Car Accident Without Insurance Not At-Fault - What To Do

Find out what to do if you’ve been driving without insurance and have had an accident.
By Mike Parker
Updated Nov 15, 2022
A car that was just in an accident.
Why trust our opinion?

Our content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our and how we make money.

If you don’t have insurance and are involved in an accident that isn’t your fault, you’re probably wondering what the consequences are and what you should do.

In the U.S., it is a legal requirement to have up-to-date insurance on your vehicle if you drive it or it is used on public roads.

Find out more about what can happen if you’re involved in an accident, what the consequences of not having insurance are, and how to find insurance that is affordable and easy to get.

What Does It Mean to Be At-Fault?

In every accident or traffic collision there is a party that caused the accident and one that didn’t. When a person is the at-fault driver in an accident, they are the person who caused the event through their actions.

For example, let’s say you were reversing out of a parking bay and didn’t see a motorcyclist driving through the parking lot behind you and hit them. In this instance, you would be the at-fault driver because you didn’t check your mirrors properly to see if there were other vehicles behind your car.

This is just one example we’ve used to explain what it means to be at fault in an accident. However, it’s generally a good idea to speak to a law enforcement officer or lawyer to find out who actually was at fault if you are involved in an accident.

There are thousands of traffic regulations, rules, and procedures that you will need to understand in order to say whether or not you or the other driver was at fault in an accident.

Some cases are clear-cut like the example we covered above, but others aren't as straightforward. 

No-Fault vs. At-Fault

In the U.S., each state has different auto insurance laws that govern who is responsible for paying for damages to property and people when a collision happens.

There are two types of insurance laws - at-fault and no-fault. If you live or drive your vehicle in a no-fault state and have a car accident, all parties involved in the collision will cover the costs of their own repairs and damage and then recoup these costs from the other party.

For example, Florida is a no-fault state which means that if you were to bump another vehicle in traffic, both parties’ insurance companies would pay for the damage caused and then one of them would sue the other one to get that money back.

If you live or drive in an at-fault state and are involved in an accident, the person who caused the accident will be liable for the costs of repairs to their property and the other person’s expenses.

A car that was in an accident that has no insurance

Source: Pixabay

What Happens If You Get in an Accident without Insurance?

If you’re driving without insurance and are involved in an accident, there can be long-lasting financial and even legal consequences.

Most insured drivers will have an uninsured or underinsured coverage amount that they can use to cover the costs of vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and property damage.

However, if you’re an uninsured driver, you are potentially opening yourself up to legal proceedings such as a civil lawsuit for damages. Remember that you can be sued by the driver and their insurance company for damages.

The cost of taking a matter to court can be extremely high and if you don’t have the means to pay for this, you can end up bankrupting yourself.

There’s also potential criminal charges that you can be arrested for. Driving without insurance (DWI) is a punishable offense in 48 states and can lead to:

  • Your driver’s license being suspended.

  • Your driver’s license being revoked.

  • Your car registration being suspended.

  • Your registration being revoked.

In some cases, you may be ordered by the court to file an SR-22 form with your car insurance coverage. This is usually a condition that you’ll have to meet if your license is suspended and you want it reinstated. 

What Is SR-22?

SR-22 is a court-ordered requirement for certain drivers that your auto insurer must file with your state’s DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).

SR-22 forms are proof of financial responsibility for insurance that your insurance company undertakes for you.

Filing an SR-22 with your auto insurance will generally cause your monthly premiums to increase. This is because a car insurance company will consider an SR-22 driver as a higher risk to insure.

Ultimately, driving or getting into an accident with no insurance isn’t a smart idea. It can have lifelong consequences even if you aren’t the at-fault driver.

A car driving that has insurance

Source: Pexels

What Happens If I Cause an Accident and Have No Insurance?

If you live in an at-fault state, you will be liable for the costs of repairing or replacing the other party’s vehicle or property. You will also be liable for the medical bills, as well as any pain and suffering they might have experienced as a result of the accident.

If you live in a no-fault state, you will need to cover the costs of your repairs and medical care and the other person will pay for theirs. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay anything. The other driver’s insurance company will likely sue you for damages. 

Then there’s the issue of criminal charges for driving without insurance which can be severe depending on where you live.

A car that caused the accident that doesn't have any insurance

Source: Pixabay

What Should I Do If I Get into a Car Accident without Insurance?

It can be a traumatizing event when you’re involved in a collision or accident, but the most important thing is to stay calm and composed after the car accident and not to argue with the other driver. 

Depending on the seriousness of the car accident and your state, you may have to call the police. 

You should follow the instructions and commands of the attending law enforcement officer. Be truthful when answering their questions, but also consider that you have constitutional rights.

Remember that you do not have to answer questions that will incriminate yourself and you have the right to get legal representation.Driving without insurance is a criminal offense and can either be treated as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the state you live in.

Tips for Dealing with Car Accidents

  • Check that the other driver is okay.

  • Call emergency services if someone is injured.

  • Swap details with the other person involved in the car accident.

  • Keep calm and composed at all times.

  • Take pictures of the damage as soon as possible.

  • If you’re on a busy road, move to a safe spot as soon as you safely can.

  • Follow the instructions of the attending law enforcement officer.

  • Remember your rights.

  • If no one was injured and the police weren’t called to the scene, you’ll need to report the car accident at your local police station.

A person that was in an accident without car insurance

Source: Unsplash

Can I Get Insurance Coverage after My Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident with no insurance, you won’t be able to get coverage after the event. However, you can get car insurance afterward to cover you for future incidents.

In most cases, the uninsured driver will be required to get car insurance after your car accident if you want to keep your license or car registration. 

The court will also order them to file a SR-22 form (proof of financial responsibility) with their state’s DMV. 

What Should I Do If I'm Uninsured? (How to Find Affordable Car Insurance)

Because most states require a minimum level of auto insurance to operate a vehicle, getting an insurance plan should be a top priority for all car owners.

If you’re looking for great car insurance that is affordable and easy to qualify for, the first thing you’ll want to decide is what kind of insurance you need to get.

There are four main types you can choose from:

Minimum liability insurance: This is the least amount of coverage required by your state to pay for personal injury, property damage, and medical bills if you’re ever involved in a car accident.

Auto Liability insurance: This is similar to minimum liability insurance, but the amounts of coverage are more than your state’s minimum requirements.

Collision insurance: This type of insurance will cover you and another driver if you are involved in a car accident. It will pay for personal injury liability, medical bills, and property damage that is caused by a collision.

Comprehensive insurance: This is optional insurance that will cover more than damage from a car accident or liability claims. Comprehensive insurance plans will cover things like windshield repairs, vandalism, fire damage, rodent damage, and theft.

Once you’ve decided on the type of coverage you want to get, you’ll want to get quotes from as many providers as possible.

You can either do the research yourself and use a quote finder to compare prices and coverage from different car insurance companies, or you can work with an auto insurance agent to find the best deals in your area.

Some people prefer doing the research themselves, while others are happy to get an agent to find them deals. The way you approach it is completely up to you.

Before you commit, make sure that you also look at:

  • The company’s reputation.

  • Their online reviews (both good and bad).

  • Their history.

  • Their rates.

If you’re happy with a particular provider, ask your friends, family, and insurance agent what they think of the plan you’re going to choose.

Getting affordable auto insurance is easier than you think. If you’d like to speak to an agent or look at comprehensive, minimum liability, or collision insurance companies in your area, reach out to us today on 1-888-912-2132.

A car that was in an accident.

Source: Unsplash

Is an Uninsured Driver Automatically Liable for a Car Accident?

No, this will depend on the state you live in as well as whether or not it is a no-fault or at-fault state. In some states, it isn’t a legal requirement to have auto insurance. You don’t need auto insurance if you live in:

  • New Hampshire.

  • Virginia.

If you live or are driving outside of these states, then you will need to get insurance to legally drive on the road.

Remember that regardless of who is at fault, driving with no insurance in 48 states is a criminal offense. You will be charged with this crime and have to go through a sentencing process.

In most cases, if you were uninsured and involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the judge may be more lenient in their sentencing. However, it’s just not worth the hassle to drive around without insurance coverage.

If you’re involved in an accident and don’t have insurance, your best bet would be to speak to a personal injury lawyer and to get their assistance in dealing with the other driver’s insurance.

You may be able to claim damages from the other driver if they were at fault; however, keep in mind that it can be very expensive and time-consuming to go this route.

Where Can I Learn More about Auto Insurance?

Driving without insurance can be costly if you’re ever involved in an accident and it’s a good idea to get some sort of coverage if you want to legally drive in most states.

There can be massive financial and legal consequences if you’re ever caught without insurance or if you’re involved in an accident. In some cases, your license may be suspended or revoked, and you may have to pay more for insurance once you do get it. 

If you’d like to find out more about getting affordable auto insurance or want to learn about coverage, costs, and other auto insurance topics, be sure to check out our auto insurance hub.

If you have a particular question or would like to speak to an expert auto insurance agent, reach out to our team at 1-888-912-2132 or today to get advice, help, and assistance.