What Happens to an Uninsured Motorist in an Accident?

by Bianca Garrison - November 6, 2019
Car accident with both drivers using their phones

Driving without car insurance is against the law in most states, but some people still drive uninsured. If you don’t have car insurance, please don’t drive. If you are stopped by law enforcement, you will be fined, and in some states, your car will get towed. If you are in an accident, you will have to pay for the costs of the accident out-of-pocket. Learn more about what you should do if you are ever in a car accident with an uninsured driver, or if you are the uninsured driver in the car accident. 

What Happens if Someone Without Insurance Hits You?

If you are in a car accident and you discover that the other person does not have car insurance, follow these tips:

  • Call the police and file a police report. 
  • If you are offered money, don’t accept it. Sometimes uninsured drivers will offer money in an attempt to avoid fines and fees. 
  • Exchange contact information
  • Take photos and videos
  • Gather information. Be sure to get license plate numbers, make and model of the car, time of the accident, and police officer’s information. 
  • Contact your insurance company

The procedure is similar to what you do in any accident. When you call your insurance company, you will have to inform them that the other driver has no car insurance. You can sue the uninsured driver, but you may not recover your losses. 

Car Accidents With Uninsured Driver

The easiest way to protect yourself against uninsured drivers is to buy uninsured motorist coverage from your car insurance provider. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are ever in a car accident with an at-fault driver who does not have auto liability insurance. 

When an uninsured driver is at fault in a car accident, the insured’s insurance companies are usually responsible for the damages. If you are in a car accident with an insured driver whose policy does not cover the costs of the damages, then underinsured motorist coverage will protect you in this instance.

What Happens if You Hit an Uninsured Driver?

Most states are tort states meaning that whoever is responsible for the car accident is liable for the damages. So, if you have car insurance and you hit an uninsured driver, your insurance company will cover you. The uninsured driver may still have to pay penalties for driving without car insurance. 

If you live in a no-fault state, then getting into a collision with an uninsured driver doesn’t matter because you’re covered regardless of who is at fault. If you live in a tort state, then you will only be covered if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

What Happens If You Are The Uninsured Motorist?

These states limit what you can recover from another driver if you don’t have car insurance:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon

Each of these states has “no pay, no play” laws that limit compensation for people who were uninsured when they were injured in a car accident.

Most states with no pay, no play limitations on car insurance claims are only on non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Economic damages, including medical bills and property damage, can sometimes be recovered.

If you are the at-fault driver, you will be responsible for any damage that you cause. These costs will have to be paid out-of-pocket in addition to any fines. 

If you’re caught driving without insurance, you could face any of these penalties:

  • Tickets and fees 
  • Points added to your driver’s license 
  • License suspension
  • License reinstatement fees
  • Towed vehicle
  • SR-22 requirements
  • Potential jail time

The penalties for driving without insurance vary depending on where you live. 

Customer Service866-424-9511