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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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

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 Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • Most states in the U.S. now make electronic verification of your car insurance coverage status possible through your DMV
  • In some states, a police officer will be able to tell if you are insured or not before they even pull you over and ask for your driver’s license, registration and insurance information
  • If you try to get around the insurance requirement by carrying a fake proof of insurance card, you could get in even more trouble for falsifying your proof of insurance and lying to a police officer
  • The penalties for not having the insurance you are required to carry when you are pulled over can be as severe as having your car impounded by the police
  • If you want to check to make sure that you are carrying the required amount of insurance, you can check your status with the DMV or call your local insurance agent

It never pays to try to drive without the required amount of auto insurance coverage.

Now, there are even more ways available to law enforcement officers for checking whether you have the required amount of auto insurance.

If you are not insured right now, act quickly to get the insurance required in your state so that you do not get penalized.

Enter your zip code above to get FREE car insurance quotes today!

How Police Can Verify Your Current Auto Insurance Status


Whenever you sign up for an auto insurance policy you get a proof of insurance card that lists the date through which your coverage is effective.

While it may be tempting to hang onto one of these insurance certification cards even if your coverage was canceled during that policy term, police have electronic ways that they can verify your insurance status now.

States now require that auto insurance companies submit information to a database on the insurance status of each of their policyholders.

By accessing the database with information on a particular driver, police can check out the real-time insurance status of any driver.

The police can then immediately issue a fine to any driver who does not have valid auto insurance coverage.

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Consequences of Not Having Valid Car Insurance

If you are fined for not having the proper car insurance coverage that you need in your state, you are potentially looking at a wide spectrum of penalties.

There will almost certainly be a violation on your driving record that indicates you did not have valid insurance.

In the future, this could mean that you have to pay more to get the legal amount of coverage.

In some states, you could even be arrested for not having adequate insurance coverage and serve up to one year in jail.

This is considered furnishing a counterfeit document to an official of the government and comes with a whole separate list of penalties.

Making Sure You Have the Legally Required Car Insurance


The best way to make sure that you are not in the frustrating situation of being pulled over without valid insurance is to prevent it from it happening to you in the first place.

There are so many options for getting the legally required car insurance in your state.

It does not take long at all to get quotes from multiple insurance companies, so you do not have to jump at the first company that offers you coverage.

Shopping around is the way that you can make sure you get the best deal for coverage and are presented with multiple options to research for auto insurance.

If you do not meet your responsibility to make payments for your car insurance policy, the insurer will simply drop your coverage.

The Final Word on Having Proper Auto Insurance and Police Verification

It is essential that you make sure your car insurance coverage status is up to date at all times.

You can be caught driving without valid insurance even without the police officer asking for your proof of insurance card.

This is because there are state databases that make electronic verification of your car insurance status very convenient for police officers.

There is no use hiding that you are not insured because the police will be able to check quickly. Enter your zip code below to get FREE car insurance quotes today!