Can I drive an uninsured car on my own insurance?

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Things to remember...
  • Driving a car without insurance is illegal in all 50 states
  • The liability insurance is tied to the car rather than the driver
  • Vehicles cannot be tagged and registered without proper insurance


If you’re in a situation where you need to borrow a car, then you should ask about the insurance coverage before getting behind the wheel.

Even if you have your own insurance for other vehicles, you will still be considered an uninsured driver if the car is not properly insured under state laws.

Make sure you have adequate protection and don’t overpay for it! Enter your zip code in the comparison tool above.

Most States Require Coverage

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All states except Virginia and New Hampshire require that cars have basic liability insurance, and this coverage stays with the vehicle. The individual states set the minimum level that must be maintained, and officers may ask for proof of insurance when you’re pulled over.

Liability insurance is the minimum state requirement, and this coverage is generally very affordable. If you’re going to drive a car that’s been uninsured previously, then shop around for attractive liability rates before taking it out on the road.

Depending on the coverage, auto insurance can follow the car or the driver. Liability insurance, for example, is assigned to the driver, so it stays with that person even when they drive other eligible cars.

However, comprehensive and collision coverages are assigned to a particular car, so they stay with that car. If the vehicle is loaned out to another covered driver, the car itself will still be covered in the event of an accident.

Be aware that some insurance companies are very particular about whom is covered. Most plans are automatically extended to other people living in the household.

However, friends and family members who don’t live with you may not be covered. Refer to your individual policy or speak with your agent to find out about that.

The insurance company may also look at why a person was driving your car, whether they had permission, and if the car was a rental or loaner.

With medical payments and bodily injury coverage, the driver’s coverage will probably take precedence, but the insurance on the car may kick in if the first plan is not enough.

If you want your coverage to extend to people you loan your car to, then you should specifically look for this option when buying a plan. You can shop around for different companies to find one that will protect you in any type of car while also helping you save money.

Driving Without Insurance Is a Crime

In all 50 states, driving a car without insurance is a crime. If you drive a vehicle that is registered but not insured, then you are driving uninsured and will be subject to harsh penalties.

In states like Oregon, these penalties could include:

  • A fine of up to $427
  • License suspension for up to one year
  • Carrying SR-22 insurance for up to three years

Keep in mind, cars must be insured before they can be registered with the state. In Michigan, for example, no-fault insurance must be purchased before the state will issue a tag. The same requirement is in place for renewing registrations.

A car with expired insurance is likely to also have expired tags, and the police routinely check for plates that are beyond their effective registration dates.

If you’re pulled over and cannot show that the vehicle has insurance, then you could face some serious penalties.

In states like Nevada, your plates must be surrendered if the insurance on the vehicle is canceled, and you cannot drive cars without license plates.

New York takes a more proactive approach and requires insurance companies to notify the state when coverage on a car is dropped, reinstated, or changed.

Protect yourself from tickets and criminal charges by insisting that any car you drive is properly insured. Whether you own it or you’re borrowing it from a friend, insist on state minimum liability levels.

Shop around with different companies to find the most attractive rates, and put the insurance card in the glove box in case you’re pulled over by law enforcement. Compare and save today by using the free tool below!

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