Can I park my car on the road with no insurance?

You must have auto insurance if your car is registered. If it's parked on the street and you don't have insurance, you could be paying a lot if your car is hit.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

Full Bio →

Written by

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • In almost every state, state law says that you must purchase and maintain auto insurance when a vehicle is registered in your name
  • As the legal owner of a vehicle, you are liable to pay for any damages that the vehicle causes in an accident
  • If you fail to buy a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage, the state can penalize you with monetary fines, vehicle registration suspension, license suspensions, or criminal penalties
  • Not only is it illegal to drive a vehicle with no insurance on public roads, but it’s also illegal to park an uninsured vehicle on public streets
  • If your vehicle is parked on a public road and law enforcement discovers it, you could be cited

When you buy a car, it’s your responsibility as a car owner to learn about car insurance laws. In most states, the legal owner is required to buy insurance in their name and maintain it without a lapse in coverage. Failing to keep coverage could result in some serious fines and penalties.

It’s easy to assume that you only need insurance when you intend on driving a vehicle on public roads and freeways. While insurance is required to operate a vehicle, it’s also required to park your vehicle in certain areas.

Here’s what you need to know before you leave any uninsured vehicle parked on the road.

Make sure you’re never without coverage! Comparison shop today by entering your zip code into our FREE online tool above!

What are state auto insurance requirements?

Auto insurance requirements are set by state officials, which is why the limit and coverage requirements vary so much from state to state.

Some states operate under a tort system, and others operate under a no-fault system. The coverage that’s required is dependent on the type of system that’s used in the state.


Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What is a tort state?

A majority of states operate under tort law. Tort law, as it relates to auto accidents, states that any driver who’s negligent for injuries in an accident must pay for the damages that they cause.

Since you must pay for third-party damages in a tort state, you’re required to carry at least the following coverage options:

  • Bodily Injury Liability – pays for third-party medical bills, rehabilitation costs, funeral expenses, and other related expenses when you cause injuries in an accident
  • Property Damage Liability – pays for the cost to repair or replace property that’s owned by someone else

What is a no-fault state?

There are only 12 states that operate under a no-fault insurance system. In no-fault states, every vehicle owner buys their own medical benefits to cover the cost to get treatment after an accident.

Every state has their own modified form of no-fault coverage because there is not a pure no-fault system.

Since first-party Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is required, drivers file a claim against their insurance when they have an accident that results in injury. This rule typically only applies to injury claims. Coverage requirements in no-fault states may include:

  • Personal Injury Protection – pays for medical bills, transportation, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and funeral costs
  • Bodily Injury – only required in some no-fault states
  • Property Damage – required in most no-fault states to pay for the cost to repair cars and other property that’s damaged in an at-fault accident

Who is required to buy auto insurance?

You don’t just need auto insurance to drive a car; you need auto insurance to own a car.

If you’re the legal owner of a private passenger vehicle that’s registered to be driven on public roads, the vehicle must be insured by a licensed auto insurance carrier.

If a car doesn’t have the appropriate amount of coverage, the legal owner will be penalized.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What happens if you park an uninsured car on a public road?

By law, any vehicle that’s parked on a public road must have a valid registration. This law exists because you pay taxes when you register your car to use public roads.

If your vehicle is registered, you’re required to have auto insurance.

Since you need valid plates to use public roads and you need insurance to keep your registration, insurance is an indirect requirement.

What are the penalties for owning a car without insurance?


Failing to get insurance could result in major fines, even if you’re not driving your car. If you’re driving your vehicle, you can be cited. You can also face license suspensions and registration suspensions if you’re caught driving without insurance.

If your vehicle is parked, you may be issued a ticket, or the car could be towed and impounded, which is why it’s important to comply with state laws.

Impound costs can add up fast, especially if the state requires the car to stay in the yard for a specified period of time.

If you don’t have insurance, and you plan on parking your vehicle in a public lot, it’s time to get coverage. Use an online rate comparison tool to price the cost of insurance on your vehicle. Once you’ve found a competitive price, you can pay the premium and bind coverage to avoid penalties.

Start comparison shopping now for the best rate on auto insurance! Just enter your zip code in our free tool below!



Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption