Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance In Massachusetts
The penalties for driving without proper insurance coverage in Massachusetts are set out in Chapter 90, Section 34J of the General Laws of the Commonwealth. It can be painful to read so here is a quick summary. Drivers who are caught operating a motor vehicle in Massachusetts without the mandated minimum coverage face a number of fines and penalties, chief among them:
- First Offense: License suspension of 60 days; fine of not more than $500; additional payment of either $500 or one year's payment for car insurance for the highest rated territory and class or risk in effect at the time of the commission of the offense, whichever is greater. Proceeds for this additional payment are used to defray the costs of collection and plan expenses for preventing car insurance fraud and arson.
- Second and Subsequent Convictions (within six years of a prior offense): License suspension of one year; fine of $500 to $5,000, or imprisonment of up to one year in a Massachusetts house of correction, or both; additional $500 payment to risk plan, as described above.
The penalties described here are, of course, only those mandated by law. If you end up in an accident that is your fault and causes serious injuries and property damage, and you have no insurance, the "penalties" you will likely pay in the form of civil damages will make the legal ones pale in comparison.
Being Held Personally Liable
Sure being pulled over and ticketed for driving without proof of car insurance is a pain, but consider being caught driving without car insurance at the scene of an accident. You could be held personally liable. Which means you are responsible for paying out of pocket for physical damage to not only your vehicle but the the other party's physical damage and injury.
The cost would overwhelm most anyone. Do yourself a big favor and don't drive without car insurance.
Massachusetts requires a minimum coverage of 20,000/40,000/5,000 liability limits. It is recommended you carry limits of 100,000/300,000/100,000 by both insurance agents and insurance carriers. It is important to have enough coverage to protect you in case of a severe accident.
Only purchasing the state minimum coverage may not be enough to keep you from being held personally liable.