Fayetteville drivers — as well as every other driver in the U.S. — must purchase auto insurance in order to legally drive on our North Carolina roads. However, some states allow drivers to legally drive without auto insurance under certain circumstances. Although this option may seem appealing to those who would like to save money by not having to pay for insurance, this practice may result in costlier consequences for motorists.
In some states including South Carolina, the uninsured/underinsured drivers can still drive legally by paying a $500 annual fee to drive uninsured. This works fine if a driver is never involved in an accident. But if the uninsured driver does get involved in a minor fender-bender or serious crash, the driver is responsible for paying for any damages and injuries out of his or her own pocket. Anyone who has been involved in a car accident knows that damages can easily add up to thousands of dollars, even in accidents that do not result in injuries.
If an uninsured driver does seriously injure someone else in an accident, the driver could prevent that individual from being able to recover the compensation he or she may need in order to pay for medical expenses, long-term care or lost wages because the uninsured motorist fee offers absolutely no insurance coverage.
Although $500 may seem like a small annual fee to pay compared to what one might pay on a monthly basis for full coverage insurance premiums, some insurance policies may actually be cheaper than that. Uninsured drivers might argue that they don’t need to pay for insurance because they are safe drivers and have never been in an accident, but accidents do happen, and they happen every day under a variety of circumstances.
One state that offers the uninsured driver fee has several requirements, including: everyone in the household that drives must have had a driver’s license for at least three years. The drivers’ driving records must also be free of certain violations for at least three years such as failing to stop for a bus, reckless driving, disobeying traffic signals, vehicle theft, racing, reckless assault or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In addition to having to pay for damages out of one’s pocket if a person opts for the uninsured driver’s fee instead of insurance, a driver may have a hard time getting affordable insurance at a later date if companies notice that the individual was not previously covered.
Source: Fox Business, “Pay $500 and Drive Uninsured — Legally,” Aaron Crowe, Feb. 29, 2012