Is it a bad idea to not have auto insurance?

Is it bad to not have car insurance? If you are driving, yes. Driving without insurance is illegal in every state and results in major consequences like the loss of your license. Driving without auto insurance can raise your auto insurance rates when you do buy it because insurance companies review your driving history. Keep your rates low by shopping for insurance online and making sure every discount you're eligible for has been applied to your policy.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and ...

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Aug 25, 2021

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Can't-Miss Facts

  • Driving without auto insurance can cost you your license and more
  • Driving without insurance can raise your rates, as insurance companies review your driving history when calculating rates
  • Shopping online for auto insurance can save you time and money

Is it bad to not have auto insurance if affordable auto insurance has been hard to find? You may yearn to hit the open road and feel the wind in your hair, but if you don’t have auto insurance, you shouldn’t be driving anywhere.

While you may be intrigued by the prospect of saving a few dollars, what happens if you get caught driving without insurance can be quite devastating.

Yes, some auto insurance rates can be costly, but you can accrue large fines and tough penalties for driving without insurance; this could end up costing you so much more than you saved.

Now, don’t worry. If you find yourself pinching pennies, you can find affordable coverage by shopping for auto insurance quotes online for free. Enter your ZIP code above to receive free quotes from local companies so you don’t have to wonder “is it bad to not have auto insurance” ever again.

How long can you drive without insurance?

The answer to this question is easy: never.

Every state has variations of the levels of its liability insurance; however, every state requires all drivers to have some form of auto insurance coverage.

The penalties for driving without insurance will vary from state to state, but rest assured that heavy consequences come with charges of driving without insurance.

Now, if you collect cars or simply like tinkering around with them in the garage, you may be asking yourself, “Can I have a car without insurance and not drive it?” You certainly can.

Bear in mind though, once you’re ready to show off your refurbished beauty to the world, make sure you have it insured. If not, you could face some severe consequences.

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What are the penalties for driving without insurance?

As the DMV reports, here are a few of the most common penalties for driving without insurance:

  • The suspension of your vehicle registration
  • The suspension of your license
  • You could receive a traffic ticket for a no insurance violation.

In addition to these penalties, you’ll have to make extra payments so your license and registration can be reinstated. 

Thankfully, navigating the insurance market for the best policy is very easy when shopping online. You can compare quotes only before you buy auto insurance so you can find the cheapest rates possible.

How can drivers keep auto insurance rates low?

If you want to obtain low auto insurance rates, “is it bad to not have auto insurance,” is not a question you should be asking. Driving with auto insurance can actually help you achieve your goal of keeping costs down because insurance companies examine your driving record.

Your driving history, as long as it is free of violations like driving without insurance, plays a huge role in the calculation of your rates.

Of course, one of the easiest ways to keep your rates low is to make sure you have every discount you are eligible for applied to your policy. Here’s a list of some discounts offered by a few popular insurance companies:

Auto Insurance Discounts Available by Company and Discount Amount
Discounts21st Century Discount AmountAAA Discount AmountAllstate Discount AmountAmerican Family Discount AmountAmeriprise Discount AmountAmica Discount AmountCountry Financial Discount AmountEsurance Discount AmountFarmers Discount AmountGeico Discount AmountLiberty Mutual Discount AmountMetLife Discount AmountNationwide Discount AmountProgressive Discount AmountSafe Auto Discount AmountSafeco Discount AmountState Farm Discount AmountThe General Discount AmountThe Hanover Discount AmountThe Hartford Discount AmountTravelers Discount AmountUSAA Discount Amount
Adaptive Cruise Control and/or Headlights----------5%--------3%--
Anti-lock Brakes--10%-3%5%-5%-5%5%5%5%-5%-5%8%5%3%--
Anti-Theft--10%-3%25%10%25%-25%20% off of comprehensive portion of policy.10% -- this discount factors in features such as VIN etching and vehicle recovery;
one anti-theft discount applies.
25%; combined with vehicle recovery discount.---15% discount off of comprehensive coverage; higher discount with "engine cut-off."8%; one total anti-theft discount applies; if vehicle recovery, a higher discount applies.5%3%--
Claim Free--35%----25%-26% for going five years without an accident.Awarded "accident free" on account for lower rating.20% if claim/violation free:
"Superior Driver"
3+ yrs=12%
5+ yrs 20%
save $50 each claim-free year up to $250 (off deductible).
10%-10% if you go six months without filing a claim;
one safe driver/claim free discount applies.
20% "Safeco Safety Rewards" if you have no at-fault accidents in the last 36 months,
no more than 1 point on your license, and
no DUI in the last ten years; one safe driver/claim free discount applies.
15%; must have State Farm for at least three consecutive years without an accident.-15%-23%; must be accident and violation free to get the "Safe Driver" discount listed below;
must be accident and violation free to qualify:
23% - 5 years
10% - 3 years;
one safe driver/claim free discount applies.
12%; "Premier Driver Discount"
4%-12%, depending on driving record;
12% is for being accident and violation free for five years; one safe driver/claim free discount applies.
Not available in HI.
Continuous Coverage-----3%-------No gaps or cancellations;
discount depends on how long you have been consistently insured.
10% for going six or more months with no more than a 30-day coverage gap.7% if you have been with Safeco or previous provider for one year or longer; five or more years gets you the highest discount.--10%; discount applies at each renewal.-15%-
Daytime Running Lights--2%------1%5%5%5%-5%---5%3%--
Defensive Driver5%-10%10%-5%5%10%--10%7%5%10%10%5%5%8%5%10%10%3%
Distant Student--35%---------10%--15%--5%3%7%-
Driver's Ed--10%--5%10%---10%10%-10%10%5%15%8%5%3%8%3%
Driving Device/App--20%40%---25%--30%15%40%20%-30%50%--10%30%5%
Early Signing--10%---10%10%---15%8%--8%----10%12%
Electronic Stability Control--2%--5%----5%-----------
Emergency Deployment---------25%------------
Engaged Couple------10%---------------
Family Legacy-----5%---------------10%
Family Plan------25%-----25%------5%--
Farm Vehicle--10%-------------------
Fast 5-------5%--------------
Federal Employee---------8%10%-----------
Forward Collision Warning-----8%----5%--------3%--
Full Payment--10%--4%-10%--$5---5%15%-8%15%20%7.5%-
Further Education-------15%--10%-15%---------
Good Credit------------"Financial Stability"
gets you a lower rate. You must also have stable residence.
Good Student--20%--10%25%10%-15%22.5%15%10%-10%15%25%8%5%3%8%3%
Green Vehicle--10%-----5%-10%--------3%10%-
Lane Departure Warning-------------Safety features get automatic discounts applied when VIN entered in system. --------
Low Mileage-----10%-15%-------20%30%-----
Military Garaging---------------------15%
Multiple Drivers-------------------5%--
Multiple Policies--10%--15%25%--10%20%10%10%12%-15%17%15%10%20%13%-
Multiple Vehicles-----15%15%--25%10%-20%10%15%15%20%15%5%5%8%-
New Address----------5%-----------
New Customer/New Plan-----------10%--10%-------
New Graduate----------5%-----------
Newer Vehicle--30%---10%---------40%--3%10%12%
Newly Licensed----------5%-----------
Occasional Operator---------------------Discount based on operator's individual driving record.
On Time Payments--5%-----------------15%-
Online Shopper-------11%-----7%--------
Paperless Documents- -10%--2%------5%$50-`-------
Paperless/Auto Billing-5%--2%-----25%$30-$410%$28%2%$53%3%
Passive Restraint--30%30%3%30%-33%-40%-5%20%-5%2%40%8%5%3%--
Recent Retiree----------4%--------3%--
Roadside Assistance-------5%--------------
Safe Driver--45%--15%-40%15%-12%35%31%10%20%15%---23%12%
Seat Belt Use---------15%------------
Senior Driver--10%--------10%-----5%5%---
Stable Residence-------------------5%--
Students and Alumni-------15%--10%-7%---------
Switching Provider-------5%--10%10%--10%--5%5%---
Utility Vehicle--15%-------------------
Vehicle Recovery--10%-5%10%-25%-25%35%10%25%---5%8%-3%--
VIN Etching----------5%10%----------
Young Driver------10%--------------$75

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Always ask about these and other car insurance discounts you may qualify for before you buy if you want to get the cheapest rates.

What are the benefits of shopping for auto insurance online?

Is it bad to not have auto insurance since auto insurance rates for your budget can be found online? Like a broken record, the answer is, once again, yes. Shopping online allows you to browse through all your coverage options so you can find the best auto insurance company for you.

Not only can you find great rates online, but you’ll also be able to shop from the comfort of your own home without any outside pressure from agents.

How can a driver find the best insurance company?

Find the right auto insurance company can keep you from coming face to face with any of the disastrous outcomes of driving without insurance.

You can find the perfect insurance company easily. Start by following the suggestion of the Insurance Information Institute and review your own information, like how often you drive, before requesting free quotes online. That way you’ll know that all your information is up-to-date.

You can then compare the coverage options and rates available in your area before finalizing any deals.

Driving Without Insurance: What You Need to Know

Driving without auto insurance is illegal in every state and is a violation that comes with major consequences. Your license could be suspended as well as your vehicle registration.

It’s best to assume that penalties far outweigh any meager savings you may gain from not having insurance coverage. If you’re eager to save money, the best thing you can do is shop for auto quotes online.

Is it bad to not have car insurance? Yes. So start shopping for affordable coverage today. Enter your ZIP code below to receive free quotes from companies in your city.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to compare auto insurance rates.

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