Over the years, we’ve heard countless stories about cases made worse due to simple misinformation or uninformed drivers. To help ensure that doesn’t happen to you, our team of experienced Attorneys and legal staff at G3 Help Me Law strive to provide the most relevant, up-to-date legal information, road rules, and safety tips.
In this article, we’ll discuss the legality of auto insurance, types of coverage, and why it’s important to be insured before an accident takes place.
Do I need auto insurance?
The short answer here is, yes. In all 50 U.S. states, it is illegal to drive on the road without having valid car insurance.
Think of car insurance as your ultimate accident protection. In the event an accident does occur, having insurance provides a certain level of financial protection for you, passengers, pedestrians, and even your vehicle.
In any case, being involved in an auto accident without car insurance is an easy way to make matters worse. Regardless of whether or not you are the “at-fault” driver, simply being on the road without valid insurance means you are opening yourself up for legal retribution, ranging from a minor citation or fine to a more severe loss of license or arrest.
What does auto insurance do for me?
Aside from the aforementioned protection in the event of an accident, auto insurance provides other means of protection to you and your vehicle. Without insurance, vehicle owners limit themselves and their rights in the event of damages due to theft or vandalization.
Though it’s the uninsured driver’s legal right to press charges in the event of theft or damages to their vehicle, not having insurance can complicate the process by affirming that they were also breaking the law. As any attorney or team of experienced legal staff would advise, it’s always best to obtain proper auto insurance prior to getting behind the wheel.
Common types of coverage
Before you obtain proper auto insurance for your vehicle, it’s important to know what kind of policy and protection you’re looking for. For most safe drivers and standard vehicles, there are three levels of auto insurance coverage to choose from:
- Third-Party Coverage (not including Fire & Theft)
- Third-Party Coverage (including Fire & Theft)
- Comprehensive Coverage
Also referred to as Liability Insurance, Third-Party Insurance is the minimum level of coverage required by law and the most basic level of protection drivers can get against damages to their person or property. Unlike Comprehensive Insurance, which protects drivers against accidents involving other people and/or property as well, Third-Party Coverage is limited in what it can financially protect you against.
Similarly, opting for Third-Party Insurance that also covers fire and theft may provide a higher level of protection, but is not the same as obtaining Comprehensive Coverage.
How do companies determine the cost of insurance?
While costs vary depending on your coverage needs, auto insurance is typically affordable in comparison to the penalties uninsured drivers may face after an accident.
In most cases, your insurance premium is based largely on factors like your demographic and geographic information (i.e. your age, occupation, state and area of residence, etc.). However, costs may also vary depending on the use of your vehicle (such as driving a truck for work) and any previous driving offenses on your record.
If you’ve previously been cited for driving uninsured or were involved in past accidents, carriers may classify you as “at risk” and increase your cost of coverage. On the other hand, every year you go without being involved in an accident or breaking road safety laws increases the chance that you’ll qualify for new discounts within your policy.
I’m insured… Now what?
If you’re involved in an accident and you do not have your policy information on hand, there is no way to prove you are legally covered at that time. More often than not, this simple mistake leads to otherwise unnecessary further action, such as an additional fine or a trip to your local courthouse to present proof of insurance within a certain period of time.
You can avoid running into this problem simply by making sure your insurance information (as well as driver’s license and vehicle registration) is always with you on the road.
At G3 Help Me Law, we care about more than just your rights after an auto accident. First and foremost, we care about your safety and helping you avoid legal retribution altogether.
From all of us at G3 Help Me Law, we hope this article has provided helpful information on the importance of obtaining proper auto insurance. Have a legal question about an auto accident or financial losses due to being uninsured? Give us a call at (865) 558-8030 or schedule your free, confidential case evaluation today.