If a police officer stops you for any reason and the officer asks to see proof of insurance, you have to provide it or receive a citation. The citation is "Failure to Produce Insurance." This doesn't mean you have no insurance, it simply means you don't have proof of insurance with you. In this case, if you have insurance, you still have to provide the court with the information.
State Insurance Laws
All states have mandatory insurance laws. Each state requires a specific amount of liability insurance before you take your vehicle on the road. If you have insurance, it's most likely you also carry your insurance card with you. The card shows the policy number and the date of expiration. Since insurance companies can't sell limits below the mandatory requirement, anyone looking at the card understands you have state minimums.
If you lose your card, call immediately for another. You can carry the deck sheet, the sheet that shows your coverage, in your glove box until you receive it. Even though you might have insurance, there's a fine for not having proof when an officer asks for it in some states or you can't provide it before your ticket goes to court. You don't have to be in an accident for an officer to request proof of insurance. A police officer may stop you for something as simple as a seat belt infraction.
In the state of Minnesota, as with many states, you can avoid penalties if you send the court proof you had insurance at the time of the citation. You must do this before the court date to waive fees and penalties. If you don't own the automobile, you still must provide proof of insurance by the owner or provide the name and address of the owner. In turn, they receive a citation by mail to provide the information.
Avoid Fines and Penalties
You can lose your drivers license, pay higher rates and pay a big fine if you don't respond to a Failure to Provide Insurance citation. Even if you have insurance, the courts don't know that unless you prove it to them. The fines for lack of mandatory insurance are stiff in most states. If you receive a citation, call the court to find what you need to do to avoid further problems if you had insurance at the time of citation. If you didn't have insurance, find what you need to do to secure coverage.
- Tome Harrigan: Minnesota Statute 169.791 Criminal Penalty For Failure to Produce Proof of Insurance, 2009
- NJPAIP.COM: Penalties for driving without NJ Auto Insurance
- Law.Onecle.com: New York Vehicle & Traffic - Article 6 - § 319 Penalties. April 2, 2010
- SASafeAuto: Arizona Automobile Insurance Legal Requirements for Acquiring Auto Insurance in Arizona
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