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: Sep 28, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Many drivers are forced to maintain only liability car insurance because they can’t afford comprehensive and collision coverage
  • If you can’t afford a cheap liability-only policy, you may have to consider parking your vehicle and relying upon alternative forms of transportation
  • You may consider moving to a state with less stringent car insurance requirements, adding your vehicle to another driver’s insurance policy or signing up for a tracking program that rewards safe or low-mileage drivers with reduced premiums


What happens if you compare car insurance prices online and fail to find a policy that you can afford? The standard advice, in this case, is to drop down to basic liability that barely meets the legal requirements for your state.

Since these policies offer you no protection for your own medical and property-loss expenses in the event of an at-fault accident, they carry the lowest premiums.

The problem is that many drivers today can’t afford to pay even those premiums.

Use our FREE comparison tool to find affordable insurance quotes! Enter your zip code to get started now!

Table of Contents

Can I drive without insurance?

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If you’re in this situation right now, you’re not alone. Many drivers are now selling their vehicles in order to purchase cars considered less of a risk to their insurance companies.

As a matter of fact, many will pick up and move to a new city when they realize that their zip code is inflating their insurance premium.

For instance, insurance premiums are lowest for residents parking in many North Carolina cities including:

  • Winston-Salem
  • Charlotte
  • Durham

Rates are significantly higher for those who park in large cities with higher crime rates.

If you’re able to move to a smaller town where crime rates are lower, use an online rate comparison service to see how much you could save by changing your zip code.

If this isn’t an option for you, keep reading to learn about other courses of action if insurance is simply not affordable for your budget at this time.

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Three Ways to Lower Your Insurance Rate

Maybe you can’t afford the rates offered for a typical insurance policy right now, but there are a few ways to reduce your rates beyond the discounts commonly offered to all drivers.

– Sign up for a pay-as-you-go policy

Could you afford car insurance if you only had to pay for the miles you drove rather than a standard monthly rate? More than 25 states now work with insurance companies that offer pay-as-you-go policies.

You have to place a tracking device in your vehicle to record the miles you drive, and some programs sync with OnStar for tracking purposes.

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– Sign up for a tracking program to prove you’re a safe driver

Some companies also allow drivers to install tracking devices that monitor their driving habits. The idea is that safe driver can prove that their risk level is lower than average, and they will earn lower premiums as a result.

Using these programs, but you may want to consider slowing down and playing it safe in order to earn insurance rates that you can afford.

– Add your vehicle to a trustworthy driver’s insurance policy

It’s often cheaper to add your vehicle to another driver’s policy and pay them the difference in their premium than to secure your own policy.

You will need to add your name as a driver on the policy so that you’re covered while driving the vehicle, so your personal details and driving history will impact the overall rate for the policy.

More Extreme Options

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If you don’t want to risk driving without insurance but genuinely cannot afford even a basic liability policy, there are a couple options that you may want to consider.

These are more extreme measures that aren’t suitable for every driver, but they are real solutions for some drivers struggling to make monthly insurance payments.

– Move to a state with more lenient policies regarding car insurance

Most drivers assume that they will have to legally pay for car insurance no matter where they live, but there are some states that don’t require all drivers to maintain coverage.

The following guidelines will help you understand what options you may have if you are able to move your home to a more lenient state:

  • New Hampshire doesn’t require drivers to carry insurance, but all drivers are expected to cover expenses if they cause an accident. Those convicted of driving under the influence or other crimes are often legally required to obtain insurance because their risk of causing an accident is inflated.
  • Many states give drivers the option of posting a bond with the state rather than securing liability insurance. If these drivers cause an accident, the bond is cashed to cover the damages sustained by other involved parties. This won’t work for many people, but it is worth considering if you have access to a lump sum of money now but won’t have the funds for monthly insurance premiums in the future.
  • Alaska exempts drivers in select areas of the state from maintaining car insurance policies. These residents live in remote areas where car registration is not required, so car insurance isn’t required either.
  • Virginia allows uninsured drivers to register their vehicles and drive legally after paying an Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee. The fee is currently $500 and lasts for one year, but they may lower the fee if you only need to remain uninsured for a shorter period of time.

Notify Your Local DMV

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You cannot legally drive your vehicle and will need to rely on public transportation, personal rides, cabs or services like Uber.

It’s important to compare the cost of these alternative transportation methods to the cost of maintaining your own vehicle to ensure you’re really saving money.

You can’t just drop your insurance in most states. The insurance company will notify the DMV that you’re no longer insured, and that will lead to suspension of your registration and a demand that you turn in your license plate.

Contact the DMV immediately and file the proper paperwork so that you maintain your registration while parking your vehicle.

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Consider Cutting Other Expenses

If none of these options work and don’t want to give up your driving privileges temporarily, you are left with adjusting your budget to make room for the most affordable liability-only policy you can grab.

If even that won’t work, you may have to accept that you can’t afford to drive your vehicle at this time.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!

References:

  1. http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/12/what-is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance.asp
  2. http://www.kiplinger.com/article/cars/T009-C004-S001-data-tracking-technology-can-help-lower-your-car-i.html
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_under_the_influence
  4. https://www.statefarm.com/insurance/auto/coverage-options/liability-coverage
  5. https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/car-insurance/liability-car-insurance-cover.aspx
  6. http://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/faq/manins.htm
  7. https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/vehicles/#uninsured_fee.asp