Like other states, auto insurance is a prerequisite to drive in Louisiana. However, what makes Louisiana unique are the penalties it has in effect for driving with a lapsed insurance policy. Drivers may face fines, license confiscation, registration suspension and vehicle impoundment. More importantly, an uninsured motorist in an accident cannot recover damages from the other party even if he is not the one at fault unless the damage exceeded a certain amount (see No Pay, No Play).
Type of Penalty
Third and Subsequent Offenses
Louisiana DMV fees
|Between $500 and $1,000||Between $500 and $1,000||Between $500 and $1,000|
Driving Privilege Suspension
|Registration and license plates, vehicle impoundment||Registration and license plates, vehicle impoundment||Registration and license plates, vehicle impoundment|
|Barred from claiming for losses in collision accidents||Barred from claiming for losses in collision accidents||Barred from claiming for losses in collision accidents|
|$50 reinstatement + $10 reinstatement administration||$150 reinstatement + $10 reinstatement administration||$500 reinstatement + $10 reinstatement administration|
|Storage and wreckage fees for the impounded vehicle||Storage and wreckage fees for the impounded vehicle||Storage and wreckage fees for the impounded vehicle|
Penalties for driving uninsured in Louisiana
Whether you’re involved in a collision or not, your lack of coverage (minimum 15/30/25 liability limits) can still make a huge impact on your mobile lifestyle. When you get pulled over by a police officer for a minor road infraction or any other reason, you will still need to provide proof of insurance in the form of an ID card, your actual policy, an image of your policy or declaration page saved on your cell phone or a written statement from your insurer stating all the pertinent policy details.
Failure to do so will lead to harsh consequences. While driving uninsured in Louisiana is not a misdemeanor (and therefore does not result in imprisonment), it subjects you to severe penalties and financial loss.
When you’re caught driving without insurance for the first time in Louisiana, the police officer won’t hesitate to remove your license plates, suspend your registration, and have your vehicle impounded. He will give you a Temporary Vehicle Use Authorization sticker, which allows you to operate your car for three days — just enough time to collect your insurance papers to present it to the Office of Motor Vehicles.
Being caught driving uninsured for the second time will result in steeper financial damage. While you will still be given the same 3-day grace period to prepare your proof of insurance — be it your policy or your insurance company’s SR-22 filing — failure to submit within the allotted time will have you paying a fine, a $160 reinstatement fee, and the vehicle storage and wreckage fees before your license plates, registration and car can be returned to you.
Third and subsequent offenses
Your next insurance violations will come with the costliest consequences. When you’re caught driving without insurance for the third time or more, the immediate confiscation of your license plates, revocation of your registration and impoundment of your car will still apply.
Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play Law
The most exacting ordeal you can experience when driving uninsured in Louisiana is finding yourself involved in a road accident. Louisiana passed the No Pay, No Play Law, as specified in the Rev. Stat. 32:866, to impose financial responsibility upon its motorists. This law states that even if you are the victim, or not at fault, in an unfortunate traffic mishap, you won't get compensated by the other drivers' insurance company if you were driving uninsured — at least not till a threshold is met. The first $25,000 property damages and the first $15,000 personal injuries you suffered from the collision will have to be paid for by you out of pocket.
On the flip side, if you were actually at fault for the accident, you'd be on the hook for paying out the other driver's damages without an insurer to help. This is over and above the fines and penalties for driving without insurance that you still face.
Re-applying for auto insurance in Louisiana
Insurance violations not only mar your driving record but also your status as a driver. With you now labeled as a high-risk driver, you may have a hard time finding a company willing to sell you auto insurance in Louisiana in a voluntary market.
If you have shopped around and have been denied, the Louisiana Automobile Insurance Plan (LAIP) will assist you in purchasing liability coverage from agents who voluntarily participate in the plan.