Vehicle accident liability and general automotive insurance are things that have become ubiquitous in the United States and most other countries today. In the U.S. at least, virtually every single state requires drivers to show proof of financial responsibility for harm, damages or fatalities caused by automotive accidents. In almost all cases, this is required through auto insurance policies that you buy through brokers.
The reason state and local governments are so insistent on these rules is obvious: driving is inherently dangerous, and the odds of accidents that harm or even kill others or at the very least damage property are not especially low. Here are some numbers to demonstrate just how likely vehicle accidents are for you.
A Look at the Odds
According to research by the National Safety Council, even the odds of the most extreme type of vehicle accident, a fatal one, are a hefty 1 in 107 per individual over their lifetime.
This may seem low at first glance, but if you consider the number of years you will likely spend driving or being transported in cars, the danger is there. If you multiply those odds by the dozens of millions of people who drive or are driven each day of each year in the United States, you can easily see just how an average of 32,000 people per year die in car-related fatalities. It’s also why many other types of accidents are likely to happen.
The odds of these other non-fatal accidents are also very high. For example, according to the CDC, over 2.5 million people are treated each year in the U.S. for car accident-related injuries. That represents nearly 1 percent of the country’s population. Furthermore, your average odds of getting into a car accident of any kind, fatal or non-fatal, are 1 in 366, per 100 miles driven. When you consider how many hundreds of thousands of kilometers in total a person drives in their lifetime, car accidents are clearly visible as very likely scenarios.
Now, here are several other reasons –starting with obvious ones- why driving without insurance is an extremely bad idea in virtually all cases.
Legal Liability: Can You Drive Without Car Insurance?
Your personal chances or injury or death in a car accident should by themselves be excellent reasons for buying auto insurance. The simple reason why is that it will at least protect you from the worst financial and health expense-related costs of suffering an auto accident of any kind, or of being the victim of one caused by other drivers. However, if this basic protection doesn’t convince you, the legal ramifications of not being insured might.
Simply put, virtually all state and municipal laws in the country take auto insurance laws very seriously, and enforce them just as forcefully. Thus, if you’re caught driving without auto insurance coverage, the penalties can range in scope from steep fines and license suspension just for a first offense, to much higher fines and much longer license prohibitions for repeatedly being caught without insurance. Police stops are far from uncommon and driving without insurance is a constant gauntlet of stress over being caught and punished.
If in the worst case, you drive without auto insurance and actually get into an accident in which you’re found culpable, you could face not only prolonged jail time but also the possibility of being held responsible for covering damages to others that are large enough to bankrupt you with their costs. And the legal system will obligate you to pay, even if it means garnishing wages, confiscating property or having injured third parties sue you in court.
In 44 of the 49 U.S. states that require automotive insurance to legally drive, your license will also0 be taken away if you’re caught without it. This type of suspension can harm your career prospects and your options for different types of employment. If your existing job required you to drive extensively in a professional capacity, it can mean that you lose the work if your boss finds out that you suffered a license suspension through your own negligence around insurance.
Beyond these consequences, being caught driving without insurance can cause insurance companies themselves to qualify you as a high risk driver. If this should happen, they’re more likely to assess you with much higher premiums and other fees in the future when you do try to apply for car insurance.
Even if you suffer an accident that harms nobody but yourself and your own passengers while driving without insurance, the health related costs of recovery can harm you financially. Automotive insurance offers healthcare benefits for accident-related traumas and long-term injuries that you might not enjoy from any existing health coverage you have. Furthermore, having these accident-related medical expenses covered by your auto insurance provider can at least help you avoid higher premiums through your regular health insurance coverage provider.
If others are harmed during an accident that you’ve been found at fault in, their own insurance companies can and likely will sue you in court for bodily and property damages (aside from any criminal law consequences that you might face). The costs of these lawsuits van range in scope from just a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Do you think you’ll be able to cover even a fraction of them without the protection of car insurance?
Easily Avoiding Harm, Financial Consequences and Civil Penalties
It’s worth describing again that the potential for criminal and civil penalties while driving without automotive insurance is extremely high. If you’re simply caught without insurance at a police stop, you will be fined, likely have your car towed and may even have your license suspended even if you haven’t been in an accident. If you are in an accident and in the worst case, found to be at fault, the criminal and civil costs of this happening while uninsured can range from high to bankruptcy-level extreme. These may easily stack on top of any personal medical recovery costs that you need to go through as a result of an accident even if you’re not found to be at fault, but happened to be driving uninsured.
You can avoid all of these numerous and enormous possible problems by simply insuring yourself as soon as you have a car that you can drive. Finding affordable, comprehensive automotive insurance is not difficult and it can be remarkably easy on the wallet. The professionals at Treass Insurance can absolutely help you in finding a quote that meets your coverage needs at a rate that’s extremely affordable. Contact us now for a free quote.