Most people understand that having a valid driver’s license and car insurance are requirements for all drivers in the state of Indiana. However, in certain circumstances, some individuals may find themselves unable to obtain car insurance or are unaware that their insurance has expired.
Operating a vehicle without insurance is already risky, but the repercussions are magnified if you are involved in an accident without insurance. Individuals may face severe consequences for operating a vehicle without insurance such as license suspension and major fines.
In this blog, we discuss the penalties of driving without car insurance and outline a few tips on what to do if you are in a car accident without insurance in Indiana.
Indiana Car Insurance Laws
Under Indiana state law, any driver who is at fault for causing an accident is financially responsible for all damages. These damages can include vehicle damage, injuries, and lost income. Most drivers protect themselves from these financial burdens by buying car insurance coverage.
In Indiana, drivers are required to have the following coverage as part of their car insurance policy:
- Bodily injury liability – Minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability – Minimum of $25,000 per person
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury – Minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Other states in the country make uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage optional, but as you can see, it is required in the state of Indiana. However, policyholders can reject this coverage in writing.
Maintaining Proof of Insurance
Indiana drivers are legally obligated to maintain up-to-date proof of insurance. Drivers need to retain proof using a certificate of insurance (COI), a statement provided by automotive insurance companies that confirm that a driver is insured. Indiana residents should keep these certificates within their vehicles in case of a traffic stop or vehicular accident, and they also need to ensure that this proof of insurance isn’t expired.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Indiana
First-time offenders caught driving without proof of insurance can face a $250 fine as well as a license suspension of 90 days or until they provide proof of insurance. To regain your license, you must prove that you have adequate car insurance to drive.
If you drove without car insurance, you’ll need to supply proof of future financial responsibility (SR-22). SR-22 forms are certificates that prove that you meet minimum car insurance requirements within your state. Your SR-22 will need to show proof of financial responsibility for three years after the date of your license reissue. For example, if road authorities reinstate your license on August 1, 2023, you’ll need to show proof of financial responsibility up until August 1, 2026.
Second-time offenders caught driving without insurance within a five-year period may face up to $1,000 in fines and will also need to provide proof of insurance to reobtain their license. Additionally, their vehicle registration may be suspended for up to a year. They will then have to provide proof of financial responsibility (called an SR-22) for three years following the date of the offense.
If someone is caught driving without a license for the third time within five years, their license may be suspended for an entire year. At the end of the one-year period, a driver will have to pay a $1,000 reinstatement fee to get their license back, and their vehicle registration will be suspended for a year. They will then be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate for the following five years.
What if I Hit Someone and I Don’t Have Insurance?
Since Indiana is an at-fault state, you would be required to pay for all damages if you hit someone else and you do not have insurance coverage.
Usually, in car accident lawsuits, injured parties file against insurance companies unwilling to pay out full damages for the victim’s economic and noneconomic damages, but when the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance, the injured party files against the uninsured driver.
Uninsured drivers found liable will be responsible for paying for the victim’s damages, and if they can’t afford to pay, the court may garnish their wages.
Without car insurance, you’ll be personally liable for any vehicle damages and personal injuries after the accident in question, so you must collect any evidence that may indicate that another party was partially responsible for the wreck.
Even if you are at fault for the car accident without insurance, always take plenty of pictures of the entire accident including both vehicles as well as road conditions and other damages. These pictures can serve as powerful evidence that may reduce the damages you’ll be required to pay.
Indiana’s No Pay, No Play Statute
The No Pay, No Play statute means that if a driver doesn’t have car insurance and was required to provide proof of financial responsibility (SR-22) in the last five years, they cannot recover non-economic damages from an at-fault driver, even if that driver is insured. They cannot recover damages including pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic damages.
What if I’m Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
If you have insurance compliant with Indiana state law requirements, you likely have uninsured motorist insurance (UMI). If you do have UMI and are hit by an uninsured driver, you need to file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurer and provide evidence that the other driver is at fault.
Always seek medical attention for your injuries first and foremost, and always call the police to the scene of the accident so that they can file a report. These police reports often help with your claim approval. If your insurance company fails to pay your claim, you will need to meet with an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer.
Contact an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you were involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, Crossen Law Firm is here for you. Our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers are equipped with the knowledge and resources to help you with your claim and advocate for your best interest.