Auto Insurance Basics

Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Alabama

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According to the Alabama Insurance Code Section 32-7A-4, driving without insurance within the state is a Mandatory Liability Insurance Act (MLI) violation. It’s considered a misdemeanor and therefore, punishable by law. If your conviction is final, the consequences can range from fines of $500 to $1,000, imprisonment from 3 months to 6 months, and license and registration suspension for up to half a year. The severity of the penalty depends largely on the number of MLI offenses you have committed against the State. An outline can be viewed below. 

Type of PenaltyFirst OffenseSecond and Subsequent Offense
Fine Up to $500 Up to $1,000 or up to $3,000 as a Class B misdemeanor
Imprisonment Not more than 3 months Not more than 6 months
Driving Privilege NA Suspension of license for 6 months
Vehicle Registration Suspension of registration for 45 days Suspension of registration for 4 months
Other Vehicle impoundment Vehicle impoundment
Reinstatement Requirements $200 registration reinstatement fee; and demonstration of proof of insurance for 1 year after reinstatement $400 registration reinstatement fee; and SR-22 for 3 years after reinstatement

Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Alabama

In Alabama, whether you find yourself involved in a traffic accident or halted by authorities for a minor infraction such as speeding, you will need to be able to show proof of financial security at all times. This is the State’s way of protecting its people and ensuring all motorists stay responsible. If you are unable to produce a physical or electronic policy, you will be required to file an SR-22. The SR-22 is not an insurance document, but a certificate that guarantees that you will maintain the minimum liability bond required by law for the next 3 years. After which, you may choose to renew, or apply for a policy from an insurance agency.

The Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division requires drivers to have auto insurance with the following levels of coverage:

First Offense

The first time you are caught driving without insurance, the Court will not be in any way lenient with you. First Offense is termed a Class C Misdemeanor, which obliges you to pay up to a $500 fine and/or serve a jail term of not more than 3 months. Your registration will be suspended for 45 days or more. And, depending on the situation when you were caught uninsured, your vehicle may also be impounded. You are allowed to have your registration reinstated for $200 – provided that you can show proof of insurance for one year afterwards.

Second and Subsequent Offenses

The second time you are caught driving without insurance will prove to be more financially severe than the first. You will be fined a hefty $1,000. And, with the Second and Subsequent Offenses to the State’s MLI Act termed as a Class B Misdemeanor, you may even be charged as much as $3,000. On top of this, the penalty includes a jail sentence of not more than 6 months, the suspension of your registration for a mandatory 4 months, and the suspension of your license for 6 months. Depending on the gravity of your case, you will also suffer financial damages caused by your vehicle getting impounded. It will cost you $400 to have your registration reinstated. And in the course of doing so, you must demonstrate proof of insurance for 3 years after reinstatement.  

Re-applying for Auto Insurance in Alabama

Since owning Liability Coverage is the law in Alabama, the State guarantees all licensed drivers access to auto insurance. However, it also grants insurance companies the right to deny coverage to high-risk drivers. This will be an unfortunate situation for you if you have once been convicted of driving uninsured. This information will be reflected on your driving record, causing Alabama insurance providers to be wary of giving you financial protection.

This is how the State can help. If you are unable to find an insurance agency willing to provide you coverage, you can purchase your insurance through the Alabama Auto Insurance Plan (ALAIP).

Source:
Alabama Department of Revenue: Mandatory Insurance Manual
Alabama Liability Insurance Code (via FindLaw)

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