Cars are expensive. They cost a lot to buy, a lot to register, a lot to fix, a lot to maintain. And then there’s the real problem – the insurance. Especially for a younger driver, or people with speeding tickets or accidents on their records, insurance often costs more than the other regular expenses combined. If we feel like we’re good drivers, it can be very tempting to tell ourselves that we don’t need liability insurance. After all, why would you pay so much every month to protect yourself against something that you’re so sure will never, ever happen?

The answer is simple; compulsory insurance laws. Many states require you to have liability insurance – that is, coverage for if you damage someone else’s body or property – in order to register your car or keep your license active. Given the benefits, insurance is hardly objectionable as a concept – as long as you can afford it. You get peace of mind and protection just in case the unthinkable happens.

Imagine that you have done the “right thing” and you obtain the state-required insurance. You and your registered, fully insured car are living your lives, running errands, going to school, whatever you do. Then, BOOM. Literally. You’re hit from behind while sitting at a stop light (because you stop for red lights). You’re hurt and your car is scrunched like an accordion. In most cases, you would make an insurance claim so that you can be compensated for your injuries and the damage to your car. Eventually, you’ll settle with the other driver’s insurance company or you’ll end up going to court. Either way, in most cases you will be compensated for your loss through someone’s insurance.

Imagine, though, that you get the information about the other driver and find out that they have no insurance. Absent some kind of mistake with payment, it seems inconceivable that anyone would take the risk of hurting someone and not being able to compensate them. Even from a cost-analysis standpoint, isn’t the potential exposure of an at-fault accident worse than a regular, comparatively cheaper insurance premium? You would think so. But even when it might mean that your registration or even your license is at risk, there are some people who just won’t do it.

Even worse than the risk that those who must have insurance will ignore the law, there is one state – New Hampshire – where until you have an accident or certain driving violations, you don’t even have to have insurance at all. So if you take your properly and wisely insured car to the Granite State, you’d better be at your defensive-driving best. That at-fault driver is still technically responsible for your damages, but unless he has thousands of dollars stashed away to pay you, that determination of fault isn’t going to do you much good.

No matter what state you live in or what kind of driving record you have, the best advice is to be smart and be responsible. Accidents happen, as they say, and you don’t want to find yourself on either side of an uninsured event.

 

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