Driving without insurance in Vermont

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Driving without car insurance in Vermont will cost you. Not only are fines imposed for driving without insurance in Vermont but there are also numerous administrative steps required to set things right. These take time as well, and in the final analysis, any money saved by not buying car insurance will likely be outweighed by the financial penalties and additional burdens created.

Minimum insurance required in Vermont

Vermont law requires that drivers maintain certain levels of auto liability insurance and carry proof of insurance to present to a police officer upon request. Auto liability insurance is a form of car insurance covering the consequences of bodily injury and property damage that you cause to another driver in a car accident.

Specifically, Vermont requires minimum auto liability insurance coverage in the following amounts:

  • $25,000 for injuries per person
  • $50,000 per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage

Penalties for driving without insurance in Vermont

If a Vermont driver is caught driving without car insurance, they can be fined up to $500 for a first offense. Vermont law imposes a series of penalties and financial responsibility requirements for driving without insurance, including:

  • A fine of $100 is imposed for failure to have insurance proof in one’s possession when requested, but insurance is in effect and proven within 20 days.
  • A fine up to $500 can be imposed when financial responsibility is not in place in the form of insurance meeting the minimum liability requirements.
  • A fine up to $500 can be assessed for a second offense of driving without insurance.
  • Vermont drivers caught driving without insurance will have their license suspended unless they acquire SR-22 insurance through an insurance company.

SR-22 insurance is a bit of a misnomer because it is not an actual type of auto insurance. Rather, an SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility which is attached to your auto insurance policy. In Vermont, an SR-22 will specifically confirm that a driver maintains the minimum liability coverage required by the state.

Fees from Vermont’s online insurance verification system

Vermont does not currently have an online insurance verification system, so drivers must carry proof of car insurance anytime they are driving to avoid getting a citation.

Getting into an accident without insurance

Things get more complicated and costly if a Vermont driver is ticketed for a traffic violation or involved in an accident and does not have auto insurance. The fines mentioned above will still be imposed, but following the accident, you will also likely have your license suspended by a court until you can put an SR-22 in place. Additionally, it is difficult to predict what other conditions, including more fines, a court may impose which will need to be met.

The steeper cost of being involved in an accident without insurance could be in the form of a lawsuit by an injured driver. In Vermont, an “at-fault” comparative negligence state, if you were more at fault in the accident than the other driver, you can be held personally liable for some of the bodily injury and property damage caused to the other driver and, potentially, their passengers. These financial repercussions can be severe and change your entire life.

It is highly likely that a driver facing all of these consequences will also pay higher insurance premiums in Vermont, resulting from both the underlying traffic offense and driving while uninsured.

It is a good idea to consider purchasing car insurance to protect yourself financially from all of the above. While collision and comprehensive car insurance coverage will protect your finances more fully in a car accident, at least consider purchasing the minimum amount of car insurance required by the state. Speak to a licensed insurance agent to determine how much and what kind of car insurance is right for you.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if you provide false insurance information?

Driving without insurance is a very serious offense. Still, it can certainly be made far worse if you give false information to an arresting officer, an insurance commissioner or the court. This can lead to a license suspension and steep fines. Similar serious consequences can occur when false information is provided to your insurer. The carrier may cancel your policy and/or refuse to pay a claim that would otherwise be covered.

How much is car insurance in Vermont?

The average annual cost of full coverage car insurance in Vermont is $1,207, which compares favorably with other states and is one of the ten least expensive states for full coverage. The national annual average for full coverage insurance is $1,674. Of course, rates will vary significantly depending on a driver’s location, driving history and type of vehicle. It usually pays to obtain several quotes from several reputable car insurers and compare rates.

Is driving without car insurance a misdemeanor or a felony?

Despite the serious consequences, driving without car insurance is still classified as a misdemeanor in Vermont and other states. Do not let the classification fool you. There can be serious penalties from an infraction, including license suspension. And the financial consequences can be compounded if you are found to be uninsured in conjunction with a DUI or an accident.

Should I tell my car insurance company about minor accidents?

It is a good best practice to tell your insurance company about every accident you are involved in, even if an accident is minor and you intend to work things out directly with the other driver. This precaution can potentially save you from financial ruin if, sometime after the accident, the other driver claims a serious injury. If your insurer was not notified promptly, the carrier likely has grounds to deny subsequent coverage.

Written by
Rick Hoel
Insurance Contributor
Rick Hoel is an international business attorney and legal and insurance writer for Bankrate.com, Reviews.com and Accessibility.com. Over the last several years, he has covered topics dealing with personal and commercial insurance and technology and the law. Rick is General Counsel and Director of Risk Management and sits on the Board of Power Stow Americas Inc., a subsidiary of Power Stow A/S in Denmark, the world leader in the supply of tracked conveyor systems to the airline industry.
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