Is it legal to not have Car Insurance in some states?

Most of the 50 U.S. states require or at least prefer every driver to have car insurance coverage. In the majority of these states, drivers who are caught driving without car insurance will have to pay state-specific consequences. However, there are two states where car insurance is optional (not mandatory).

According to, the two states that do not require insurance are New Hampshire and Washington.  In addition, drivers who live and commute in Virginia have the option to pay an Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee ($500) when paying for the car’s registration instead of purchasing liability coverage.  While this means that drivers in these states do not necessarily need insurance, drivers on the road are required to take financial responsibility, in the event of an accident.  Therefore, drivers in New Hampshire and Wisconsin who do not opt to have car insurance will be required to pay the high cost of damages, if an accident occurs. 

In these states, police officers do not need the driver to show proof of insurance during a traffic stop, but will be required to pay for the damage to any cars that are involved in an accident where they are ruled, at fault.  The governing forces in these two states believe it is not right to punish someone for a crime that they only have a possibility of committing. 

While full coverage car insurance is not mandated in New Hampshire and Wisconsin, due to the financial risk that is possible; most states mandate liability insurance, which pays for the vehicle and injuries of the other person, but not the policyholder.  The liability requirements for New Hampshire include a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident and $25,000 for property damage.  The only difference in Wisconsin is that only $10,000 is required for property damage.  In addition, Virginia motorists who opt to pay the Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee are required to have a liability policy that covers at least $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident and $20,000 for property damage.  Virginia drivers are also mandated to have an uninsured motorist policy that covers at least $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident and at least $20,000 for property damage. 

It is important to remember that while insurance is not required, drivers who do not have insurance are at risk of having to pay more than the cost of coverage, should an accident occur.  Uninsured motorists run the risk of being found at fault, in the event of a car wreck, which may lead to a lawsuit being filed against them and they may be ordered to pay for injuries and property damage for anyone who may have been involved in the accident.  In addition, if the individual only had liability coverage, they are also responsible to pay for their own injuries and any property damage, if the accident was their fault.  If someone is not covered and is determined to be at fault for an accident, they are mandated to buy car insurance and to file an SR-22 that must be maintained for a mandatory three years after being convicted.  In most cases, this results in higher costs than if the individual had purchased and maintained a car insurance policy instead of operating a vehicle without coverage. 

Therefore, while drivers are able to drive without having a full coverage car insurance policy, it is typically better in the long run for drivers to purchase coverage rather than deal with the major financial risk that is possible.

Leave a Reply