Does state law penalize drivers without auto insurance?

Louisiana law is clear that anyone who is a registered owner of an automobile is required to carry liability insurance. This allows the driver to cover injuries or property damages that the driver may cause up to the limits set forth in the policy. Drivers who do not carry liability coverage could end up on the receiving end of a number of penalties and may lose out even if they get injured in an automobile accident.

According to the Louisiana Department of Insurance, a vehicle owner found without liability coverage could be subjected to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. The offenses include operating an automobile without possessing insurance or misrepresenting that you do have the insurance. Getting into an accident without insurance also makes you eligible for penalties.

Even if you do have insurance, you may get in trouble if you do not carry proof of insurance in your vehicle. In the event a police officer stops you for any reason, you will have to present insurance documentation such as your insurance card. If you do not or are unable to, you may be subject to fines. Louisiana drivers should also keep on top of their insurance renewals, as the state may fine you for a lapsed policy.

A failure to carry insurance also impacts your ability to collect on damages resulting from an accident. Even if the other driver is at fault, Louisiana’s “No  Pay, No  Play” law states that an insured driver cannot collect the first $25,000 in property damages. Even if you suffer personal injury, Louisiana law will still sanction you by forbidding you to acquire the first $15,000 in personal injury costs.

In addition to levying fines, Louisiana law can suspend an uninsured motorist’s driving privileges by impounding the vehicle and revoking the vehicle registration. The state may also cancel the vehicle license plate. A person who gets into an auto collision without liability coverage could see a driver’s license suspension for 180 days. The state can also respond to a driver wrongly claiming to possess insurance by revoking the person’s license for a year or 18 months.

This article is written to educate readers on car accident topics and is not to be taken as legal advice.