If you’re a safe driver with a clean accident history, it’s easy to think car insurance is an unnecessary expense. But the truth is that a collision can occur at any time—no matter how safe you are behind the wheel. This is why all drivers in Mississippi are required to carry auto insurance that meets certain minimum limits, and the penalties for not doing so can be severe.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Mississippi?
All drivers in Mississippi are required to carry auto insurance liability coverage that includes $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for total bodily injuries caused in one accident, and $25,000 for damage to property. Unlike most other states, the penalties for driving without insurance in Mississippi do not worsen with subsequent convictions.
If drivers are caught without proof of liability insurance, the penalty is an immediate $500 fine. The offender will also face a driver’s license suspension for up to one year or until he or she shows proof of insurance. If the driver can prove future financial responsibility, the fine could be reduced to $100. This is done by submitting form SR-22 before the hearing.
The consequences of driving without insurance are far worse if you cause an accident. In addition to the aforementioned penalties, you may have to cover all of your damages—and the damages incurred by others in the crash—out of your own pocket. Medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repairs can add up to a small fortune.
Mississippi has some of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country; nearly 1 in 4 motorists do not have adequate coverage. Law enforcement is cracking down on offenders and now have access to a statewide electronic insurance verification system that allows them to check in real time whether a driver has insurance or not.
When Did Liability Insurance Become Mandatory in Mississippi?
In February 2000, Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove signed into law House Bill 621, which established mandatory auto insurance liability requirements for the entire state. That same year, the Mississippi Insurance Department issued Bulletin 2000-3, which outlines the information insurance cards need to display in order to be valid. Drivers in Mississippi must carry their insurance card their vehicles at all times to prove they are insured.
A valid insurance card should feature the following information:
- The name of the insurance company;
- The customer service telephone number of the company/local servicing agent;
- The driver’s policy number;
- Effective coverage period; and
- Details about the insured vehicle.
In the state of Mississippi, an officer cannot stop a driver just to check whether he or she has an insurance card; however, police can ask for proof of insurance at a routine roadblock, checkpoint, or during a traffic stop for a statutory violation.
Although everybody wants to reduce their monthly expenses, driving without auto insurance simply is not worth the risk. If you have any points to add, feel free to leave them in a comment below.