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Driving without insurance in Alabama may be punishable with a misdemeanor, costly fines and a license suspension. And that’s not to mention the indirect penalties, which can include insurance rate hikes and steep out-of-pocket expenses if you cause an accident without insurance. To help you understand what’s at stake, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team, which includes licensed property and casualty agents, is here to explore the ins and outs of what happens if you get caught driving without insurance in Alabama.
Minimum insurance required in Alabama
Alabama state law requires minimum insurance that goes by the 25/50/25 rule. Drivers must have proof of insurance on them at all times with coverage for:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per accident
No one expects to get into an accident, but it is always best to be prepared. While the minimum coverage requirements vary in each state, most insurance experts recommend carrying higher liability limits to better mitigate your financial loss from an accident. Aside from Alabama’s required coverage, here are a few optional coverage types that can help you if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver:
- Uninsured motorist coverage (UM): This coverage provides payments toward medical-related expenses that resulted from an accident where the uninsured driver is at fault. UM provides coverage for the driver and passengers up to the policy limit.
- Medical payments coverage: This coverage provides payments towards medical-related expenses for the driver and passengers up to the policy limit, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
- Collision coverage: This coverage pays for damage sustained to your vehicle that resulted from a collision. It pays up to the actual cash value of your car minus the deductible.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Alabama
Owners of a registered vehicle that allow their insurance to lapse may receive a first-time offender fine of up to $500. Repeat lawbreakers can face increased fines of up to $1,000 for a no insurance ticket in Alabama. It’s also worth noting that the state utilizes an online insurance verification system (OIVSA) to confirm insurance coverage in Alabama. If the DMV cannot verify coverage, a verification notice is sent to the registrant that can be completed online or in person. This means you can get a ticket for no insurance in Alabama without even being pulled over.
In addition, you may also have your driver’s license and vehicle registration suspended for 180 days or more and have to serve three to six months in jail if caught driving uninsured. To reinstate your license, you may have to pay a $200 fee for the first offense and a $400 fee for subsequent offenses. It is also possible to receive a license suspension and be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate. This form can be provided to the DMV by your carrier and serves as proof of financial responsibility. If you are required to obtain an SR-22, you will likely also have to pay a higher Alabama car insurance premium as you might be classified as a high-risk driver. Subsequent offenses will increase potential fines and jail time.
Getting into an accident without insurance
In Alabama, driving without insurance may cause you to face civil and financial penalties. However, having an accident while uninsured can have more serious consequences. Even if you are not at fault for the accident, you will likely receive a ticket for no insurance. Additionally, it may be more difficult to receive compensation for property damages and medical costs caused by the other driver without insurance.
If you are at fault for the accident and don’t have insurance, you will be required to pay for all damages, including the other parties’ medical costs, vehicle repairs and any property damage out of your pocket. This could potentially add up to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the accident, especially if the other driver does not have uninsured motorist coverage.
Frequently asked questions
While driving without insurance in Alabama can result in expensive fines, license and registration suspension and jail time, providing false insurance information is even more serious. Providing false information could potentially cause a six-month suspension of your registration, plus a $200 reinstatement fee and the requirement to carry an SR-22 for three years. If you are found guilty of altering an insurance card to present false information, which is a felony, the penalties may include fines of $500 to $5,000 and anywhere from one to ten years in prison.
The average cost of car insurance in the U.S. is $622 for minimum coverage and $2,014 for full coverage. Drivers in Alabama pay close to the national average, with the minimum coverage an average of $441 and full coverage $1,843.
Each car insurance company is different, and the best insurance company will depend on your needs, goals and financial situation. The best way to find the best car insurance for you is to identify and evaluate what you’re looking for, your present situation and your future goals. If in doubt, speak with a licensed insurance agent to determine what’s available.
Yes, most car insurance companies in Alabama offer insurance discounts to help make your premium more affordable. It’s a good idea to research all the available providers and see what discounts could apply to you when purchasing coverage.