Penalties for driving without insurance in Massachusetts
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
In all states, driving without insurance is considered a major traffic violation that usually leads to several penalties. In the state of Massachusetts, driving without insurance is regarded as a civil motor vehicle infraction (CMVI), which means that you can face serious penalties, including a hefty fine, jail time and revocation of your driving privileges.
Massachusetts car insurance laws
Like every state, Massachusetts has laws regarding the amount of insurance vehicle owners are required to carry. The minimum insurance requirements are designed to protect all drivers from significant expenses due to auto accidents. Massachusetts’ minimum insurance requirements mandate that all drivers carry:
- $20,000 / $40,000 for bodily injury liability coverage.
- $5,000 for property damage coverage.
- $20,000 / $40,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
- $8,000 for personal injury protection
In most cases, drivers are encouraged to obtain more than the minimum coverage. While Massachusetts has more minimum insurance requirements compared to some other states, minimum coverage still may not be enough to cover all damages in the event of an accident, which could leave you financially vulnerable.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Massachusetts
If you own a personal vehicle in Massachusetts, you must obtain the minimum insurance requirements before driving your car. The penalties for driving without insurance in Massachusetts are outlined below:
Pay a fine
If you are found guilty of driving without insurance in Massachusetts, you could receive a fine between $500 and $5,000, according to state laws. If you get caught driving without insurance multiple times, you could face even higher fines.
According to Massachusetts state laws, if you are found guilty of driving without insurance, you may have to serve up to one year in jail (with potentially more jail time if you are convicted of multiple offenses).
Driving privileges revoked
In addition to fines and potential jail time, you may also have your driver’s license and registration suspended. If you are convicted of driving without car insurance, your driving privileges will be suspended for 60 days. After two or more offenses, you could have your license restricted for longer.
When your driver’s license or registration is suspended, you will have to reinstate it and pay a fee. In Massachusetts, the fee to reinstate a suspended license is between $100 and $1,200. The exact fine depends on the type of suspension.
In addition to the fines and reinstatement fees, you could also be responsible for additional fees. For example, if you want to appeal a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) decision, you must pay a $50 fee. If you request a court hearing, you have to pay a filing fee of $25, which you get refunded if you win the hearing.
Fees from Massachusetts’s online insurance verification system
The Massachusetts RMV partnered with Boston Software Corporation to provide an online service enabling insurance agents to renew and reinstate vehicle registrations. With this online insurance verification system, insurance companies, drivers and the authorities can confirm that a vehicle is adequately insured. This system was created to ensure that all vehicle owners carry the minimum requirements for insurance before driving on the road.
|Reason for fee||Fee amount|
|Requesting a hearing to dispute civil motor vehicle infraction citation||$25|
|Late fee for failure to respond within 20 days||$40 to $45|
|First offense driving uninsured||$500|
|Second offense driving uninsured||$500 to $5,000|
|Reinstatement fee for driver’s license or registration after suspension||$100 to $1,200|
Getting into an accident without insurance in Massachusetts
If you get into an accident without car insurance in Massachusetts, there are several things that might happen.
If you were at fault in an accident, you will still have to pay all of the penalties that apply if you do not have the proper insurance. Since Massachusetts is a no-fault state, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, you will also have to pay out of pocket for damage to your vehicle or yourself, even if the other driver struck you.
If you get into an accident and it was your fault, driving uninsured can make the process more complicated. You will have to pay for all vehicle damages and medical bills for all parties from your pocket, which can get very expensive. If your license was suspended after the crash, you might also have to get an SR-22 certificate for several years.
The other driver and their insurance company can sue you and garnish your wages to pay for damages incurred from the accident if you are unable or unwilling to pay. This could lead to a significant amount of debt, especially if the other driver does not carry uninsured motorist coverage.
Frequently asked questions
Driving without insurance in the state of Massachusetts is expensive if you are caught, but providing false insurance information is considered felony fraud and can result in up to five years of prison and a fine of $500 to $10,000. If you have a limited budget, it’s usually a better idea to obtain the minimum amount of insurance required by law.
The average cost of car insurance in Massachusetts is $1,296 per year for full coverage and $446 per year for minimum coverage, which is less expensive than the national average of $1,771 per year for full coverage and $545 for minimum coverage. Your actual premium may vary, as insurance providers use several factors to determine your rates.
The best way to save on car insurance is usually to thoroughly research the auto insurance companies available in your area and compare quotes and coverage options. Most insurance companies offer multiple discounts that can lower your premiums, so take the time to see which offers could work for you. If in doubt, it’s a good idea to speak with a licensed insurance agent to ensure you are getting the best deal possible.
It’s usually a good idea to have your own insurance policy if you regularly drive, regardless of whose car you are driving. If you do not have your own vehicle and frequently drive someone else’s, you can also look into obtaining non-owner coverage. However, many insurance companies will not allow you to purchase this type of coverage if you live with the vehicle’s owner. It’s usually a good idea to speak with a licensed insurance agent to determine what type of coverage is best for your circumstances.