New Jersey requires drivers to carry certain types and amounts of auto insurance coverage. In Atlantic City and throughout New Jersey, drivers must meet or exceed the minimum requirements set forth by state law – or else, face costly penalties. Not only is driving without auto insurance a violation of N.J.S.A. § 39:6B-1; it can also expose the driver to financial danger if he or she ever gets into a car accident. If you have been charged with driving without insurance, or if you are facing fines or traffic tickets in New Jersey due to related violations, you need an experienced driving uninsured attorney on your side. Ask the Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych how we can help when you contact us for your free legal consultation.
Is Car Insurance Mandatory in NJ?
In short, yes. Auto insurance is mandatory in New Jersey under state law, specifically N.J.S.A. § 39:6B-1, which deals with liability auto insurance requirements in New Jersey (“maintenance of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage”).
The purpose of liability coverage is to help pay for the victim’s medical costs in the event that you cause a car accident. For example, if you were at fault for a collision with another vehicle, and the other driver filed a claim, your bodily injury liability insurance would help to pay for the damages. Similar to bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability insurance helps to pay for vehicle and other property damage resulting from an accident that you cause.
In addition to bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, there is a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage requirement. PIP insurance, which is mandatory for drivers in New Jersey, helps to pay for injuries resulting from car accidents caused by the policyholder. However, unlike bodily injury liability insurance, PIP insurance coverage pays for both your injuries and those of others.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. § 39:6B-1(1)(a), drivers must carry the aforementioned types of coverage, in the following amounts:
- Bodily Injury Liability Insurance – $15,000 per person ($30,000 per accident)
- Property Damage Liability Insurance – $5,000
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance – $15,000 per person, per accident
You may see this written as “15/30/5” relating to the liability limits above.
To reiterate, these amounts are the coverage minimums necessary to meet the standards set by state law. Many drivers opt to purchase higher amounts of coverage, and/or choose to purchase additional types coverage. For example, an additional, optional type of insurance coverage is comprehensive and collision coverage, which is designed to help cover expenses arising from damage caused by theft or fire. A financial professional can help you decide what level of coverage is right for you.
What is the Penalty for Driving with No Auto Insurance in NJ?
It is illegal to drive without car insurance in New Jersey. Doing so constitutes a violation of N.J.S.A. § 39:6B-1, the same auto insurance law discussed above. The penalties for driving without insurance and violating N.J.S.A. § 39:6B-1 are set forth under a separate statute of their own, N.J.S.A. § 39:6B-2, which establishes the following fines and penalties:
- A fine ranging anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for a first offense
- An undefined “period of community service to be determined by the court” on a case-by-case basis
- License suspension for a period of one year
These are the penalties for a first offense. The penalties for a second or subsequent offense are harsher, and may, under the same statute, include the following:
- A 14-day jail sentence
- A fine as high as $5,000 – up to five times greater than the maximum for a first offense
- A total of 30 days of court-ordered community service
- License suspension for a period of two years
What if Someone Sues Me for a Car Accident and I Have No Insurance?
Not only is driving without insurance illegal – there is also another danger. If you get into a car accident without auto insurance, and the other driver files a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you can be held personally liable for his or her expenses, since there is no insurance company to provide coverage.
Atlantic City Traffic Ticket Lawyers Offering Free Legal Consultations
If you were charged with driving while uninsured, you face hefty fines, community service, loss of your driving privileges, and even jail time. Fight back with help from an experienced Atlantic City traffic ticket lawyer, like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. With decades of experience handling traffic violations and criminal charges in New Jersey, we understand how to challenge traffic tickets and traffic-related criminal charges effectively. We can work to mitigate the penalties you face while protecting and guiding you through the system. To set up a free legal consultation, contact our law offices online, or call today at (609) 616-4956.