When we’re young, we tend to think of ourselves as invincible. Sure, a part of us knows deep down that someday we’ll die, but we don’t think it will happen anytime soon. That can make us more careless. It can lead us to take chances we wouldn’t otherwise take. Examples of such behavior include things like drinking too much, doing drugs, or not using protection with sexual partners. Another, less obvious, example? Driving without car insurance.
Minimum coverage requirements
For one, you’re probably breaking the law if you don’t carry active car insurance. 48 out of 50 states require it. The two states that don’t require it still have certain conditions drivers must meet. New Hampshire residents must prove they have enough money to pay up if they’re found to be at fault in an accident, and Virginia charges an uninsured motorist fee.
You don’t have to get insurance with all the bells and whistles. Liability insurance should be fine in most cases, although make sure you’re buying something that meets your state’s minimum coverage requirements. For example, a driver in Pennsylvania must have a minimum of $15,000 per person, per accident, and $30,000 total per accident. They must also carry at least $5,000 in property coverage insurance. If you’re pulled over and you can’t prove that you have insurance, or if your insurance doesn’t cover enough, then you’re looking at a fine of hundreds of dollars. Also, your driver’s license may be suspended for a few months.
“That’s OK,” you may be thinking. “I just won’t get pulled over.” That’s way easier said than done. Even if you think you’re the best driver in the history of the world, then what about all the other drivers on the road? You could end up in a car accident thanks to someone else’s bad driving. And if the officer asks for license and registration, and you only have one of those, then guess what? You can still be ticketed and fined.
Alternatives to driving
There are people out there who think car insurance is unfair because it charges higher rates for younger, less experienced drivers. In fact, young men in their teens and twenties are considered one of the highest-risk groups. Car insurance will also cost more in some zip codes than in others. It’s true that being penalized for your age is a bummer, but the best way to get beyond that is to be a safe, careful driver. In time, you should be able to prove to your insurance company that you’re a good driver. A long track record of safe driving will help you tremendously down the line.
If you absolutely cannot afford car insurance, then it’s time to consider more drastic options. If you’re driving a fancy sports car, head to a dealership and trade it in for something that won’t cost as much to insure. If you have decent public transportation in your city, then park your car and take the bus or train to work instead of driving. Part of being an adult means accepting responsibility for unpleasant things. The social contract requires you to be a responsible driver, and that means carrying car insurance.