Auto Insurance Basics

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Louisiana

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Like other states, auto insurance is a prerequisite to drive in Louisiana. What make Louisiana unique, however, are the penalties it has in effect for driving uninsured. Aside from fines, license confiscation, registration suspension, and vehicle impoundment. More importantly, if a motorist is found uninsured in a road accident, he is prevented from recovering 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 PenaltyFirst OffenseSecond OffenseThird and Subsequent Offenses
Fine Not more than $100 Not more than $250 Not more than $700
Driving Privilege Suspension Registration and license plates, vehicle impoundment Registration and license plates, vehicle impoundment Registration and license plates, vehicle impoundment
Insurance claims Barred from claiming for losses in collision accidents Barred from claiming for losses in collision accidents Barred from claiming for losses in collision accidents
Reinstatement Fees $50 reinstatement + $10 reinstatement administration $150 reinstatement + $10 reinstatement administration $500 reinstatement + $10 reinstatement administration 
Other 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 for 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 does subject you to severe penalties and financial loss.

First Offense

In Louisiana, when you’re caught driving without insurance for the first time, 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 for you to collect your insurance papers to present it to the Office of Motor Vehicles. If you don't make your policy available before the three days are up, your insurer can file an SR-22 on your behalf stating that you do have liability coverage and will maintain it for a specific period of time. Only then will your license plates and car be released. Missing the 3-day lead time means you will have to pay up to a $100 fine, the $60 reinstatement fee, and the vehicle storage and wreckage fees before your driving privileges can be restored.

Second Offense

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 up to a $250 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

Needless to say, 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. The same extra 3 days to furnish the OMV with a valid proof of insurance will still be required. This time around, the inability to comply will mean up to $700 in violation fines, $510 in reinstatement fees, and additional expenses in impoundment charges. 

Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play Law

But the most exacting ordeal you can possibly experience when driving uninsured in Louisiana is when you find 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 simply 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 fact that you will still have to face fines and penalties for driving without insurance.

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 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.

Sources:
Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles: vehicle registration insurance requirements
Louisiana State Legislature: failure to comply with compulsory liability security

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