While many people struggle to make ends meet or are living paycheck to paycheck, auto insurance may seem like one more expense you can do without. While it may be tempting to forego purchasing insurance, this can be a costly mistake. Some people may opt out of auto insurance due to financial hardship but that is a dangerous roll of the dice. If you are found liable for causing an accident without insurance, you could be held financially responsible for all the repairs and medical bills for everyone involved. The bills from a single accident could easily total tens of thousands of dollars. Keep reading for additional penalties and possible consequences of being pulled over with no insurance in Arizona.
Auto Insurance Requirements Vary by State
All states except New Hampshire and Virginia require drivers to carry some form of auto insurance. The two exception states have different requirements for their drivers and both hold individuals that cause accidents financially liable, so while drivers aren’t legally required to carry auto insurance, many do to financially protect themselves. Because carrying insurance and being able to show proof of insurance when asked by law enforcement officials is a law in most states, there are stiff penalties for foregoing insurance. It should be noted that if you have insurance but do not have the proof of insurance with you when asked by the police, you may be able to avoid penalties by submitting proof to the court prior to or at your court date. It is important to note that penalties increase based on the number of offenses so the more times you get caught without insurance the more it will cost you.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Arizona
Per the Arizona MVD, Arizona law requires you to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. This amount is $15,000 bodily liability for one person and $30,000 for two people. In addition, you are legally required to have coverage in the minimum amount of $10,000 property damage liability. If you do not comply with these minimum requirements you are subject to the following penalties:
- 1st offense: Fines and suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration. In addition, you may be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate for two years.
- 2nd offense: Increased fines and length of suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration. In addition, you may be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate for two years.
- 3rd offense: Further increased fines and length of suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration. In addition, you may be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate for two years.
It is important to note that these are the penalties incurred by the state. You will also have financial penalties from other entities. In order to reinstate your license and registration, you will have to obtain adequate auto insurance. An insurance company may view you as high-risk due to your willingness to be an uninsured driver. This will drive your premium costs up significantly. Additionally, every ticket or incident you incur on your record has the potential to increase your insurance costs.
SR-22 (Statement of Responsibility – 22) certificates are another way in which you will have financial penalties. This type of certificate is often required if you are found guilty of driving without insurance and is issued by your insurance company. The SR-22 is a certificate from your insurer stating that you have car insurance. This certificate has to be filed with the MVD. While the actual cost of filing the SR-22 is nominal, you may again be viewed as a high-risk driver by your insurance company and your premiums will be adjusted accordingly. If you find yourself needing an SR-22, it is wise to shop around to find an insurer that will file this document with the least amount of increase in coverage costs.
The costliest penalty for a lack of insurance may be a civil suit. If you are found liable for causing an accident and you do not have insurance, you may be forced to pay for all damages out of pocket. You can also be sued for any damages assessed. If you do not have the money to pay for the damages you may be forced to sell any assets of value such as your home. Do not risk your financial security by neglecting to purchase insurance.
Some people either intentionally or unintentionally try to get away with driving without insurance. Aside from the possible penalties involved, this isn’t a good idea for another reason: the state of Arizona has safeguards in place to prevent you from getting away with it. By Arizona state law, insurance companies have to notify the Motor Vehicle Division of any cancellations or non-renewals within seven days. This means if you have a lapse of insurance coverage, your insurance company will report it to the MVD. The MVD also has systems in place to match you with the VIN number of your vehicle and the corresponding insurance. It is always best to follow the state laws and insure your vehicle as required.
Get Your Auto Insurance Policy Today
Whether you simply forgot, or are having trouble meeting the financial burden of monthly premiums, auto insurance is simply a must. If you need assistance finding a policy that meets your coverage and budgetary needs, please contact our office. We work with multiple insurance companies so that we can get you the maximum coverage at the best possible price. We will listen to your individual situation and respect your budget. Don’t risk your driver’s license, registration or financial health. Call us today and let us get you the insurance coverage you need.