How to Report a Driver With No Insurance

Reporting someone without insurance to the police usually won't do much good. Unless there is an imminent threat or there has been an accident, it's not a very pressing issue to them.

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UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 4, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • There isn’t much you can do effectively to report an uninsured driver
  • If they cause an accident they can be sued
  • Getting uninsured motorist coverage on your policy will protect you from those who drive uninsured

How do you report an uninsured car anonymously? You can report someone driving without car insurance to the police, but that may not do very much good. Unless there is an imminent threat to public safety, the police have more pressing issues to deal with than this.

You can contact your local DMV (department of motor vehicles) to find out the procedure, but again, most DMVs have some sort of internal system to check or notify motorists about having a lapse in coverage or no insurance.

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So, although your state may have hotlines, processes, or other departments to contact in the case of an uninsured driver, it most likely already knows that this individual does not have insurance.

This is due to the fact that once he purchased his vehicle, he was supposed to prove insurance for it. If this was not done, the DMV’s database would show this deficit in coverage by the motorist.

What happens if someone doesn’t have car insurance? If someone doesn’t have car insurance and they cause an accident, they can be sued for damages. In a no-fault state, you can sue for damages above and beyond what your insurance policy covers.

Is it worth it to report a motorist without car insurance?

It is indeed frustrating for those who pay their car insurance premiums regularly to hear that in some states over 25 percent of the motorists are uninsured. So you may wonder if reporting this to the authorities is really going to make a difference.

The unfortunate answer is no. And due to the rise in uninsured motorists on the road, many states have, in recent years, required all motorists to have some form of uninsured or non-insured vehicle insurance coverage.

The same thinking goes into partly why some states are no-fault car insurance states when it comes to auto insurance.

Being a “no-fault” insurance state doesn’t mean if you get into an accident that it’s never your fault; it simply means that if you get into an accident that you don’t need to wait to prove if your accident was your fault or not.

Your insurance company will cover your damages and medical bills up to the amount you are insured for.

Moreover, in a no-fault state, it is pretty difficult to sue someone who is at fault for the accident. The ramifications for the “at-fault” driver, depending on the situation, is usually a higher premium for being responsible for the accident.

By law, in many states, once the insurance provider sees that a driver has not renewed his insurance, he needs to inform the state of this.

Also, DMVs send out letters and notifications to drivers once their systems let them know that a person’s insurance has lapsed.

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Why do I have to be responsible while others seem to ignore having car insurance?

Because we live in a civil society, most of us do the right thing. And while money is tight sometimes, and it seems like it would be easier to just save that car insurance premium money for a more pressing issue, you know that this isn’t the right thing to do.

  • First off, having the peace of mind that you are covered if you are in an accident is a good thing. Being uninsured is just a weight on your shoulders and causes you undue stress every time you turn the key to start your car.
  • Secondly, without car insurance what would you do if your car were totaled or, worse, if you were in the hospital for a serious injury? The amount of money to replace a car or to cover hospital bills can seem insurmountable at times.
  • Lastly, as an adult you should be responsible for your actions or future actions. Having car insurance is a responsible thing to do. If an accident is your fault, you want to at least be able to cover the damages and injuries to the other party.

I read somewhere you don’t need car insurance to drive, is this true?

Yes and no. While not all states require you have car insurance, you do need to have proof of financial responsibility.

What’s that? Simply, it means that if you were to get into an accident you have the ability to pay for any judgments against you related to car damages and/or bodily injuries for the other party who was not at fault. This can be done in four ways:

  • Simply by purchasing car insurance and getting at least the minimum coverage required by your state.
  • Having a certain amount of money in a surety or real estate bond – usually around $50,000 – $60,000.
  • Actually depositing a stipulated amount to the DMV or a state agency which holds this money for you in the case of a judgment (roughly $40,000).
  • Having a self-insured certificate. This certificate can be obtained when several vehicles (usually 26 or more) are owned by you (or a company) and you can prove your net worth to be a certain amount (usually in the millions) and your assets to be usually in the tens of millions of dollars.

Shouldn’t the state already know that someone is driving without car insurance?

While every state has a system in place to catch uninsured drivers, they aren’t perfect. Some states have gone to a completely computerized system that allows them to be notified if a driver has allowed his insurance to lapse immediately.

In many states, however, their system isn’t computerized and it can take up to 90 days for any action to be taken.

How the system works is this: When you register a vehicle, you must provide proof of insurance. The insurance company from which you buy your insurance provides you with that proof and you present that information to the appropriate department for your state.

If, however, the insurance provider lets your policy lapse for non-payment or you cancel your policy, the insurance company informs the DMV, registration office, or insurance department, whichever is appropriate.

If you live in a state that has everything set up electronically, then this information is forwarded immediately. If not, then the insurance company sends out a letter.

When the system isn’t computerized, it can take up to ten days for a letter to be sent out. Then, an actual person has to open that letter and input the information into the computer.

At that time, a letter is generated by the computer letting the person with the lapsed insurance know that they have a certain number of days to provide proof of insurance.

While the computerized set-up takes less amount of time, it can still take up to 30 days for them to notify someone of their non-compliance with insurance laws. What’s more, no one is going to come to their home and force them to go buy insurance or arrest them.

So although there are those out there who forego insurance coverage, let’s not have you be one of them. Compare the car insurance quotes of many prominent insurance providers by typing in your ZIP code now!

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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