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Driving without insurance in New Jersey

New Jersey turnpike
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New Jersey drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance which means driving without car insurance in New Jersey is illegal and drivers who get caught without coverage will face serious consequences. Whether you currently live in New Jersey or are planning to move to the Garden State, it is important to understand the state’s car insurance laws and the penalties for driving without insurance in New Jersey.

New Jersey car insurance laws

Car insurance is mandatory in the state of New Jersey. Every driver who has a vehicle that is registered with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) is required to carry three types of auto insurance—personal liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and no-fault insurance.

The minimum required personal liability coverage in New Jersey is 15/30/5, which includes $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $5,000 in property damage coverage per accident. Drivers must also carry at least $15,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) to satisfy the state’s no-fault insurance laws.

Penalties for driving without insurance in New Jersey

For a first offense, drivers will be fined $300 – $1,000, and will also be required to complete community service. In addition, drivers who get caught without insurance will have their license suspended for up to one year, or until they can provide proof of coverage. New Jersey has a license reinstatement fee of $100.

For two or more offenses, the penalties are significantly more severe. The driver will pay a fine of up to $5,000 and will be required to perform community service for 30 days. Additionally, the driver can face up to 14 days in jail. Their license will be suspended for two years and in order to get the license back, the driver will have to submit an application to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey MVC, which may or may not be approved.

If a driver is stopped by a law enforcement officer and cannot provide proof of insurance, the officer can choose to impound the vehicle. To get the vehicle back, the driver has to provide proof of insurance and pay a towing and vehicle release fee, which could cost several hundred dollars. If the driver fails to retrieve the vehicle within 30 days of the violation, the car can be sold at auction.

Drivers who get caught without insurance might also be required to purchase an SR-22. An SR-22, also called SR-22 insurance, is a certificate that proves you carry the state’s minimum amount of car insurance. Having an SR-22 on your record will increase your car insurance premium, and it will generally stay on your record for three to five years.

Getting into an accident without insurance

Getting into an accident without car insurance in New Jersey is a bad situation. Not only will you be subject to fines, community service, license suspension and potential jail time, but you will also be financially responsible for the other person’s losses, including your own.

If you hit another car and you are uninsured, you will be required to compensate the other driver for their losses and their passenger’s losses. This includes medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress and property damage, including damage to their vehicle. If the driver takes you to court, you will be 100% responsible for the cost of your legal fees and the settlement.

If another driver hits your car and you are uninsured, you still have to pay for your losses. New Jersey is one of several states that has a No Pay, No Play law, which prohibits uninsured drivers from collecting compensation for economic and non-economic losses if they are hit by an insured driver. The concept behind this law is that uninsured drivers should not be able to receive the same benefits as insured drivers who follow the rules.

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. But remember that having an accident on your record, even a no-fault crash, will have a big impact on your car insurance rate when you eventually purchase coverage.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance in New Jersey?

The best car insurance in New Jersey is different for every driver. It depends on a number of factors, like your budget, what discounts you can take advantage of, what type of coverage you need and how much coverage you need. New Jersey drivers should shop around and compare providers to figure out which car insurance company is best for their unique needs.

How much does car insurance in New Jersey cost?

The average cost of car insurance in New Jersey is $1,706 annually for full coverage insurance and $727 for minimum coverage insurance. In comparison, the average cost of full coverage insurance in the United States is $1,738 per year. Car insurance in New Jersey is slightly less expensive than the national average rate. However, every driver pays a slightly different rate based on their ZIP code, age, credit score and claims history.

What does New Jersey no-fault insurance cover?

No-fault insurance in New Jersey, also called personal injury protection (PIP), is a required coverage. It covers your medical bills, lost wages and costs related to pain and suffering if you are involved in an accident, regardless of which driver caused the crash. Uninsured drivers cannot take advantage of New Jersey’s no-fault laws.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth Rivelli is a contributing insurance writer for Bankrate and has years of experience writing for insurance domains such as The Simple Dollar, and NextAdvisor, among others