Driving without vehicle insurance: what are the penalties?

03 June 2019

Car Insurance Article

What happens when you drive a car without insurance?

All of us are overjoyed when we buy our first car, and naturally so. We spend a lot of time and money on purchasing the finest car accessories of our choice. Whether it is a state of the art music system, LCD screens for navigation or even classy seat covers, we pay a lot of attention to making our car swanky. But buying accessories is something that can be put off until a further date. You should, in fact, concentrate on purchasing car insurance policy as soon as you buy your car. Let’s find out why you should own car insurance and the penalty for driving without insurance.

Importance of car insurance

Anyone who owns a car knows that it is mandatory to own a third party insurance policy along with the vehicle. As per the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988, one may not drive a vehicle in the absence of third party liability insurance. You insurance policy can bail you out of several unpleasant circumstances which include accidental injuries or death, damage to a third-party individual’s vehicle or property and so on. However, if you are caught driving a vehicle without insurance, you could face several penalties.

Driving without insurance

Here’s what can happen to you if you are caught driving a car without insurance.

Your license will be suspended or cancelled altogether: Road traffic authorities have the discretion to suspend your driving license if you fail to present your insurance documents for inspection. Depending upon the severity of the incident, authorities may ask you to either surrender your driver’s license or even cancel it altogether.

Your vehicle registration may be suspended: Traffic authorities also reserve the right to suspend your vehicle registration documents. This means that you cannot drive the car in question until the suspension on the vehicle is lifted.

Your legal troubles may escalate: Driving without valid insurance can land you into legal troubles too. You could be charged a fine for driving without insurance in India and you may have to pay approximately ₹10,000 or more as penalty, based on the severity of the incident. Moreover, you could also receive a prison sentence of 3 months in addition to the monetary fine and the incident would go on your permanent record.

Your financial troubles could increase too: If you are caught driving with the necessary insurance documents, you would also end up incurring huge financial losses. Firstly, insurance providers may not offer insurance to you at all in future or you may have to pay high insurance premiums for a basic policy. Secondly, if you or a third party individual is in an accident, you have to bear all the expenses related to the accident, which could include damages endured by the third party, their vehicle and their property damages, hospitalisation and treatment charges and so on. You would also be held liable for bearing all the costs related to legal proceedings.

You have to forfeit your no claims bonus: If you fail to renew your car insurance and are caught driving without it, you have to forfeit your no-claims bonus i.e. the reward of reduced premiums prices offered for every year in which a claim is not made.

In conclusion, driving without insurance is as much a criminal offence as driving without a license. You should be able to present all documents pertaining to your vehicle if you are questioned by a traffic law authority. While you need to have your original license on your person whenever you are driving a car, you may present photocopies of your insurance policy and your RC book. Failure to present any of these documents can result in the above mentioned consequences

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