What Happens If You Drive Without Insurance in North Carolina

driving-without-insurance-North Carolina

A good Charlotte car accident lawyer can help you recover compensation in the event of a car crash. But that is typically possible only when you meet the auto insurance requirements of the state.

Every state has its own auto insurance requirements. North Carolina has a number of laws that govern the operation of vehicles on state roads. You must meet the minimum requirements set forth in these laws to legally operate a vehicle on state roads. If you fail to carry the requisite insurance coverage, you may face various penalties.

Worse still, if you run into an accident and suffer losses, your losses may not be covered as an uninsured driver. You will consequently be unable to recover any compensation whatsoever.

Here’s a look at the minimum auto insurance requirements when you are driving in North Carolina, and the penalties for failure to meet them.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in North Carolina

The minimum auto insurance requirements for the drivers operating in the state of North Carolina are articulated in the North Carolina Motor Vehicle Safety and Financial Responsibility Act. As per the laws specified in this Act, you must carry a minimum auto insurance coverage of:

  •  $30,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $60,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage

In addition, you can also choose to carry underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. Any auto insurance policy you purchase includes this coverage by default, but it is optional. However, you have to put it in writing that you wish to opt-out of it. If you choose to include this coverage in your auto insurance, you must carry minimum coverage of $25,000 for property damage. For bodily injuries caused by an uninsured motorist, the minimum legal requirements are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Driving without insurance is a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. If you are operating a vehicle without insurance, there are two main ways the authorities become aware of this. If you previously had auto insurance but it has lapsed, your insurance company is legally obliged to inform the DMV about it.

Alternatively, you may be stopped by a law enforcement officer. The officer will typically ask to seek your insurance during such a stop. When you fail to produce valid proof of insurance, the officer will notify the DMV. The DMV will then get in touch with you and give you a chance to prove that you have insurance.

Notice from the DMV

When the DMV is informed that you don’t carry insurance, you are sent the Form FS 5-7. This form basically asks you to provide evidence if you have auto insurance or if you have purchased a new policy. If you fail to respond to this notice from the DMV within 10 days, the penalties are imposed.

The severity of these penalties varies, depending on the number of times you are apprehended while driving without insurance. Here is a look at these.

First Offense

When you are caught driving without a license for the first time, the penalties include a $50 fine and your registration is suspended for 30 days. In addition, you must undergo probation for 1 to 45 days. You must also pay a $50 reinstatement fee at the end of the suspension period.

Second Offense

The penalties for driving without insurance second offense are slightly stiffer. You pay a fine of $100 for a second offense. At the same time, you also face potential jail time or probation for 1 to 45 days. The registration suspension period is 30 days and you pay a $50 reinstatement fee.

Third Offense

For a third or subsequent offenses, the amount of fine is raised to $150 per license. As with the second offense, you face jail time or probation of 1 to 45 days, and your registration is suspended for 30 days.

Hiring a Reliable Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

If you have suffered a car accident in Atlanta, we can help you. You may be entitled to damages in such an accident but there are factors that can complicate things for you. For instance, if you don’t carry insurance or if the other driver was uninsured, recovering compensation may not be very easy. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we have extensive experience in helping car crash victims seeking a fair settlement. Call us today for a free consultation with our lawyers and see if you qualify for damages.