Indiana law requires that all drivers carry an auto insurance policy with at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Maintaining this minimum level of insurance costs about $464 a year for the average resident.
But if you’re in an accident without insurance, the expense could be far greater. You’ll pay penalties in the form of fines and possible license suspension as well as the out-of-pocket expenses for property damage and medical bills.
We’ll explain what you need to know about the risks of driving without insurance in Indiana and some of the laws designed to protect victims of car accidents when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance coverage.
Indiana Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
First-time offenders who are caught driving without insurance can face license suspension and $250 in fines. To get your license back, you will need to prove you have adequate car insurance to drive in the state.
Second-time offenders will experience increased fines up to $1,000. And to get your license back, you will still need to prove insurance coverage.
You should know that being involved in a car accident is not the only way that law enforcement might discover that you do not have car insurance. Law enforcement could pull you over for a minor traffic infraction—only to find out that you don’t have insurance coverage. After this, you will face fines and license suspension.
How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Applies
Obviously, you will be responsible for all damages to your vehicle and medical bills from the accident. But the next big question is about covering the bills for the other driver involved in the accident.
All Indiana insurance policies must include uninsured motorists coverage of $25,000 in bodily injury and $25,000 in property damaged. However, policyholders can reject this coverage in writing.
Regardless of whether the other driver has uninsured motorist coverage, this party can sue you for damages. Generally, when this happens for an insured driver, the lawsuit is with the insurance company, which shields at-fault individuals from personal financial damages.
But in scenarios where a motorist does not have insurance, the lawsuit will be against the individual. Even if you have no savings to cover the expense of the accident, the courts could order wage garnishment for many years to come to cover the expenses from the accident you caused.
Drivers who want to avoid lawsuits with uninsured motorists can also add personal injury protection to their car insurance. This covers medical expenses for both you and your passengers, even if you are not at fault for the accident. This coverage can help in offsetting expenses after an accident with an uninsured driver.
Can You Go to Jail for Driving Without Insurance in Indiana?
No, you won’t go to jail for choosing to drive without insurance. However, the financial penalties in case something happens would be far greater than paying for car insurance. It’s smart to protect yourself with a good policy, and you should choose to keep the uninsured motorist coverage on your policy to protect you in case of an accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist and want to pursue damages, we’ll support you. Schedule a free consultation with Stewart & Stewart to learn more.