Most states are very strict when it comes to their car insurance requirements. Therefore, if you’re caught driving without insurance, you can face penalties that might get very costly. One of the most-frequent ways that someone gets caught driving without a policy is when they get pulled over. Alabama law allows the police to ask for proof of insurance or financial responsibility upon making a traffic stop. Therefore, they’ll immediately be able to know if you have coverage, and if you don’t, you’ll have just made an even deeper problem for yourself. Consider why you should always have car insurance.
Why States Require Car Insurance
Because car insurance can pay for many of the costs of car wrecks, states want to make sure that drivers can protect their financial security in case accidents occur. Furthermore, given that a driving accident might involve multiple people, policy requirements make sure that the affected parties can take responsibilities for the losses they cause others.
Therefore, if you don’t have insurance, you’re leaving more people than just yourself in the way of costly losses. Think of it as a type of consumer protection for both yourself and others.
Alabama’s Insurance Requirements
Alabama mandates that all drivers registered with the state Motor Vehicle Division carry the following insurance coverage:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability coverage for one person injured in a wreck
- $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage for more than one person injured in a wreck
- $25,000 property damage liability coverage
The bodily injury liability coverage pays for third-party injury costs, while the property damage coverage pays for property damage you cause to others. So, if you hit another vehicle, and the accident was your fault, then the bodily injury coverage will pay for the other driver and passengers’ medical costs, while the property damage coverage can help pay for vehicle repairs.
The Penalties of Not Having This Coverage
The unfortunate fact is that Alabama has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in America—18.4% in 2015. If you get pulled over, and don’t have insurance, you might face penalties that include:
- A fine of up to $500 for the first violation and up to a $1,000 fine for all subsequent violations
- License and registration suspensions of up to six months
- Vehicle impoundment
- Reinstatement fees to reactivate your license and registration.
To get your driving privileges back, you will also have to present proof that you have a car insurance policy in place. This will likely involve having to file for an SR-22. The SR-22 is a certificate that attaches to your insurance and verifies that the policy is active. It will remain on your policy for up to three years, and if your policy lapses, then the state will be notified. That could lead to further penalties.