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Driving without insurance in New Jersey

New Jersey turnpike
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New Jersey turnpike
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Like most states, New Jersey requires drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of car insurance to stay legal. If you drive without coverage, you could face the penalties for driving without insurance in New Jersey. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team — which includes four licensed insurance agents with a combined 47 years of industry experience —  explains New Jersey’s minimum car insurance limits and what could happen if you drive uninsured.

New Jersey car insurance laws

New Jersey’s car insurance laws give drivers two options for coverage: a basic policy or a standard policy. Not only does a basic policy have lower limits, but it also restricts your ability to buy certain coverage types like uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You may not be able to buy comprehensive or collision coverage either, depending on the company you choose.

A standard policy still has low limits, but gives you more coverage than a basic policy. If you choose to buy the standard minimum coverage option, you’ll have to buy $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $30,000 in bodily injury liability per accident and $5,000 in property damage. You’ll also have to carry $15,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and the same 15/30 limits in both uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage.

To drive legally in New Jersey, you must buy at least the minimum required coverage types and limits on either the basic policy or the standard policy, but you can buy more coverage if you have the budget to do so. Most insurance professionals recommend buying higher limits for more financial protection.

Penalties for driving without insurance in New Jersey

If you are caught driving without insurance in New Jersey, you could be facing several penalties, depending on the specifics of your situation. The table below summarizes the penalties for driving without insurance in New Jersey:

Penalty type First offense Subsequent offenses
Fines $300 to $1,000 Up to $5,000
License suspension Up to one year Two years
NJ MVC surcharge $100 for license reinstatement $100 for license reinstatement
Jail time N/A 14 days
Community service To be determined by the court 30 days

The severity of the consequences depends on how many times you’ve been caught driving without insurance. Additionally, if you cause an accident without insurance, you could be facing the penalties outlined above on top of having to pay out of pocket for the damages you caused.

You may also be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate, especially if your incident included other risky behaviors like drinking and driving or reckless driving. An SR-22 is a form that an insurance company files with the state to prove that you have the minimum required coverage. To obtain one, you’ll need to find a company that insures high-risk drivers in New Jersey and ask for the form to be filed on your behalf. You’ll have to do this before you are eligible to reinstate your license.

Getting into an accident without insurance in New Jersey

Getting into an accident without car insurance in New Jersey is a serious infraction. Not only will you likely be subject to fines, community service, license suspension and potential jail time, but you will also be financially responsible for the damages you caused. Without insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket. Depending on the severity of the accident, this could be a huge financial setback.

New Jersey’s “No Pay, No Play” law

New Jersey is one of several states that has a No Pay, No Play law. These laws are designed to help reduce the stress on insurance companies in terms of paying claims for drivers who don’t carry insurance. Essentially, if you are driving without insurance in New Jersey and someone hits you, you will not be able to collect any claim payout for noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering or mental anguish. Uninsured drivers in New Jersey are also unable to sue for compensation for personal injury and may be limited in their ability to collect for property damage.

Uninsured drivers who get hit by an insured driver and sustain serious injuries may be able to file a claim with their health insurance company to get reimbursed for their medical bills. Having a car insurance policy not only protects you from the state’s penalties for driving uninsured, it also protects your finances from the fallout of at-fault losses and entitles you to greater compensation if you are not at fault for an accident.

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Writer & Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional with over a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent.
Edited by
Insurance Editor
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