Carrying Auto Liability Insurance: A Must for Drivers in the US

One important document that drivers in the U.S. will always need to carry is proof of auto liability insurance. This document is required every time a driver renews his or her car registration and driver’s license, and if ever he or she gets pulled over by a traffic enforcer or gets involved in an accident. In the 48 states where carrying this liability insurance is mandated, not having one can result to suspension of driver’s license and being required to file an SR-22, a document which proves that a driver has already purchased vehicle liability insurance; this document will have to be sent by the insurance firm to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office where the driver resides.

Carrying auto liability insurance is actually just one way a driver can comply with the financial responsibility law, the law that requires drivers to prove that they have the capability to pay for damages and injuries resulting from an accident wherein they are at fault. While this law does not specifically require having auto insurance coverage, as many as 48 states saw that having one would be more practical as this will not result to at-fault drivers failing to make compensatory payments to those that they happen to injure. (Virginia and New Hampshire allow their drivers to prove financial responsibility through state-approved ways other than purchasing auto liability insurance).

With regard to the type of insurance coverage mandated of drivers, states are divided based on the type of the liability system that they recognize. In 12 states, which include Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah, the no-fault auto insurance law is observed (of these 12 states, three are more correctly referred to as “Choice” states because these allow drivers to choose which type of insurance coverage they would actually want to carry: the no-fault coverage or the “fault”/“tort liability” coverage). Under the no-fault system, insurance companies compensate their own policyholders (policyholders are otherwise referred to as “first party”) regardless of who was at fault in the accident. The damages or the benefits that are to be paid to policyholders or to the first party are called personal injury protection (PIP).

The “fault” system, on the other hand, allows accident victims to claim compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider; victims, however, may also file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver if the compensation paid does not cover certain economic (lost wages) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages.

An insurance policy being quite costly is no excuse for drivers not to purchase one. As Hankey Law Office, P.C. explains in its website, not purchasing one may actually prove to be even more costly. The website also provides information on how drivers may find the best insurance deals at the lowest cost – by asking for a free insurance quote from an independent auto insurance company. Besides providing drivers with a list of the best insurance deals at affordable prices, an independent auto insurance company can also assist drivers in all their insurance-related needs, including the filing of an SR-22.