Can you Drive Legally Without Auto Insurance?

I’m here to tell you this morning that you don’t have to buy car insurance. Don’t faint, it’s, Okay. You can drive your car legally in California without having car insurance. But, you still have to comply with the financial responsibility laws. You can do that by going up to the DMV, and writing out a check for $35,000 and depositing it with them, or getting a bond for $35,000. That’s 30,000 for injuries that you might cause another person, 5000 for property damage. That takes care of your minimum liability requirements.

However, there are a lot of good reasons why you might not want to do that. For one thing you can buy higher limits to protect yourself, and to protect others if you have auto insurance. And it’s a lot cheaper than writing out a check for $35,000. You can put that money to more productive use. Also, if you’re involved in an accident, and you have only posted a bond. There’s no one there to take care of investigating the claim. To negotiate the claim on your behalf, and to protect you from a law suit if someone should sue you.

If you have insurance, your insurance does these things. They’ll hire an attorney to defend you, and they will pay damages up to the limits that you buy on your coverage. Also if you do this, if you do the bond, you won’t have any uninsured motorist coverage, and that’s what protects you for injuries caused to you by another person in an accident.

If they didn’t have the foresight to have insurance, you need good uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself. There’s no collision coverage involved in this, so if your car is damaged, if you run into somebody, or you run into a tree or something and your car is damaged. You’ve got to take care of it. It’s all up to you, there’s no insurance to take care of it.

There’s no comprehensive coverage. If your car is sitting in a parking lot and a tree falls on it and crushes it. There’s no comprehensive coverage to take care of that if you’ve just posted a bond. And it does not limit your liability just because you’ve posted a bond for this amount a money doesn’t mean that’s getting you off the hook.

If you cause 100,000 or $500,000 worth of damage to somebody, you can’t just tell the to talk to the DMV and walk away. You’re still responsible for the full amount of damage that you caused. If you have auto insurance you can protect yourself for 100,000 or $500,000 so you don’t have to worry about that. If you’re involved in a significant accident, you have to notify the DMV. You do that on a form that’s called an SR1.

If anyone is hurt in an accident, or if there’s more than $750 in damage, you must notify the DMV. Now, if the other party involved in the accident tells the DMV about it, and you don’t. You’re going to get a warning letter. They’re going to tell you, give us proof of your insurance or a bond, or cash that you posted or your license will be suspended for a year. Now that’s not a very pleasant thing to happen.

If you do have your license suspended, you can often get a limited driving permit, but you’re going to need to provide SR22 insurance which can be expensive, and show them that you do have coverage, and it’s limited. It means you can only go back and forth to work with that driving permit. You can’t just use it for everyday use.

There are civil consequences for not complying with the financial responsibility law. If you’re injured in an accident, and it’s not your fault. Someone else causes it, the damages that you can claim are limited. You can claim damages from the accident, but, only for your economic losses. These are your out of pocket expenses, your medical expenses, your loss of earnings, things of that type. You will not be able to collect what we call non economic damages for pain and suffering. Disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, things that are often the largest part of an injury claim.

If you caused an accident, and you were uninsured, you can be sued for property damage, and injuries. You might get sued by the person you harmed. Or if they had uninsured motorist coverage and collision coverage you might be sued by their insurance company. If they had the foresight to get this coverage, and money was paid out, their insurance company will come after you. That sounds like a lot of fun.

If you’re not insured, you’ll have to negotiate a settlement or defend the case in court on your own. Now what if you’re an unlicensed driver. Every now and then someone comes to me with a case, and they say, well the other driver didn’t even have a license. Well, can you buy auto insurance if you’re not licensed? Sure, if you own a car in California, even if you don’t have a license, you can buy insurance for it. That doesn’t mean you can that you can legally drive it. But you can buy insurance for it. If you’re involved in an accident, and you don’t have a license. It doesn’t mean that the accident is your fault. And it doesn’t mean you can’t collect damages for your injuries.

However, if you’re uninsured, of course you have the same limitations as anyone else in collecting your pain and suffering damages. There are some other consequences for driving without a license. Your car could be impounded. You don’t want to have that situation happen.

In summary, I think you should buy auto insurance. I think you should protect your assets, and you should protect yourself from other people who don’t have insurance, or don’t have enough insurance. Go see Eric Evans. Have him take a look at your policy, find out what you’ve got, and get the coverage that’s most appropriate for your needs.

Now why do I care. Too many times I’ve seen tragic accidents where peoples lives have been turned upside down. And if there’s not sufficient coverage, there’s not enough resources to put them back together. Are there any questions? Yes, Dr. [Tran].

Dr. Tran: When your drivers license says restriction, corrective lenses on it. What’s the ramifications if you get pulled over? I always tell (?) get your car impounded (?) put you in jail for about a day or two. Is that true?

That’s what I’ve been told before restriction on your license, because (?) LAPD. They said yeah, partly they don’t like it when you run them over, so if it says it on there, there is a legal ramification that usually they will impound your car.

Don: If you have a restriction on your license that you have to wear corrective lenses, I doubt police would find probable cause to pull you over if a person is driving without glasses.

Dr. Tran: But if you get pulled over for what ever reason, they look at that, and you don’t have corrective lenses on, I thought the ramifications are they can impound your car immediately.

Don: That could be, I have no idea.

Don: Thank you.

If you need a Personal Injury Attorney anywhere in Orange County, California call Don Sjaarda!

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