Criminal Offense of Failing to Provide Proof of Insurance and Registration
All states require some form of vehicle registration. The registration generally lasts one year and is often renewable on the owner’s birthday with the state’s department of motor vehicles. Generally a registration is what allows you to get the license that makes your vehicle legal to drive on public roads. Most states require motorist to keep the vehicle’s registration with the vehicle at all times. Failure to provide a vehicle registration can result in fines and suspension of your driver’s license. Many states will waive or reduce fines where a motorist can subsequently produce a vehicle registration that was valid on the day it was requested.
In almost half of the states, the law requires that all registered motor vehicles have insurance. Generally, the statutes make it unlawful to register or operate an automobile without insurance or some other proof of financial responsibility. The insurance must be maintained at all times when there is an active registration allowing the vehicle to be operated on public highways. Many states require insurers to report records of uninsured vehicles.
The minimum amount of insurance required varies by state. For example, Ohio law requires financial responsibility in the minimum amount of $12,500 for bodily injury or death of one individual in any accident, $25,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more individuals in any accident, and $7,500 for injury to another’s property. Missouri law has higher minimum insurance requirements than Ohio. Missouri law requires $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $10,000 per accident for injury to another’s property.
The purpose of these laws is to ensure that vehicles driven on the roads have liability insurance that provides financial responsibility for any damage or injury caused by a traffic accident. Unfortunately thousands of people each year are injured by motorists who do not maintain the required insurance, resulting in unpaid collision damage claims and higher insurance rates for all citizens.
The penalties for failing to provide proof of insurance, which vary by state, include suspension of driving privileges, citation, impounding of the vehicle, and liability for damages. For example, in Missouri a first offense for failing to have proof of insurance may result in a $20 license reinstatement fee, but a third offense may result in a one-year license suspension and a $400 reinstatement fee.
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