Even though carrying car insurance isn’t compulsory in Virginia or New Hampshire, driving without coverage is risky. As with any car accident, there’s danger of serious financial consequences, and these risks are amplified without insurance coverage. If you don’t have coverage and are found at fault for a collision, you could be taken to court or have driving privileges revoked.
What Could Happen in Virginia?
Virginia is an at-fault state, meaning that the driver who’s responsible for a collision must also cover the costs of any resulting property damage and medical bills.
If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, your insurance company will likely cover the costs to get you back on the road. “The not-at-fault driver can still sue the at-fault uninsured driver for injuries,” Blankenship explained. “The uninsured driver would have to eventually pay those damages if a judgment is placed.”
If you’re an uninsured driver and have caused a collision, you’ll need to file an SR-22 until the judgment is satisfied.
What Could Happen in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire is also an at-fault state, so the driver who causes an accident must pay for any resulting damages or injuries. If you’re an uninsured driver in New Hampshire and are found at fault, you’ll have to pay those costs out of pocket. This is where the proof of financial responsibility comes into play. If you’ve previously submitted such proof and fail to cover any property damage or bodily injury costs, you could lose your ability to drive legally.
In addition to losing driving privileges, you could be sued by the other party. That person will have to prove negligence on your part, but can seek damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Disability benefits
What About Out-of-State Accidents?
Since the other 48 states require car insurance, what happens if an uninsured driver from Virginia or New Hampshire gets pulled over or is involved in a car accident in another state?
According to Blankenship, it’s not as complicated for these drivers as one might think. “Most states reciprocate info, so the DMVs talk to each other,” she said. “If the uninsured driver is at fault, the innocent party’s company usually takes care of damages and then tries to take the uninsured driver to court. Sometimes it is successful, but other times it’s looked at [as] ‘You can’t get blood out of a turnip,’ so they write it off.”
Until recently, the New Hampshire Financial Responsibility Act only applied to car accidents that occurred within state borders. The legislature amended the Act in 2021, however, expanding its reach to car accidents that occur in other states.