could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if you were unfortunate enough to cause serious injuries or death.
Driving Someone Else’s Car Without (Proof of) Insurance
And now imagine a situation when you borrowed your friend’s car and got pulled over for talking on the phone while driving. Will you get in trouble? Will the car owner get in trouble?
First of all, the police officer will ask you for proof of insurance and your driver’s license, and what happens next entirely depends on whether you provide these documents.
- If the officer checks the insurance on the car and sees that it’s uninsured, you will get a ticket for no insurance and have to appear in court for that ticket (note: you, the driver, not the owners of the car). You will have to pay fees, and your license may be suspended for a certain time.
- And if worse comes to worst, and you caused an accident in an uninsured borrowed car, then you will likely be sued and have to pay for the damage and injuries sustained by other drivers.
If you didn’t cause an accident, then the consequences of uninsured driving depend on whether it was your first offense. For the first-time offense, you will likely pay a fine of up to $1,000, and your license may be suspended for a few months if you are convicted. After the suspension is over, you may have to pay a reinstatement fee. But then again, it also depends on the state where you’re in.
If the court withholds judgment against you, then you or the owner of the car must purchase auto insurance and provide proof of insurance on the final report date to prove that you’ve had it throughout your supervision period.
Last but not least, getting caught driving someone else’s car without insurance can also affect your driving privileges. You may lose your privileges for around half a year and be required to pay a reinstatement fee.
What Does the US Law Say About a No-Insurance Ticket in Someone Else’s Car?
If you borrowed someone else’s car and got ticketed for no insurance, you (not the owner of the car) will have to appear in court. You may have to pay fines, be denied your driving privileges for some time, get an increase in premium, and accumulate extra driving points, up to suspension of your license.
What Will Happen to My Driver License?
If you are ticketed for no insurance, your driving license may or may not be suspended depending on the state, the type of offense, and whether it is your first offense.
What Will Happen to the Car Owner?
Since tickets will follow you, not the owner of the borrowed car, the latter will be fine if their insurance company allows them to let other drivers borrow their car.
Should I Hire a Lawyer if I Am Ticketed for No Insurance?
Make sure to consult with an attorney, if you can and depending on the severity of the case.
What Should I Do if I Know that the Car I Want to Borrow Is Uninsured?
In addition to informing the uninsured car owner, you can purchase non-owner coverage for your driver’s license.
Oleksandr is an expert in deep research. He covers insurance topics across four major insurance verticals – auto, health, life, and home insurance – while taking into account the legal landscape of the state in question. Come rain or shine, you can expect regular quality blogs and timely updates from Oleksandr.