Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Aug 12, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • New Hampshire is the only state that does not require minimum auto insurance coverage for all drivers
  • Most states allow individuals to self-insure or purchase an uninsured motorist’s registration
  • Drivers that do not have insurance for their vehicle are financially responsible for any damage or injuries caused by a car accident

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 12.6 percent of all drivers do not have car insurance.

While this may not sound like a high percentage, the Federal Highway Administration has reported that there are 190,625,023 drivers throughout the United States, which means more than 24 million drivers are uninsured.

The reasons these drivers fail to purchase insurance range from not having the money to believing that car insurance is a scam. Unfortunately, unless you live in New Hampshire, it is almost always illegal to drive without insurance.

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What is car insurance like in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is the only state that does not require drivers to maintain a car insurance policy.

This means that you can drive on any public road within the state of New Hampshire without car insurance. However, if you get into a car accident, you may be required to pay for the other driver’s medical bills and property damage if the accident was your fault.

Because New Hampshire does not require car insurance, they have set maximum limits on car accident expenses. Their car insurance regulations state that the maximum amount of liability per injured person is $25,000, not to exceed $50,000, for all occupants.

The maximum amount of New Hampshire property damage allowed is $25,000.

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Do you need proof of financial responsibility or self-insurance?

Insurance laws vary in most states. A person can sometimes provide proof of financial responsibility instead of obtaining a car insurance policy.

In Missouri, for example, you can purchase a surety bond or real estate bond, deposit cash, or use another type of security in lieu of purchasing car insurance.

This is typically an option that is best reserved for people who are financially stable, as most states require a deposit or security that is worth tens of thousands of dollars.

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Are there certificates of uninsured registration?

Some states, like Virginia, give drivers the option to purchase a certificate of uninsured registration. In Virginia, the fee is $500 each time the vehicle is registered or the registration is renewed and the vehicle does not have an insurance policy.

It is important to note that the uninsured registration and the subsequent fee does not provide any insurance coverage. The driver is responsible for all expenses incurred if they get into a car accident without insurance.

The only thing the registration and fee allow is the legal operation of the vehicle without an insurance policy or proof of financial responsibility.

The downside to this approach is that you would be solely responsible for your accident-related expenses and the other driver’s expenses if you are found to have caused the accident.

If potentially paying thousands of dollars in car accident related expenses doesn’t appeal to you, you should do your homework, set a budget, and find full coverage car insurance that works for you.

Are there hazards of not insuring your car?

Even though insurance laws differ in each state, without proof of financial responsibility, car insurance or an uninsured waiver, driving your car on public and private roads is illegal.

There are numerous websites with tips and advice for vehicle owners on how to drive your car without insurance, and most of the recommendations revolve around making sure your car is well-maintained and obeying all traffic laws.

However, this is not good advice and could result in some serious consequences. Driving an insured vehicle means that you’re protected from consequences such as a license suspension.

When you choose to drive without auto insurance or prove that you are financially responsible for any potential car accidents, you are doing more than putting yourself at financial risk; you are putting yourself at risk for criminal charges and having your car impounded.

Getting stopped without auto insurance can cost you your car’s registration could be canceled, and you may be at risk for having your license suspended.

When you cancel your insurance or your car insurance lapses, your insurance company notifies the DMV. The DMV then sends you a letter stating that you have a certain number of days to remedy the situation. Depending on where you’re located, a lapse in insurance could lead to legal penalties.

If you fail to insure your car or otherwise prove that you can pay the damages of a car accident, you may be deemed a high-risk driver, which will increase your future car insurance rates.

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What do you need to do if you need car insurance?

If you need car insurance, you should start shopping around and pricing policies from multiple car insurance companies with help from an auto insurance comparison tool. The comparison tool will help you look into coverage options over a large span of possible companies.

This will tell you what types of car insurance policies are available in your state and the prices of those policies. From there, you should look at the prices of those policies, what they include and what they exclude in order to find the right policy for your needs.

Make sure you’re also doing research on what types of coverage you’re required to have in the state you’re living in. That way you don’t end up facing any sort of legal consequences by not having the proper coverage.

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