What happens if you total your car with no insurance?

What happens when your car is totaled if you still owe on a loan and have no insurance? You’ll need to pay all costs out-of-pocket if you total a car without insurance. Learn about those costs below.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 26, 2022

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Things to remember...

  • A car crash without insurance means that you will be responsible for the whole cost of your vehicle’s repairs and the other driver’s medical expenses and damages
  • A totaled (total loss) car is a vehicle that is so damaged that the cost to repair would exceed the full value of the car
  • If your car is totaled and you still owe on a loan and have no insurance, you’ll have to keep repaying the loan amount

What happens when your car is totaled if you still owe on a loan and have no insurance? If you don’t have any auto insurance, got into an accident, and totaled your car, you’re legally liable to pay 100% of all the expenses related to the accident. But what do these expenses entail?

From repairing or even replacing the vehicles involved to medical bills, let’s look at some of the most prominent costs you’re most likely going to have to cover. 

If your car’s been totaled with no insurance— or if you’re worried about this happening— you need to find cheap auto insurance coverage. No matter what your situation, the best way to save money is to shop around. Enter your ZIP code above to get multiple quotes for insurers in your area.

What happens if you total a car without insurance? 

If you don’t have insurance and are involved in an accident where your car is damaged beyond repair, you will be responsible for all of the costs related to the accident. Take a look at what that might include.

Car Repairs and Replacement

Uninsured drivers with no insurance will have no recourse to replace their vehicle if it’s damaged too much to be repaired. If your vehicle was financed, you’ll still be held responsible for paying off the rest of the loan. Moreover, if you’ve collided with another vehicle, you’ll have to bear the cost of its repair or replacement. Finally, you’ll also be held liable if you cause damage to someone else’s property, be it a fence or a building wall.

Medical Costs

An injured person might sue for medical expenses if you caused the accident. Likewise, not purchasing auto insurance coverage might lead to a lawsuit that would put your possessions and resources in jeopardy.

A “financial responsibility” rule is a requirement in every state. For example, if you or someone else driving your automobile causes an accident, you must be able to cover the costs. A state bond, which may cost upwards of $50,000, is one less-than-practical approach to meet financial responsibilities if you can’t afford auto insurance

On the other hand, car insurance is the quickest and most cost-effective method to meet your financial responsibilities.

Jail Time

You may go to prison for a totaled car if you do not have insurance. The majority of states do not impose prison time on first-time offenders, but a small minority do. For example, it is possible to spend up to one year in prison in Michigan if you drive an uninsured vehicle, enable someone else to drive your uninsured car, or drive a vehicle that does not have no-fault insurance. 

The table below shows just how many people are driving around while uninsured, according to data collected by the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Uninsured Drivers by State (% and Rank)
Florida (3)26.70%1
New Mexico20.80%3
Rhode Island15.20%13
New Jersey14.90%14
West Virginia10.10%32
New Hampshire9.90%35
South Carolina9.40%37
South Dakota7.70%42
North Dakota6.80%45
North Carolina6.50%48
New York6.10%50
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There are a lot of drivers who don’t have auto insurance on the roads. The III estimates one in every eight drivers in the U.S. is uninsured.

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The Repercussions If You Total a Car Without Insurance

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, every state in the United States except New Hampshire mandates motor liability insurance. Therefore, you may lawfully drive without insurance if you can establish that you meet New Hampshire’s alternative financial responsibility criteria. However, according to recent studies, 12.3% of drivers are uninsured despite these laws.

So even if you don’t get into an accident or damage your vehicle, driving without insurance may still get you in hot water with the law if you’re caught. The following are some of the possible outcomes.

Hefty Fines and License Suspension

There is a fine range of $100 to $1,500 for driving without insurance, depending on the state. Moreover, if you don’t have auto insurance in certain places, your license might be suspended until you do. The suspension might be more severe in other states. For example, you might lose your license for up to a year in New York if you don’t have vehicle insurance and get into an accident.

Vehicle Registration Suspension or Impoundment

You can lose your vehicle registration if you do not have auto insurance. For example, Massachusetts will stop your car’s registration until you provide evidence of insurance. Likewise, it may be seized if you’re driving without insurance in California.

Higher Auto Insurance Rates

You’ll have a “coverage gap” if you drive without insurance. In addition, you’ll have to pay more for insurance if you have a lapse in your coverage since insurers regard you as a higher risk.

The table below shows how auto insurance rates increase after a lapse in coverage.

Six-Month Auto Insurance Rate Increases After Lapse in Coverage
CompaniesRates with No Coverage LapseRate After Coverage LapesRate Increase
Liberty Mutual$696.00$810.0016.38%
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As long as you keep in touch with your insurer, it shouldn’t become an issue.

Safeguard Yourself and Your Car With Auto Insurance

If you own a vehicle but do not have auto insurance, you should get it quickly. You may also want to consider purchasing uninsured motorist coverage to safeguard your investment in the event of a collision with an uninsured car. Shop around and get the lowest auto insurance company costs available from several insurance providers to get the most outstanding coverage and pricing for your budget.

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