You rely on your vehicle to do your grocery shopping, going to work, and taking the kids to school, and visiting family and friends. Unless you have access to public transportation or someone that is willing to drive you around, it’s extremely difficult to function without a vehicle. So, what happens if you scrape together enough to buy a vehicle, but you can’t afford the car insurance? 

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that driving without insurance is illegal in almost every state and there is a reason why it’s illegal. An uninsured motorist that is involved in a car crash may get or cause serious injuries, and insurance is necessary to pay the expenses resulting from the accident.

Consequences of Not Paying Your Car Insurance

The majority of states require drivers to carry at least basic liability insurance in order to operate a vehicle. Many states also require uninsured motorist’s coverage to compensate for injuries if one of the drivers involved in an automobile accident doesn’t have car insurance. Some states also demand personal injury protection, which is a type of no-fault accident insurance that provides compensation for loss of wages and medical costs. Unfortunately, car insurance can be expensive for some people; even basic liability may be too costly for some. In some situations, drivers that have a bad driving record may have to pay extremely high insurance premiums. 

Regardless of the circumstances, if you are caught driving without insurance, you risk losing your driver’s license and paying steep fines. If you are involved in an accident, you are at fault, and do not have insurance, the consequences can be devastating and it will cost you more in the long run. If your insurance is canceled due to non-payment, and you attempt to get insurance later on, your new policy rates may be higher than they previously were. If you are leasing your vehicle, the lender may require force-placed insurance, which is designed to protect the lender's assets. It is extremely basic coverage, but it is at a premium cost, so you will pay more for less coverage.

Legal Penalties

If you cannot afford car insurance, the simplest solution is to not drive until you can afford it. If you are caught driving without insurance the penalties and the severity of penalties vary from state-to-state; however, at the least you will lose your driver’s license and be fined, which increases after each offense. Other consequences may include:

Points on your driver’s license
Your vehicle may be impounded
You will have to pay steep license reinstatement fees
License registration and plate may be suspended
Jail time ranging from a few weeks to up to a year

Getting Cheaper Car Insurance

The good news is that there are a number of options available for those who cannot afford their car insurance. The majority of insurance providers offer a variety of discounts, ranging from low mileage deductions to safe driver discounts. The offers vary from one provider to the next, so it’s important that you not settle for buying insurance from the first provider you talk to. Some of the potential ways you can get cheaper car insurance may include:

Compare rates. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways of saving money on your policy. Simply call at least three insurance providers for quotes and compare the discount options available to you.
Increase your deductible. If you can’t afford to pay your insurance because you have a low deductible, which is what you’ll pay out of pocket before the insurance kicks in, consider increasing the deductible amount. In some situations, increased deductions can significantly reduce the amount of your monthly payment.
Ask about discounts. There are several discounts that you may qualify for, such as low-mileage, multi-vehicle coverage, bundling car insurance with other types of insurance, safe driver, and automated payments.

Once you have a car insurance policy, it is essential that you not let it lapse. Avoid falling into the category of uninsured motorists by paying your premiums on time. If you struggle with coming up with a bulk payment for insurance all at once, consider keeping a separate savings account for insurance and other expenses. Whatever the situation is, the fact is, you cannot afford not to have car insurance. There are no alternatives for those who cannot afford car insurance, the only alternative is to not drive-at all. Keep in mind that you do not have to be involved in an accident to get “caught” driving without insurance. If you get pulled over for a traffic violation, regardless of how minor it is, you will have to show proof of insurance to the police officer and/or the court, so the safest option is to always carry car insurance, even if it is the most basic policy.