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What Happens If I’m In A Traffic Accident Without Insurance?

What happens if I drive without auto insurance?  Like most states in the US, the California Legislature has enacted a series of laws designed to protect those persons who suffer injury, death or property damage as a result of a traffic accident.   Any person who owns or operates a motor vehicle in the State of California must maintain the ability to compensate another person for any injury, death or loss as a result of an incident involving the motor vehicle they own or operate.  When a person operates a motor vehicle in the State of California that is not properly insured, they run the risk of not being able to properly compensate another person for their pain, suffering and loss.

Although affluent Californians may be able to demonstrate financial responsibility by placing money into a Surety Bond, most drivers cover their vehicles through policies purchased from insurance carriers. If a person owns or operates a vehicle that is involved in a “reportable” traffic accident, and if that motor vehicle is not properly insured, the owner/operator is then exposed to penalties and sanctions.  A reportable traffic accident is any incident or accident involving a motor vehicle where:

  • There is any damage to property in excess of $1000.
  • There is any injury to any party, however slight.
  • There is any death.

If a person is found to have owned or operated a motor vehicle that was involved in a reportable traffic collision, and they were not properly insured; the potential penalties can include:

  • Criminal charges if any laws were violated.
  • Civil charges to compensate any victims for pain, suffering and damages.
  • The suspension/revocation of your driver license.

What are the DMV penalties for driving without insurance?  If the DMV receives information that you owned or operated a motor vehicle that was involved in a “reportable traffic accident”; and if the DMV believes your the vehicle was not properly insured, they will generate a letter entitled “Order of Suspension.” Responding to this letter may be as simple as calling the DMV and providing them with accurate insurance information. On the other hand, if you were not properly insured at the time of the traffic accident, the DMV will act quickly to suspend or revoke your driver license for one year.

Fortunately, if you are accused of driving without insurance, you have the opportunity to defend yourself by scheduling and conducting an administrative hearing, known as a Financial Responsibility Hearing.  A Financial Responsibility Hearing is a complicated evidentiary hearing where evidence is presented, witnesses testify and legal arguments are waged.  Most California drivers do not possess the training or skill necessary to win their hearing.  Fortunately, any driver who faces a Financial Responsibility Hearing may be represented by a DMV Defense Expert.


Call CDA today……….. We can help you save your driver license   The DMV Defense Experts from California Drivers Advocates have been fighting and winning DMV hearings for many years.  If the DMV is acting to suspend your driver license for any reason, including Financial Responsibility, call CDA today.  Our team of experts is ready to go to work to keep you driving.

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COVID-19 Update: The California DMV is OPEN!!!The California Department of Motor Vehicles - Driver Safety Office is Open & SUSPENDING Licenses

If you received a notice from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Driver Safety Office you must act now.

The Driver Safety Offices are still doing business as usual, which means suspending your license. 

Hearings are still being processed and you can still defend yourself. 

California Drivers Advocates is a team of expert DMV Defense advocates. We represent drivers throughout California when their driver license comes into question with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

We are already defending drivers in their new virtual hearings at the DMV. Learn more here >

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