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Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles in the United States – 2016

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Worst States for Traffic-Related Fatalities – 2016

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Click here to view our interactive map with penalties for each state

Things to remember...
  • Each state has specific penalties for driving uninsured or without proper proof of financial responsibility
  • Fines for driving uninsured range anywhere from $75 to $5,000
  • There are ways to lessen or even have the charges dismissed against you
  • Getting caught driving without insurance could keep you from receiving affordable auto insurance rates in the future

In the United States, every state requires proof of financial responsibility for you to drive a car.

While most states require specific amounts and types of auto insurance coverage, there are three states — Arizona, New Hampshire, and Virginia — that will allow drivers like you to prove financial responsibility in other ways.

Regardless of where you live, each and every state has a minimum amount of required auto insurance.

Even in the three states mentioned above, purchasing your state’s minimum required auto insurance coverage is always a better option than choosing to drive uninsured and incur the full costs of any potential damages or injuries.

In addition to having minimum requirements for auto insurance, each state also has specific penalties for driving uninsured or without proper proof of financial responsibility. Depending on the state, these penalties may include:

  • Points against your driving record
  • Fines and reinstatement fees
  • License and/or registration suspensions
  • Car impoundment
  • Mandatory high-risk auto insurance coverage
  • Mandated community service
  • Jail time

Keep reading to discover the penalties you could receive, should you choose to drive without insurance where you live. Also, read through some of our tips for lessening these consequences.

If you don’t have auto insurance, don’t wait any longer. Enter your ZIP code now to compare quotes from several companies!

Penalties by State for Driving Without Insurance

Penalities for Driving Without Insurance

Click here to view our interactive map with penalties for each state

To offer detailed information on penalties, we’ve created an interactive graphic with potential penalties for every state if you are caught driving uninsured.

It is important to note that we have only included penalties for first and second offenses. Keep in mind that if you are found guilty of more than two offenses, you could face even severer penalties.

Fines for driving uninsured range anywhere from $75 to $5,000, depending on the offense and where you live. The states with the most expensive fines, up to $5,000, are:

  • Massachusettes
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia

Twelve out of the 50 U.S. states do not penalize you with fines for driving uninsured. These states include:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee

Instead of issuing fines for driving without insurance, these states offer punishments that include:

  • Points against your driving record
  • Suspension of your license and/or registration
  • Fees for reinstatement of a license or registration
  • Mandatory SR-22 insurance

In Maryland, anyone caught driving uninsured is required to pay uninsured motorist penalty fees for each lapse of insurance: $150 for the first 30 days and then $7 for each day afterward.

It is also worth noting that if you get caught driving without insurance in Iowa, you can choose to participate in community service instead of paying the associated fees.

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Three Tips on Lessening the Consequences

After reading about the penalties you could face for driving uninsured, you may be wondering what your options are should you ever get caught driving without the proper coverage.

Believe it or not, there are ways to lessen or even have the charges dismissed against you for driving without insurance. However, this possibility will greatly depend on your state’s traffic code, your local law enforcement policies, and your unique situation. We recommend you seek legal advice.

#1 – Highlight Your Circumstances

AdobeStock_89662920-1600x1600Rather than disputing that an offense occurred, you may be able to argue that a specific circumstance existed in your case to excuse or justify the violation.

For instance, in Texas, the traffic code exempts vehicles — that are possessed solely for purposes of repair — from the insurance requirement.

Some states also provide exceptions for vintage cars that are not used for “regular transport.” If your vehicle fits this category, you may be able to lessen your penalties for driving uninsured.

#2 – Be Proactive

AdobeStock_49224633-1600x1600If you are caught driving uninsured, you may receive grace if you seek auto insurance coverage soon after.

Some states reward drivers who respond to a citation by quickly obtaining auto liability coverage. Even if your state does not react this way, it is possible that your local prosecuting office may have adopted this type of policy.

If you can show that you quickly corrected the problem and received the proper coverage, you may be eligible for a dismissal of or a reduction in fines and other penalties, which can lessen the eventual negative impact on your finances and your current and future insurance rates.

#3 – Mention that You Have the Proper Coverage

AdobeStock_40672072-1600x1600If you have always had auto insurance but simply forgot or misplaced your proof of coverage, you may be in luck! Many states and prosecuting offices will dismiss or reduce sentences upon verifying that you did have valid insurance at the time of your citation.

Make the Smart Choice

No matter where you live or what your circumstances are, driving without auto insurance is not a good idea.

Not only can driving uninsured negatively affect you in the present moment with all the possible penalties, but it can also potentially hurt your chances at receiving affordable auto insurance rates in the future.

If you are looking to insure yourself and your vehicle, compare at least three to four policies to find the best and most affordable auto insurance coverage!

To view the dataset, please visit this repository.

Things to remember...
  • It is possible to get a car insurance policy without yet having a title to a car
  • Even if you never plan to purchase a car and still need to drive on a regular basis, you can get an auto liability policy to cover you
  • You can always be added as a listed driver on someone else’s insurance policy so that you will be covered in case of an accident while driving their car
  • If you are in the middle of buying or leasing a car, you can go ahead with getting car insurance coverage before you have finalized the sale
  • If you are a teen driver, the best option for you is to be added to your parents’ auto insurance policy before you have your own car to drive

Even if you are not an official car owner, you can still get an auto insurance policy without a problem.

A car insurance company will be happy to provide you coverage as long as you can show that you are a licensed driver and will need insurance because you are driving someone else’s car or are in the process of leasing or buying your own.

You will still have to give the auto insurance company some personal information, but you should not encounter any difficulties in obtaining car insurance coverage in this situation.

Compare car insurance rates today to see how much you could save!

Signing Up for Auto Insurance


When you first apply for an auto insurance policy, you will be asked for some personal information to help the auto insurance company determine if they will insure you and how much you will have to pay for that policy.

This requested information typically includes your driver’s license so that they can look up your driving record and verify that you are licensed to drive.

You will be offered a quote based on the information you provide.

It is important not to simply accept the first quote that you are offered because you could save a lot of money by shopping around.

Auto insurance companies are eager to get your business, which means that there is strong price competition among the major auto insurance providers to offer good rates. Using a free online tool, you can instantly access the range of quotes available in your area.

Making Sure that You Update Your Auto Insurance Information

If you purchase an auto insurance policy before you have actually bought and registered a new car, you will need to update your policy information. It is more than just a mere formality that you update the auto insurance provider on any changes to your policy.

You will be sure to have coverage for any accidents that occur with a new vehicle by making sure that the auto insurance company has that information in your file.

If you buy a new car after getting a car insurance policy, you will have a certain grace period in which you will need to report any policy changes. If you fail to report an update during that time, you can plan on not having any coverage for an accident afterward.

This is a serious situation because it means that you could be personally responsible for any damages in an accident out of your own resources.

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What Could be Covered by a Liability Only Policy

If you are in the situation where you do not think you will need to buy your own car, you will still need auto insurance coverage as long as you are driving on regular roads.

To obtain a policy for this situation, you could purchase a liability policy.

Unlike more comprehensive types of auto insurance policies, a liability policy only covers others for damages caused by your driving.

A liability-only policy means that another car that you damage in an accident could be covered, but you would have to dig into your own pockets to pay for any damage to your own car or truck.

The amount of coverage that you are entitled to will depend on the limits that you set for your auto liability policy. Even though it is a bit more expensive to have higher policy limits, it can be worthwhile if you are ever in a serious accident.

You can save a little bit of money by lowering the policy limits, but you might find yourself in a real problem if you have a serious accident without a way to pay for the damage that exceeds your policy limits.

What Other Options are Available if You Get a Car


When you purchase your own car, it is wise to look into additional auto insurance options to make sure that you have protected your asset. The most common additional forms of coverage include:

  • Comprehensive insurance
  • Collision insurance

While you will have a higher auto insurance premium for getting more coverage, this is the best way to protect a car if it is damaged due to your own fault.

If you purchase a used car or one that you do not plan to keep for very long, it may be less important for you to have these additional forms of coverage on your policy.

The scenario in which they are most beneficial to you is when you have purchased a car that you are still making payments on or one that you plan to drive for a long time.

An easy way to reduce the cost of your premium for additional coverages is to increase the amount of the deductible. This means that you would end up having to pay a little bit more out of your own pocket when you file a claim.

A deductible does not apply to an auto liability policy, which only kicks in when you are the cause of damage to another vehicle or person.

Getting Car Insurance Without a Car Title

If you need to get a car insurance policy but do not have your own car title, this should not be a problem for you at all.

Car insurance companies understand that many dealerships require new car buyers to show proof of insurance before they finalize the sale or lease of a car. This is why they will provide an assurance that you will be insured as soon as you make the first premium payment.

If you do not plan to drive your own car, you also have the option of purchasing a liability policy so that you would not have to worry if you get into an accident while driving someone else’s vehicle.

Use our free comparison tool today to find the best rate for your car insurance needs.

Things to remember...
Driving without insurance is a serious offense. Anyone who owns a vehicle and is licensed to drive should have insurance at all times.

The challenge comes when someone who doesn’t have a car or a license starts to drive. Learning to drive is a lot like learning to ride a bike. You can read all you want about it, but you have to physically drive to develop your skill.

As a learner driver, you can pose a threat to other people who are on the road. Learning on public roadways is the best way to learn in real life conditions but there’s always a chance that you could have an accident.

You don’t have to have insurance just because you have a permit, but the car you drive does need to be insured. Enter your ZIP code to find insurance quotes today!

The State Requires All Drivers to Have Insurance


State law says that all personal vehicles need to be insured. The laws may vary from state to state, but almost everywhere you go insurance is mandatory and not optional.

There’s always exceptions to the rule and the exceptions are currently in New Hampshire and Virginia. Everywhere else, every car that has a valid registration needs valid auto insurance.

You can’t drive a car without your license unless you have a permit. You also can’t stroll into the DMV and expect to get a learner’s permit whenever you want. Anyone who wants to get a provisional license needs to meet age and training requirements.

When you reach the age of 15 or 16, you can probably start planning so that you can get your permit.

Then you’ll have to pass a written exam about the laws of the road and an eye exam with or without your glasses. After you’re eligible, you’ll have to sign a paper saying you understand your duties as a restricted driver and your permit will be issued.

Do you need insurance if you have a permit and own your car?


You don’t have to have your driver’s license to buy a car. If you’re old enough to own property, you’re old enough to invest in a car and register it in your name.

Being the legal owner of the car doesn’t mean that you have to drive it but you will be legally liable if someone damages property in the car.

Since you’re the registered owner of a car, you do have to buy insurance in your name. Since you don’t have a license of your own, you’ll be the named insured but you won’t be a driver on the plan.

That means that you’ll have to name a primary driver on the policy before you’ll be eligible for coverage.

What happens if you’re not insuring a vehicle that you own?

If you decided to prepare for the moment that you would get your license, you need to insure the car or you’ll face some serious consequences before you’re even issued a license.

Letting your car be driven or parked on a public road without mandatory liability insurance is a misdemeanor in most places.

If your car is parked and the parking official checks the system and finds out it’s not insured, the car can be towed and impounded.

If you let your friend drive the car, you could be fined and ordered to appear in court. Even worse, you could have to pay for an uninsured loss out of your own pocket.

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Are learner drivers covered under their parents’ insurance?

If you still live with your parents and you’re getting a permit as part of a graduated driver’s license program, you probably won’t need any insurance because you’ll be automatically covered.

It’s standard protocol for auto carriers to give their policyholders coverage when teens are learning to drive. The parent still needs to keep their policy active and inform them that there’s a teen in the home getting ready to be licensed.

The parent still needs to keep their policy active and inform them that there’s a teen in the home getting ready to be licensed.

Is there a charge to cover a learner driver?


As long as the learner driver lives in the same home as the named insured and they are related, the insurer should provide automatic coverage.

Whether or not there’s some type of permit driver coverage fee depends on where you live and what company you’re with. You’ll have to inquire with your agent to find out if there will be a bill.

Are learner drivers covered to drive other cars?

Most of the time, someone who has a permit is only covered to drive cars in their own household. If a teen is borrowing a friends car there’s no guarantee they will be covered to drive under the car’s primary policy. Permissive users have coverage when they borrow cars but there are restrictions.

Usually, permissive drivers have to be licensed for coverage. There is a possibility that the parents’ insurance will pay for third-party liability claims when their teen is borrowing a friend’s car and gets into an accident. This is something you’ll have to ask your agent.

Learner drivers can legally drive without buying their own insurance. The rule of thumb is that you’ll have to have insurance when you have your own car.

Until then, you can lean on the primary car insurance policy that’s covering the vehicle at the current time. If you’re not comfortable with the limits that you have, see if you should raise them. Use an online quote tool, get quotes, and see if it’s cheaper to switch carriers.

Enter your zip code below to compare multiple car insurance companies at once!

Things to remember...
  • You have to list two addresses on auto insurance. One is for mailing and one is where your car is parked
  • Mailing addresses don’t affect your premium but the address where your vehicle is primarily garaged does
  • When someone who doesn’t live in your home uses your residential address you need to do your research
  • If you’re getting paperwork addressed to someone, write return to sender on it and put it back in the mail
  • It can affect your insurance profile if someone else comes up in your household on your CLUE report
It can be quite frustrating to get other people’s mail in your mailbox on a regular basis.

It’s only courteous to people who move from an address to set up a forwarding address so that the new resident’s mailbox isn’t flooded with all of your past due bills, junk mailers, and important documents. Unfortunately, not everyone is as forward-thinking as you.

If you’re only getting mail addressed to someone other than your family that’s being sent from an auto insurance company, there’s a good chance that the individual is using your address on their auto policy.

It might seem like a harmless little mistake, but it could also be an intentional action to deceive the company. Something that you have nothing to do with could come back to bite you with your own insurer.

Enter your zip code above to compare car insurance rates from multiple companies at once!

How is your address used when you buy auto insurance?


You need to give the right address when you want your quotes to come to the right place.

The first address that you give when you’re providing your name, phone number, and other contact information is strictly for mailing.

Even if you give a second address, the primary mailing address on file is where important documents are going to be mailed.

Some consumers are taken by surprise when the agent asks where the vehicle is going to be parked. It might seem obvious that the car would be parked at the same address where you live and receive mail, but that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, people receive mail at their office or park their vehicle in a garage away from the home, which is why there will be two addresses on the policy.

Sometimes they will match and sometimes they won’t.

The mailing address on file won’t affect your rates at all. The garaging address on file, however, will. Insurance companies use the zip code where the vehicle is parked to do research on risk.

If you’re in a riskier zip code, you’ll pay more than others who garage or park their cars in safer zip codes.

Why can companies use your zip code to base your rates?

There are a lot of different rating factors that insurers are justified in using to determine how much a client has to pay.

Not everyone understands why it’s justified to use something like a zip code to set rates. In fact, some would argue that using a zip code to set premiums is almost a discriminatory practice.

According to state officials that determine what is and isn’t allowed, using addresses to set personal rates for an applicant is a fair practice.

The main reason is because insurance actuaries are justified in using a territory to determine your rate is because they look at crime rates and also at claims trends.

Here’s how each influence premiums in a specific territory:

  • Crime Rates – if the property crime rate is high in a zip code, especially for auto thefts, the rate for physical damage coverage will be higher in the territory
  • Claims Trends – if there are a high rate of claims for auto accidents in the area, rates for third-party liability coverage will be higher

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When You Get Auto Policy Mail Addressed to Someone Else

If you get an invoice or other auto policy documents that are addressed to someone you don’t know, it could be an innocent mistake or it could be intentional. Don’t open the mail.

This is a Federal offense and could land you in jail. Instead, you should write either “Not at this Address” or “Return to Sender” on the envelope and put it back in the mailbox.

You May Be Able to Call the Insurer


If you keep in getting mail for the same policyholder and even returning the mail isn’t doing anything, you could try to call the carrier or the agent that’s sending the mail.

Sometimes, there’s no one in the mail department notifying the service representatives of the return mail.

When you call, you can’t give a policy number because that would require opening the mail.

You can, however, give the representative the name on the envelope and your address.

After you do this, inform them that the person doesn’t live with you or receive mail there. The company will then reach out to the client by phone in an attempt to update the information on the policy.

Is there a benefit to purposely using your address?

You might wonder what the benefit would be for someone to use an address they don’t reside at.

In actuality, when someone lives in an area where there is a high rate of motor vehicle thefts, it can benefit the policyholder when you live in a safer zip code.

Even though it keeps your rates down to use a safer zip code, it is considered misrepresentation to give the wrong garaging zip code, and it could be classified as misrepresentation.

When you’re guilty of misrepresenting risk and the insurer finds out, the carrier could deny your claims.

How can someone using your address affect you?

Not only is someone using your address annoying, but it can also affect your insurance record. Carriers run C.L.U.E reports to see if you or others in your household have reported claims through third-party carriers.

If there is a driver using your address, it could look like you’re hiding a driver who lives in your home. Dispute the information immediately.

You can’t control others, but you can update errors on your end. When you’re getting quotes, be prepared to notify the insurer that someone else is using your address without your permission.

Then, use an online quoting tool, enter your address, and compare the premiums instantly.

Enter your address below to find car insurance rates that work with your budget!

Things to remember...
  • A total loss is a vehicle that’s been written off by an insurance carrier after a property damage claim
  • The property damage adjuster assigned to your claim will decide whether or not the vehicle should be totaled
  • In most cases, cars are totaled because the damage exceeds the car’s value or because the car’s frame is bent

When you’re caught off guard, a quick trip to the store can turn into a disaster in the blink of an eye.  Braking suddenly or someone else can lead to a collision.

When you’re in an accident, it’s what you do after you get to safety that matters the most.

One of your biggest worries is what will happen to your car and how fast it will be repaired. Unfortunately for you, if the damage is bad enough, the insurer might not pay for repairs at all.

To find the affordable auto insurance near you, enter your zip code above!

What is a total loss claim?

When you file a claim for damage to your vehicle, there’s a good chance that the claim could go from a simple first-party physical damage claim to a total loss claim after estimates have been calculated.

A car is a total loss when the cost to repair the property is higher than what the insurance company has determined the car is worth.

Why won’t a company pay to repair a car when it’s totaled?

It wouldn’t make sense for an insurer to pay a repair shop to fix the serious damage that was done to your car if it’s been declared a total loss. One of the main reasons is because of how the auto policy contract is written.

It’s the insurer’s responsibility to pay for covered losses, but there are always limits of liability.

The limits of liability for your physical damage coverage on your personal auto policy are clearly defined.

In the contract, the insurer only agrees to pay up to the car’s actual cash value (ACV) when settling a damage claim for your vehicle.

If the insurer finds that the cost to repair the car is higher than what the car is worth, the insurer would be paying more than it is obligated to if it repaired a totaled car.

Can a car be totaled when the damage doesn’t exceed value?adobestock_46785909-1600x1600

Most claims are settled by total loss specialists when the ACV is lower than the estimated cost of repairs. There are exceptions to every rule. In some cases, a car could be written off because it has

There are exceptions to every rule. In some cases, a car could be written off because it has rust damage or because the frame of the car is bent.

There are states with rules that allow insurers to total out vehicles even when ACV isn’t exceeded.

In these states, there’s a Total Loss Threshold that’s used. The TLT says that only a percentage of the ACV must be exceeded for the carrier to have a right to dictate the car totaled.

In some states, the TLT is as low as 50 percent of the car’s value.

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Some Totaled Cars Are Easily Repairable

Cars that don’t retain much value and older vehicles can be totaled easily.

Even a minor dent on the fender is enough to total out a car when the car is only valued at $1000 or so, which is something to consider before you decide to settle the claim and give the insurance company your car.

If you can do the repairs, it might make sense to keep the car.

What is the process of settling a total loss claim?

Typically, the insurance company will offer you a settlement that includes the car’s ACV and some other costs. Your claim may include sales tax, titling fees, and projected taxes.

Once you’re offered the settlement and you accept, you’ll sign the paperwork to make it official.

The paperwork includes transfer documents so that the insurer can apply for a salvage title for the car in the company name.

Usually, the carrier will sell the car off at auction as is to recoup some money. Just because it’s standard process to sign a totaled car over to the insurer, does not make it a requirement.

What do you do when you want to keep your car?

If the damage isn’t significant or you have a really strong attachment to your car, you can keep it.

Claimants who make the decision to keep their cars aren’t going to receive the same amount of money that someone who lets go of their car does.

Your claims payout amount won’t be as high. The salvage value of the car will be subtracted from your offer.

What is salvage value and how is it determined?

Salvage value is the total value of property when it’s sold at the end of its useful life.

Since a totaled car must be issued a salvage title, it’s not worth as much after repair as it was before it was ever damaged.

Salvage value is calculated by considering the property’s purchase price and then determining how much the car will depreciate each year that it’s owned.

The depreciation expense is subtracted from the car’s value and then the salvage value is determined. It all depends on how much the car was worth at the beginning of its life.

You Pay for All of the Repairs

You do have to be realistic about what you can repair and what you can’t. If the repairs are cosmetic, it could make a lot of sense to keep the car.

If the damage is mechanical, consider the cost and your skill level for doing car repairs.

If you’re not satisfied with the decision made by your insurer, you don’t have to stay with the company.

Get instant quotes for your new car online by entering your zip code in the FREE comparison tool below!

Things to remember...
  • Car insurance companies can drop drivers after they file a claim, providing they have a valid reason
  • The insurance company must provide you with a letter prior to the cancellation of your policy
  • The letter must explain the reason for the cancellation and state a policy end date
  • To avoid a gap in your auto insurance coverage, you should use a comparison tool to quickly shop for a new policy

If you need to file a car insurance claim or have filed a car insurance claim, you may be wondering if your auto insurance provider can drop you. The short answer is that it depends on many factors.

While your car insurance company can cancel your policy, they are more likely to increase your rates rather than drop you.

If you are expressly worried about the status of your current insurance policy, you can use a comparison tool to shop for a new policy and potentially better premiums.

This will help you determine if you need a new policy and help prepare you in case your car insurance company does cancel you.

Compare car insurance quotes today to see how much you could save. Enter your zip code above to get started for FREE!

Know When to File a Claim


Insurance companies do not like it when drivers file frequent car accident claims. Knowing when to file can help you avoid being canceled for becoming too high of a risk to insure.

  • You are the only car or person involved and you only damaged your property – You do not have to file a claim if only your property and your vehicle were damaged.
  • The damage is less than your deductible – Your insurance company won’t give you any money for the repairs if the damage is less than your deductible, so it is pointless to file a claim unless it involved someone else’s property.
  • Your car was parked when it was damaged – If you weren’t driving your car and lightening struck it or something fell on it or it was hit by another vehicle, go ahead and file a claim. The damage wasn’t your fault.
  • You were involved in an accident with another vehicle – You are obligated to notify your insurance company and file a claim.

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Reasons Car Insurance Companies Drop Drivers

In general, car insurance companies can opt to cancel an insurance policy if you’ve committed any of the following infractions.

  • You’ve filed too many claims over a certain period of time – Car insurance companies tend to have a threshold for accidents and incidents. If you get into more accidents than your car insurance company allows, they may determine that you are not worth the future risk.
  • Your car accident pushed you into the high-risk category – If you’ve gotten numerous speeding tickets or driving infractions over the last couple years then get into a car accident, you may be deemed a high-risk driver and your insurance company may not be able to write high-risk policies.
  • You were impaired at the time of the accident – If you were drinking and driving or under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident, your insurance company may cancel your coverage.

What happens when a car insurance company decides to cancel your policy?


If a car insurance company wants to cancel your insurance policy, they must follow certain steps. Otherwise, you may have a reason to report them to your state’s insurance department.

Your car insurance company must send you a letter explaining that they have made the decision to cancel your insurance policy, and they must provide one or more reasons. The letter must also state the cancellation date.

If your car insurance company cancels your policy without notifying you or they do not provide a reason, they could be required by law to reinstate your policy. However, it depends on why your policy was canceled.

If you failed to pay the premiums or were convicted of a crime while driving, you may not have any recourse of action.

If you cannot get your policy reinstated, you can use a comparison tool to quickly find and purchase a new auto insurance policy and avoid a gap in your car insurance coverage.

Avoiding a Gap in Car Insurance Coverage After Receiving a Cancellation Notice

If your car insurance company sent you a cancellation notice, look for the cancellation date. You will want to have a new insurance policy before that date.

The quickest way to obtain a new policy is by using a comparison tool. Car insurance comparison tools take your information and your car insurance needs and compare them to all the available policies in your local area.

The tool then returns the best results, which will include:

  • the insurance carrier
  • the type of policy
  • the price

You can also read the details of the policy before you make a decision. Once you have determined which policy would best meet your needs and your budget, you can purchase it directly online.

What are you waiting for? Enter your zip code below and start comparing affordable car insurance qutoes today!

Things to remember...
All you need to test drive a car is your driver’s license.

If you want to get behind the wheel of your dream car, you can walk onto any dealer lot, browse the inventory, speak with a car salesman, and hand over your license so that you can see how the car you like the most really handles on the road.

If you fall in love with the car that you test out and the salesman promises to get you a good deal, you could find yourself sitting in the finance office negotiating a deal.

After you get a great deal on an interest rate and you negotiate down the sales price of the car, you’re officially the owner of a brand new car.

Compare car insurance quotes side-by-side to get the best coverage at the best price.

Here’s what you need to know about insurance requirements before you drive off of the lot:

Find Out If Insurance is Required in Your State


When you sit down to take the driver’s licensing exam, the state will test you to see if you’re familiar with all of the laws that pertain to driving and owning a car.

One of the sections of the code that you need to brush up on once you own a car is the section that explains whether or not insurance is mandatory.

While there are always exceptions to the rule, insurance is mandatory in most states. The amount of coverage that you need to carry to drive a car that you own depends on where you’re living and where the car is going to be registered.

Typically, the following auto insurance coverage options are required at a minimum:

Is state minimum coverage enough?

State minimum coverage limits may be enough. If you pay for your vehicle outright without securing any type of financing, you don’t need anything more than the coverage options and limits that the state requires to legally drive off of the lot.

Just because the mandatory coverage limits will satisfy the state vehicle code doesn’t mean that you’re protected if you elect to buy a basic policy.

If you want to protect your assets and your future income, you still need to consider buying more than just the low third-party limits the state says that you need. Compare different limits and premiums so that you can decide what you need and what you can afford to buy.

Compare different limits and premiums so that you can decide what you need and what you can afford to buy.

Will the dealer ask to see your coverage if you pay cash for the car?


Having third-party coverage and possibly no-fault coverage is required in the state, but you might assume that it’s the DMV’s responsibility to ask for proof and not the dealer’s. This is where your assumptions could lead to serious issues with the dealer and with the DMV.

In most states, the dealer will fill out the application to transfer ownership to the buyer. This means that the bill of sale will be submitted to the motor vehicle agency along with the application for tags in the buyer’s name.

One of the benefits of buying a car from a dealership is that they handle the DMV paperwork for you.

As an authorized party that is able to process DMV paperwork, the dealer is obligated to collect certain paperwork to complete the application. Most of the time, the motor vehicle agency wants to see that you have insurance before the tags will be issued.

When the proof needs to accompany the application, the  dealer must see the proof before they will give you their keys.

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What kind of coverage do you need when you’re financing the car?

If you’re financing the car instead of buying it outright, the requirements are even more strict. Auto loan lenders will let you borrow money to pay for a car as long as the car is well-maintained.

You are given the money in a lump sum in exchange for monthly payments that include principal and interest. The car will be security on your loan if you decide not to pay.

Since the vehicle is used as collateral on your car loan, the finance company will verify that you have the right insurance on your car.

You can’t just carry liability insurance and drive off without any issues. Instead, you need to have full coverage insurance that will pay for physical damage coverage that will help you pay to repair the car after a loss.

If you already have a loan in place, the dealer might not have to get the actual insurance documents from you. When you secure a loan in the finance office, there’s a good chance that you’ll be asked for the documented proof in the office.

No matter what’s required, you will have to sign a document saying that you have full coverage.

Can you choose any deductible when you’re financing your car?


If you’re building a policy right before you leave the dealer, choose the right coverage from the start. It’s only reasonable to try and keep premiums low by selecting a high deductible.

Unfortunately, if you do that, you might not be in compliance with the terms set by the lender for the auto loan.

Lenders want to know that you can afford to pay your car note, maintain the vehicle, have it serviced, and fix repairs when the car is damaged.

Having insurance helps you fix the serious repairs, but if your deductible is too high, you might not be able to file a claim. This is why most companies only accept physical damage deductibles of $500 or less.

Will your existing car insurance be enough to satisfy the dealer?

If you already own a car, you don’t have to worry about going out and shopping for a new policy right away. You will have some automatic coverage that will satisfy your lender’s requirements and your state’s requirements for a short period of time.

The extension won’t last forever, but it’s enough to give you time to shop around after you leave the lot.

In most cases, your automatic coverage will last for 14 to 30 days on the new car after the new car is purchased. This is if it’s an additional car rather than a replacement vehicle.

If it’s a replacement vehicle, the coverage extends to the rest of the insurance term. When you only have liability, you will have full coverage for only four days. You will have deductibles of $500 for both comprehensive and collision for the four-day period.

What happens if you don’t have insurance when the sale is official?


If you don’t own a car or you don’t have insurance in your own name, you need to get insurance while you’re still in the finance office. The dealer will ask to see proof of insurance before you can leave with your keys in hand.

When you don’t have the coverage, you may not get to leave with the car until you get on the phone and purchase a policy.

You can buy auto insurance quickly if you use the world wide web. One of the fastest ways to get insurance when you’re in a pinch is to use an online rate comparison tool.

You can enter your personal information into the tool, provide the VIN, and select the coverage options that you want.

Get your instant quotes today, select the right auto insurance company, and don’t take the risk of driving off of the lot without insurance.

Things to remember...
  • A lender or lessor can legally take your car when you aren’t complying with your finance or lease contract
  • When a car is repossessed, the bank or lessor will seize the car until you’ve fulfilled the terms of your contract
  • In many cases, you can get your vehicle back after it’s repossessed if you pay certain fees and satisfy contract terms
  • Since the bank owns the vehicle, the bank can say that the borrower is required to insure the property
  • Since you must have insurance as a condition of your loan, the lender can seize an uninsured car

When you finance a car, you’re taking out a loan and agreeing that you’ll pay back the lender within a specified period of time. During the term of the loan, you’re free to drive the vehicle as long as you comply with all of the terms set in the financial agreement.

The car might feel like it’s yours because it’s in your custody, but a financed car is never really yours until you pay the loan off in full.

You can pay more on your car loan than what’s due each month, but no matter how much you pay, as long as you have a balance due on the loan, you have to comply with the terms set by the lender or your car can be repossessed.

Compare car insurance rates today to make sure you’re not overpaying.

As soon as you signed the finance contract, you agreed to insure the financed vehicle. Here’s what could happen if you don’t:

What is required of you when you take out a vehicle loan?


Since the average new car costs $31,000 and the average used car costs $17,000, vehicle financing is the most popular way that consumers fund their vehicle purchases.

Since about 84 percent of car buyers acquire their vehicles through financing, it’s very important that shoppers know what they’re getting into before they enter a finance contract.

You don’t only have to meet terms to get an auto loan, you have to fulfill duties once the loan has been funded as well.

Most people are aware of the fact that they need the following to get a loan from a respected lender:

Here are some of the terms are written into the contract that you have to fulfill to keep your loan in good standing:

  • You must submit your auto loan payments to the lender by the due date (or by the end of the grace period)
  • You must maintain the property and repair damage that’s not defined as normal wear and tear
  • You must disclose the address where the property is stored when you move
  • You must keep the vehicle in your custody. You can’t sell the vehicle until you hold the title
  • You must keep the vehicle in the United States (unless you have written permission from the lien holder to take the car across the Mexican or Canadian borders)
  • You must keep the vehicle registered and pay taxes in the state where you live
  • You must buy auto insurance to protect the property being financed on the loan

What will happen when you don’t fulfill your obligations as a borrower?

When the borrower and the cosigner on the auto loan don’t fulfill their responsibilities that are written into the contract, the lender will take action.

After all, the bank, credit union, or dealer that financed the car fulfilled its end of the deal when your loan was funded.

Now that you have the vehicle, you can’t decide that you don’t want to comply.

When you don’t comply with one or more of the terms set forth in the lending contract, your loan can go into default.

Being in default means that you have failed to fulfill the terms and the lender can end the contract, take back the property, or seek a judgment against you in the court of law.

Being in default can affect your creditworthiness.

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What are the most common reasons a loan goes into default?

Statistics show that between 3.5 and 5 million cars are repossessed because borrowers don’t pay their loan payments.

Failing to pay on time is a common reason you can default on your loan, but you have to be more than just a few days or weeks late.

With most companies, you’re not really in default until you’re 90 days late. If you can’t pay the past due amount and the upcoming payment for a month or so, you’re just considered to be delinquent.

At this time, you can contact your insurer and try to make arrangements to avoid going into default. Check your contract to see what the time frame is.

If you don’t have insurance, can your loan go into default status?


Failing to keep insurance on your car might not seem as bad as failing to pay the lender. After all, if you’re paying your lender and you’re not paying your insurer at least the finance company is getting the money they are owed.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. You must pay your lender and your auto insurance company to satisfy your loan contract.

If you have to choose between paying your lender and your insurer, your loan will go into default status as soon as your car insurance is canceled.

It’s up to the lender to decide if they want to seize your car or take other actions to collect the debt that you owe. Lenders are allowed to repo a car for not having insurance, but that’s not always what the company does.

If you are officially in default on your loan, the lender will send you a letter. The letter will tell you the steps that you need to take if there are any, to get out of the default status.

If there’s no way to get back in the lender’s good graces, your account will be assigned to a repo company that will start to take steps to repossess your car.

Does the bank have to give you advanced notice that they are going to repossess your car?

In most states, once a car loan is in default, a lender is free to repossess the car at any time.

There are obvious tactics that are considered illegal, but as long as the agent who repossesses the car is in compliance with the law, the borrower doesn’t have to be given advanced notice.

The notice that the car loan is in default is enough.

Where can the company seize the vehicle?


If you don’t keep insurance on your car right after you buy the car, the lender might not be willing to take any chances with you.

When the company decides to seize the car instead of making other arrangements with you, they have legally seized your car. Here are some repossession limitations that exist:

Why do many lenders choose not to repossess a car with no insurance?

Most lenders won’t repossess a car when the car isn’t insured. The main reason why repossessing the car is the last resort is because the lender loses out on a lot of profits.

Surveys show that lenders only recoup about 63 percent of the outstanding balance of the loan when they re-sell a seized car.

Instead of losing out on a huge portion of the profits, the lender will force-place insurance on the loan. This means that the borrower can keep the car but they will pay more each month on the loan because a fee for lender insurance has been added to the balance.

Don’t pay more to finance a car because you don’t have insurance. Get a full coverage policy at a low price by comparing rates with dozens of companies.

Use our online quoting tool, and get your comparison in just minutes.

Things to remember...
  • Drivers should be informed about the different types of coverages available on their auto insurance policy
  • In most states, auto insurance is mandatory
  • Keeping a car without insurance coverage can lead to increased future insurance premiums and forfeiture of your car registration in some states

Car insurance can be one of the more confusing aspects of driving and car ownership, however, it is still very important.

While you may not find the answers to all of your questions at your fingertips, you can find the best rates on car insurance by using a price comparison calculator online.

This type of tool gives you the opportunity to compare several different car insurance companies, policies, and premiums all in once place.

Use our free comparison tool today to get started!

Mandatory Auto Insurance



Nearly every state in our nation requires drivers to have at least some type of insurance coverage. This is a legal and financial responsibility of every driver on the road.

Having insurance not only protects yourself but also protects the following:

  • Other drivers
  • Pedestrians
  • Bicyclists

Every driver should check with their auto insurance company and their state to be sure they are carrying at least the minimum amount of required auto insurance in their state.

Consequences of No Car Insurance

It may seem like no big deal to try to slide by without auto insurance, especially if you only plan on doing so for a short period of time.

However, even if you ignore the financial hot water it could put you in by potentially having to pay for property damages and bodily injuries.

You will face some major ramifications if you are in an accident or stopped by law enforcement without the proper insurance coverage in your state.

Penalities for no insurance vary by state but usually include:

  • Large fines of $1000 or more
  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
  • Suspension or revocation of your car registration
  • Court appearances
  • SR22 insurance requirement

Even if you do not cause any property damages or bodily injuries, you will be subjected to these penalties. If you are caught multiple times driving without auto insurance, the penalties will increase.

Types of Auto Insurance


It is important for drivers to understand the different types of coverage available to them. Being knowledgeable about coverage types will help drivers make the best decisions regarding their budget and their car insurance.

If you are intending to keep a car without insurance, this information is also important to know.

Your auto insurance policy actually consists of several different types of policies rolled into one and can include:

– Liability

Liability coverage is usually the minimum amount of coverage required of drivers. Property damage liability covers the cost to repair or replace other people’s property that you have damaged.

Bodily injury liability covers medical bills and funeral expenses related to injuries you have caused.

Drivers should understand that liability coverage only pays for damages they cause to other people; it does not cover damages that they incur in an accident.

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– Uninsured/Underinsured

Even though insurance coverage is required by law in most states, some drivers still choose to ignore the law. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident or of a driver who does not have insurance, your own uninsured motorist policy will help cover your costs.

If you have underinsured motorist coverage, your policy will pick up the costs where the other driver’s coverage leaves off.

– Medical Payments/Personal Injury Protection

Your medical bills from an accident can be covered by med pay, also known as PIP coverage. In addition, lost wages and paying for necessarily hired help around the house for cooking, cleaning, or childcare can potentially be covered under med pay.

– Collision

If you are in an accident and have damage to your vehicle, you will need to file a claim under your collision coverage. With this type of coverage, you select your policy limits as well as your deductible.

– Comprehensive

Like collision coverage, comprehensive requires you to choose your deductible and policy limits.

However, it is different in that it covers non-accident losses. For instance, hitting wildlife, theft, vandalism, floods, fires, and natural disasters can all be covered under comprehensive.

Can you keep a car without insurance?

AdobeStock_64868519-1600x1600For various reasons, you may be wondering if you can keep a car without having insurance. As previously stated, if you intend on driving the car, you are most likely legally required to get insurance coverage on it in accordance with your state laws.

If you intend to keep your vehicle in storage and not drive it for several months, perhaps due to being in the military, taking an extended vacation, or even going to college, you may be tempted to cancel or not renew your insurance policy.

However, prior to taking this step, you should do some research. Some states, such as Pennsylvania and South Carolina require that you turn over your car registration and license plate if you give up your auto insurance.

How a Lapse in Coverage can Negatively Impact You

In addition, if you no longer have auto insurance, you will have a gap in your coverage history. When you go to insure the car again or even a different car, you may have difficulty finding an insurance company to underwrite your policy or finding a policy at a rate you can afford.

This is because insurance companies frown upon coverage gaps. There is potential for fraud with gaps in insurance.

For example, you could have had damage to your vehicle during your time with no coverage and then try to file a claim for it once coverage is again in place.

You should discuss your situation and your needs with your auto insurance company prior to making any decisions about keeping your car without insurance.

Many car insurance companies will not offer any types of coverage unless you first purchase liability insurance.

Although some will let you have only a comprehensive policy which would cover damages if your car was in the following situations:

  • Storage and was stolen
  • Vandalized
  • Flooded
  • Had fire damage

Keep in mind that if you plan to drive your vehicle, even only for a few minutes or a couple of blocks, you are legally required to have auto insurance on it.

This is also why drivers are required to have auto insurance on cars they are just purchasing and driving off of the dealer’s lot.

Depending on your circumstances, it may seem like a good idea to keep a car without insurance. However, doing so can set you even further back financially.

To save money on your auto insurance policy, search with our online price comparison tool.

Things to remember...
  • Purchasing your car insurance is just one step in the journey of adulthood
  • Although this can be an exciting opportunity for young adults, it’s important to understand what comes with it
  • As a young, inexperienced driver, insurance providers may view you as a higher risk
  • When this occurs, your policy may end up costing more than you anticipated
  • Also, your driving record can be a big factor; poor driving records can result in high premiums or difficulty in acquiring coverage
When you’re an 18-year-old, buying your car insurance may be one of your first adult responsibilities.

However, it’s important to know what comes with purchasing your coverage and how insurance companies will view you.

While some situations may require you to purchase your insurance, make sure that you discuss your options with your family and make the best decision for your needs.

If you’re looking for auto insurance for the first time, start comparison shopping for the best rates with our FREE online quote tool! Enter your ZIP code to get started!

Do you need to buy your car insurance?


One of the first things to consider is your car insurance needs, meaning how soon you truly need to buy a policy.

For some young adults, buying a car insurance policy is a necessity at age 18. There are other times that you may not need to get your policy until a few years later.

There can be benefits to both options.

Buying your policy at age 18 can allow you to select coverage that meets your needs and budget.

Selecting your own coverage will also provide some excellent real world experience when it comes to:

  • Managing your bills
  • Creating a budget
  • Learning to work with insurance providers

This experience can come with higher insurance costs due to your age or your driving record since you will not be on a plan with your parents or guardians.

On the other hand, you may decide to hold off on buying your policy until you’re a little more established in your adult life.

There are benefits to waiting as well, such as multi-car discounts and lower premiums, which your parents or guardians have worked towards over the years.

Just remember that you will not be the decision maker for your coverage and will be relying on someone else to make sure your policy remains active.

What do your previous driving record and insurance history look like?


Another point to take into consideration is your driving record. Although you are only 18, there is the possibility that you’ve already had a citation or violation occur.

Since your insurance provider will be looking at your driving record when they write your policy, this information will be something they look at and take into consideration.

Drivers that have a poor driving record, for instance, may face higher premiums or trouble getting the coverage they want.

If your driving record is exceptionally poor, your potential provider may be unwilling to provide you with any coverage at all. They may consider you to be too high of a risk.

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Your insurance history may also be a factor that gets taken into consideration.

Although your family may have been maintaining the insurance policy for the last few years, this can still affect you. One of the biggest ways you can be affected is if you are involved in an accident or end up filing a claim.

Any potential insurance provider may look at these claims to determine how much risk you would be introducing as a policyholder. Exceptionally large claims or several claims may indicate that you are high-risk or outside the boundaries of what they are looking to cover.

Are you able to afford the increased premiums?


As mentioned previously, increased premiums are one of the biggest downfalls to getting an insurance policy at age 18.

Due to your limited time on the road, insurance providers make assumptions about the level of skill and experience you have acquired, which are indicated by the higher premiums that teenage drivers often encounter.

If you are acquiring your policy, you will have to be prepared to handle the higher premiums that come along with your young age and higher risk status.

Insurance providers use these premiums to offset the potential that you will be involved in a claim situation. If you are unable to afford the higher premiums that one provider is recommending, you may have to look for coverage elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that many providers have the same mentality when it comes to young drivers.

Therefore, shopping around for quotes from different providers is a smart idea, but you will likely experience the same higher rates across the board. Although, the high rates tend to decrease as you grow older and gain more experience behind the wheel.



Buying your car insurance at 18 can often be an enlightening experience. Learning how to work with an insurance provider, what types of information they look at when writing your policy, and how to manage more responsibilities are all important life skills.

However, before you get your insurance coverage, it’s important that you look at what you truly need and make the best decision based on those needs.

As a young driver, insurance companies often look at you as a higher risk due to your lack of experience.

Due to lack of experience, your premiums may be much higher than you expected or you may have a harder time finding coverage.

Another big point to consider is your previous driving record. Your coverage options and premiums may be affected if you have a history which includes any of the following:

  • traffic citations
  • moving violations
  • other vehicle-related incidents

Be sure to discuss this with any potential provider during the policy writing process; it’s better to be upfront with them from the start.

If you think you’re ready for your very own auto insurance policy, start comparison shopping for the best auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below!

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