Consequences of Driving Without Car Insurance in South Carolina
South Carolina requires that all drivers carry auto insurance with minimum coverage levels, yet it’s estimated that approximately one in eight drivers on the road are uninsured. These drivers are taking a big risk by driving without insurance.
Legal Consequences of Driving Without Auto Insurance
As long as you have a vehicle registered in South Carolina, you must maintain minimum levels of auto insurance on it. You are required to certify that you have car insurance when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, and you must give the name of your insurance company when applying for or renewing your vehicle’s registration. The DMV then verifies coverage electronically.
The DMV is notified by your insurance company when you cancel your policy. If you’re not insured with another company when they find out, you may get a letter requiring your new insurance company verify your coverage within 20 days. If the DMV doesn’t get that verification within 20 days, your driver’s license, license plate, and registration will be suspended.
You’re also required to maintain proof of insurance coverage when driving and must provide proof of coverage to an officer if requested. If you’re pulled over and cannot provide proof of insurance to the officer, you will likely get a ticket and will have 30 days to provide proof of insurance if you do have it. You could also have your driver’s license, license plate, and registration suspended.
To have your license and registration reinstated, you will need to provide proof of coverage and pay an uninsured motorist fee of $550 plus a $5 per day fee (up to $200) for each day the vehicle was uninsured. (If you know in advance you will have a lapse in coverage and you don’t plan to drive, you can avoid these fees by first canceling your registration and turning in your license plate to the DMV.) You may also need to have your insurance company provide proof of insurance to the DMV for three years following the suspension.
Remember that you cannot drive without a valid driver’s license. Read about the consequences of driving without a valid license in South Carolina here on our blog.
Other Risks When Driving Without Insurance
There are other potential consequences to not maintaining auto insurance in South Carolina. If you’re the at-fault driver in a traffic accident and you have no insurance, you could be putting your personal assets like your home and your savings at risk if the injured driver decides to sue you. (The injured driver could alternatively file an uninsured motorist claim with their insurance company.) You could end up going to court and having a judgment placed against you if you don’t reach a settlement first.
Finally, not carrying coverage for even a short period of time can cause your rates to go up when you do shop around for car insurance again, as drivers who have gaps in coverage tend to file more claims. You get the best rate by maintaining continuous coverage.
Call The Carolina Law Group
If you’ve been in a car accident, call today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with the personal injury attorneys at The Carolina Law Group.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in upstate South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.757.5555). Call today.