You must maintain an active car insurance policy to legally drive in Connecticut. Driving without insurance in Connecticut can result in penalties and fines, including points off your license that can lead to a suspension. If you currently live in the state or plan on becoming a resident, it is important to understand the state’s insurance requirements so that you do not violate state law and face potential financial and legal consequences.
Minimum insurance required in Connecticut
Each state has its minimum coverage requirements for drivers, which vary considerably. Connecticut car insurance laws require that drivers carry the following insurance coverage:
- $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $25,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident
- $25,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $50,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage per accident
Bodily injury liability coverage helps pay for the medical expenses or death of another party in an accident that you cause, while property damage liability coverage helps pay for repairs to property that you damage with your vehicle. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is designed to pay for medical bills and related costs for you and your passengers if you are injured in a hit-and-run or by an at-fault driver who is driving uninsured.
Most insurance experts recommend that drivers carry higher than the required liability limits for better financial protection — in an accident with severe injuries or that involve more than one car, the minimum coverage may not be enough. Along with higher limits, opting for additional coverage types may enhance your policy coverage. Some popular optional coverage types are:
- Medical payments coverage: If you are involved in an accident that results in bodily injury and medical-related expenses, this coverage may provide payment toward those costs regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
- Collision coverage: As part of what’s known as full coverage car insurance, collision may pay to repair your vehicle if it is damaged from a collision or hit-and-run. Collision pays up to the car’s actual cash value (ACV) and is subject to a deductible.
- Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage is a key part of full coverage car insurance. It does not apply to collisions or accidents, but it does provide additional coverage for other damage that may come to your vehicle. This may be the result of weather, theft, vandalism, falling objects or other events that are beyond your control. Comprehensive covers up to the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) and is subject to a deductible.
- Rental reimbursement: This optional coverage type or endorsement may be a good option for drivers with access to only one vehicle. This coverage can provide drivers with a rental vehicle (up to a certain number of days and dollar amount) while their car is out of commission due to a covered claim. Coverage limits and qualifications for this coverage vary based on coverage selection and providers.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Connecticut
If you receive a ticket for no insurance in Connecticut, you may be subject to a $50 fine, plus other fees, for a total of $117. But if you’re found driving without an active insurance policy or lend your car to someone else when you don’t have insurance for the vehicle, the penalties are much worse.
Operating or allowing someone to operate your vehicle if it isn’t insured is considered a Class C Misdemeanor in the state of Connecticut. According to the latest data, you may face the following consequences as a result:
- As the vehicle owner, you’d face a $500 fine, up to three months in jail, or both.
- The operator of the vehicle will also incur a fine between $100 and $1,000.
- If you have a commercial registration, the penalty increases to $5,000 or up to five years in jail.
- Your registration and driver’s license will be suspended for one month for your first offense and six months for any subsequent offense.
- Your vehicle could be impounded until you can provide proof of insurance.
- You’ll need to show proof of insurance and pay $175 to get your license reinstated.
Even if you don’t drive your car, you need to maintain an active insurance policy as long as you have an active registration. If you allow your insurance policy to lapse, your insurance provider will inform the DMV, and you will be sent a Notice of Registration Suspension.
If you don’t contest, you can pay a $200 civil penalty and be required to provide proof of insurance or an SR-22 certificate to avoid license suspension.
If you have sold your vehicle or moved out of state, you can surrender your plates to the DMV and contact the assessor’s office to avoid additional taxes and penalties. For situations like keeping a vehicle garaged for seasonal storage or repairs, you may want to consider putting your vehicle on a storage insurance plan and putting your plates on “hold.” Your insurance agent and online Connecticut DMV services can help you navigate these circumstances.
Getting into an accident without insurance
While the fines and legal consequences of driving uninsured in Connecticut are reason enough to carry an insurance policy, the consequences of a car accident can be even more financially devastating when you don’t have insurance. Since Connecticut is an at-fault state, you could be sued for the total amount of the other party’s medical bills and repairs in an accident you cause.
To give you an idea of how much an at-fault accident might cost you without insurance, the average bodily injury claim was $18,417 in 2019, and the average property damage liability claim was $4,525, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Frequently asked questions
Using a fake insurance card constitutes a false statement under Connecticut law and is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. You’re also likely to get caught since Connecticut has an online insurance verification system. No matter how much money you may save, using a fake insurance card and driving without insurance probably isn’t worth the risk.
The average cost of car insurance in Connecticut is $620 annually for a minimum coverage policy and $1,553 annually for a full coverage policy, which is slightly lower than the national average of $622 annually for minimum coverage and $2,014 annually for full coverage. You might pay more than that if you have accidents or a DUI on your record, but you could also pay less if you compare car insurance quotes online. It’s a good idea to speak with a licensed insurance agent to determine what coverage options are right for you.
The best car insurance company for you will depend on individual factors affecting your premium. The provider offering the lowest premium may not always be the best choice. You might want to do some research to compare quotes and coverage and determine which auto insurance companies have a good reputation for customer satisfaction and financial strength.
Car insurance discounts vary between states and insurance companies, but most insurers offer discounts. Many offer attainable savings for most drivers, like shopping for insurance online or purchasing the policy early. Other discounts target particular risk groups, such as driving training discounts for drivers under the age of 25. Work with your insurance agent to maximize your discounts or shop for car insurance with providers offering discounts tailored to your driving profile.