Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Lower thresholds of minimum liability coverage are usually not expensive and better policies might be found through comparison shopping
  • Driving without insurance could lead to civil and criminal penalties
  • Certain states provide auto insurance assistance programs to those with low-income

People rely on their cars to get to work. A vehicle also handles important tasks associated with caring for a family. Those with modest incomes might find some of the expenses associated with owning a car to be difficult.

Car insurance payments might create a major strain on a budget.

Going without insurance, even in a state in which driving without insurance is legal, is a very bad idea. In 48 U.S. states, driving without insurance is not an option.

The law requires maintaining adequate insurance coverage.

Options do exist for someone who has very little money to spend on a policy. Examining the state minimum insurance requirements and also performing comparison shopping could assist those with little money get the greatest value for the dollars they are spending.

Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool above to get started finding the best insurance company for you!

Liability and Minimum Coverage

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Liability insurance may be the most important insurance to purchase. This type of insurance coverage protects a driver from being liable for the injuries or even wrongful death of another person when the driver is at-fault for a tragic accident.

Each state has its own minimum coverage amount. In the state of Indiana, the minimum coverage is $25,000/$50,000. This number means the insurance company will cover the cost of injuries up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 total per accident.

The insurance threshold, while better than nothing, isn’t very much.

Finding a good rate on a particular state’s minimum amount is not difficult. Online venues are available for performing a decent amount of comparison shopping. Low rates are likely easy to find when doing the right amount of comparison shopping.

And buying the minimum amount, while problematic in some ways, is better than driving uninsured.

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Acquiring the Minimum Amount of Coverage

The less insurance one has, the less the cost of the policy will be. Of course, the less insurance one chooses to purchase, the less liability coverage ends up being in place.

Anyone who is at-fault for an accident is sure to be sued for injuries. Liability coverage protects both parties.

  • The person who was injured has a good chance of receiving a settlement.
  • The person who causes the accident ends up having insurance in place to protect him/herself financially.

Of course, the possibility exists of being sued in excess of the amount of insurance on the policy. Low-income drivers should not believe no one will sue them. The litigant could seek to procure wages and assets over many years.

And who knows what the future brings? A person with low-income today could find his or her financial situation improving immensely in the future. It would be horrible to find a change in fortune compromised by a civil judgment.

Civil problems are not the only thing to worry about.

Driving Uninsured and Criminal Matters

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Driving without insurance is a very bad idea for a number of reasons. Breaking the state’s laws would be one obvious reason. The troubles associated with driving without insurance can be significant.

In the state of Pennsylvania, the costs associated with allowing insurance coverage to lapse are significant are significant. In addition to a fine, the car’s registration ends up being suspended.

Paying a civil penalty can waive the suspension, but this waiver is only allowed once every 12 months. And no one is factoring traffic lawyer costs here. For those costs, a truly solid policy could have been purchased.

And these penalties only refer to civil penalties associated with allowing the vehicle’s insurance to lapse and not driving it.

Anyone who drives without insurance could face criminal charges.

Driving without car insurance is a misdemeanor. In Connecticut, a driver with a commercial license who lacks insurance could be charged with a felony.

A driver who is pulled over for a minor traffic violation is required to show proof of insurance. Once it is discovered that the person pulled over does not have insurance, he or she will likely be arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving without insurance.

Yes, driving without insurance might lead to a criminal record and more legal costs.

Low-Income Driver Options

Depending on the state the driver lives in, there may be a special low-income car insurance program available through the state. California, Hawaii, and New Jersey are three such states with programs of this nature.

Basically, the way these low-income programs work is they help those in a tough financial situation expand their insurance coverage options.

  • In California, income-eligible drivers could purchase low-cost medical and uninsured motorist coverage through a state program. The drivers must already have state minimum liability insurance in place.
  • In New Jersey, the Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP) program is available to persons who are eligible for Federal Medicaid. The low-cost annual policy covers a driver’s emergency medical care after an accident upwards of $250,000.

Drivers should check their local regulations to see if any special deals are available.

Regardless of one’s income or personal finances, it is always best to review as many policies as possible in order to locate the best deal. Getting a good deal on auto insurance is not as elusive as some would believe.

Simply checking out a number of quotes could reveal a host of outstanding deals. Compare quotes today by entering your zip code below.