Driving without evidence of financial responsibility is prohibited on the streets and highways of Vermont. Registered motorists who choose to drive uninsured are committing a traffic violation that could mean fines from $100 to $600 in total and license suspensions for an indefinite period. Another consequence of having insurance lapses on your record is that you may have a hard time finding cheap Vermont auto insurance as a high-risk driver.
Type of penalty
|Civil penalty||Less than $500|
|No proof of insurance||Less than $100|
|Driving privileges||License suspension until proof of insurance is provided|
|SR-22 maintenance||Three years|
Penalties for driving uninsured in Vermont
In Vermont, maintaining your financial responsibility is important if you want to maintain your driving privileges. This proves that you can be responsible and pay for any damages you cause to others in a car crash or other accident. If you want to continue driving freely on the roads of the state, you must purchase liability insurance with limits that are 25/50/10 or higher.
You must also be prepared to present proof of this financial responsibility when requested by traffic authorities at any given time. If you disregard this, the penalties can be severe. For your reference, we have outlined the three ways Vermont enforces its insurance laws and the penalties that come with violating them.
You're caught driving without insurance at a traffic stop
Vermont police officers are authorized to ask for your proof of financial responsibility at regular checkpoints or during periodic vehicle inspections. Proof of financial responsibility is usually in the form of an official insurance identification card provided by your carrier. If you do not have this ID in your possession at the time of the inspection, you will be charged a fine that's less than $100. Those who turn out to be driving uninsured — not just without the proof — will be punished with an additional civil penalty no greater than $500 for violating the liability insurance law.
You will be given a ticket and a notice that instructs you to come back to the same traffic stop with the appropriate proof of insurance within seven days. Failure to do so will earn you a license suspension. License suspensions in Vermont can only be lifted once you've shown proof of insurance that meets the state-required coverage.
You're caught driving without insurance during a moving violation
In addition to the monetary sentence mentioned above, harsher penalties will hit you when you're caught driving uninsured when you're pulled over for a moving violation.
When you've committed a traffic infraction such as speeding, law enforcement officials will ask to see your license as well as your proof of insurance. Failure to present evidence of liability coverage will result in a citation and a notice informing you that you have 20 days to submit valid and current proof of insurance to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you fail to meet this deadline, your driver's license will be suspended indefinitely until you return to the DMV with proof of financial responsibility.
You're caught driving uninsured in an accident
Your license can be revoked if you are found driving uninsured while in one of these more serious situations: involved in an accident, fleeing a collision, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving a car without the consent of the car's owner, driving while your license is suspended or when it has already been revoked, or driving in a reckless manner that results in the death of another person.
The penalties for violating Vermont's insurance law are more stringent if you are involved in a car crash, especially one that you caused. You will be charged the same monetary sentence mentioned above. You will also suffer a license suspension after a scheduled hearing in court if you cannot prove you were insured at the time of the accident. Your driving privileges will be shelved until you can provide valid proof of insurance and have satisfied all of the court's judgments.
Furthermore, Vermont is a "fault state" when it comes to financial responsibility for losses stemming from a car accident. In other words, the more you are at fault for the accident and damages, the more of the losses you need to shoulder. Without state-mandated auto insurance to cover you, the financial liability to compensate for the other party's injuries and damages must be paid out of pocket.
Reinstating driving privileges in Vermont
You can only get your driving privileges back when you've completed your suspension period — this happens when you have valid proof of insurance abiding by Vermont's required liability coverage minimums. You must also have your insurance company file an SR-22 for you. The SR-22 proves that you will maintain your auto insurance coverage for at least three years. After settling the $71 reinstatement fee, your driver's license can be reinstated.
It is important to note, however, that if your insurance law conviction involves a moving violation or an accident that you caused, the court may assess additional penalties that you must satisfy before you can earn your license back.
Reapplying for auto insurance in Vermont
When you've accumulated a record of traffic tickets and accidents, it will affect your driver classification and your chances of obtaining an auto insurance policy in the mainstream market. Insurance carriers will naturally find high-risk drivers too risky to cover. If you're faced with this kind of predicament, you can approach the Vermont Automobile Insurance Plan to acquire an insurance policy required by law.