Your driver’s license can be suspended if you are caught driving without any auto insurance. In Georgia, you are required to maintain minimum insurance coverage continuously – no gaps or lapses.
If you are pulled over, you could face misdemeanor charges that will go on your permanent record, as well as other fines and penalties. You can also face high out-of-pocket expenses if you are in an accident.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
As highlighted by the Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire, Georgia requires that each motorist carry coverage that at least offers:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per incident
- $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per incident
Failing to carry this minimum amount of coverage could result in a variety of consequences. In addition to the misdemeanor charges, you could face:
- License suspension for 60 to 90 days
- Fines ranging from $25 to $1,000
- Loss of vehicle registration
How long you lose certain privileges and how much you are required to pay depends on the circumstances. For instance, a mere lapse in coverage if you forgot to renew your insurance will likely result in lower fines. If you have gone 10 consecutive days without coverage, you are charged $25. However, if you could be charged $160 for going 30 consecutive days without coverage, according to the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR).
Higher fines come into play if you are pulled over while driving without insurance. If you are convicted of the misdemeanor charge, you could be required to pay anywhere from $200 to $1,000 under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10. That’s in addition to possibly facing the consequences for the infraction that led to the traffic stop in the first place.
Your Options for Transportation Might be Limited
On top of these payments, having your license suspended and losing your vehicle registration will also cost you money and time. You will have to take public transportation or rideshares or find rides from friends or family.
Plus, restoring your license carries its own expenses. For a first offense, it’s $200-$210. For a second offense within a five-year period, you could pay $300-$310 to get your license back O.C.G.A. § 40-5-70.
Is there a Grace Period for Lapses in Coverage?
Even though Georgia law does require continuous, uninterrupted coverage, sometimes gaps do happen. As a result, there is a brief grace period during which time you can renew your insurance coverage.
You have 30 days to obtain new insurance coverage. If you fail to do so in time, you can face some of the same penalties as someone who foregoes insurance entirely. These could include a $25 fee and having your license suspended.
The Additional Risks of Driving Without Insurance
Having your license suspended for not having insurance, as well as the other penalties, may be your main concern. However, lack of insurance can have other repercussions as well. If you are in a car accident, you will face consequences for lacking insurance. You also may have to pay for your accident-related expenses.
If the other driver was at fault, you could recoup your losses through the other driver’s insurance or by filing a personal injury lawsuit. These actions require proving that the other driver was somehow negligent. You will also have to show that they behaved in a way that caused your injuries.
Common grounds are drunk driving, running red lights, or tailgating. However, you may have to pay initially and receive reimbursement later. Even worse is if you are at fault for the crash. In that case, you could be on the hook for the other driver’s accident losses as well as your own.
Costs You May Face After a Crash
The more severe an injury, the more money there is required for treatment. When crashes cause permanent disability, the negligent party can be liable for lifelong expenses. If you were responsible for the accident, the other party might pursue non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish from you.
Consequently, if you choose to drive without auto insurance in Georgia, you’re looking at a list of possible expenses that includes:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Other non-economic damages
- Lack of coverage fines
- Transportation costs
- License reinstatement fees
Auto insurance is required by law to protect everyone from stiff financial consequences. Injured parties can receive payment for their treatment while at-fault drivers are protected from having to pay out of pocket.
Be Informed and Get Covered to Avoid the Penalties
Yes, you can have your license suspended for driving with no insurance in Georgia. More than that, though, you could face criminal charges as well as serious financial liability.
If you have any questions about the consequences of driving without insurance, call Kaine Law today for a free consultation at (404) 214-2001.