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pulled over without proof of insurance

What to Do If You Are Pulled Over Without Proof of Insurance

January 17, 2020

Chances are, you’ve experienced the sinking feeling that comes from seeing the flashing lights of a police car in your rear-view mirror. You may not even know why you’re being pulled over. You wonder if you were speeding, or whether one of your brake lights has burned out. The police officer approaches and asks for the usual documents; driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. When you realize you forgot to put your new insurance certificate in your car, the sinking feeling quickly turns into a panic.  What should you do if you are pulled over without proof of insurance? Here are some helpful tips.

Why is it important to have proof of insurance?

State law requires all motor vehicle owners to carry Michigan no-fault insurance in order to register a vehicle with the Secretary of State. Without proof of insurance, you will not be able to renew, transfer, or replace your vehicle’s license plate. Vehicles covered by out-of-state insurance policies can be driven but not registered in Michigan.

In addition, drivers are required to keep a current certificate of insurance in their vehicles at all times. If you are stopped by law enforcement, you must be able to produce your proof of insurance.

What are the penalties for being pulled over without proof of insurance?

Failing to provide proof of insurance to law enforcement is a civil violation. The driver will typically have to pay a fine, which can vary according to the municipality and the individual circumstances.

In addition, if you receive a citation and subsequently fail to provide proof of insurance in a timely manner, the following could occur:

  • Your driver’s license could be suspended.
  • You may be required to prove the vehicle is insured for at least six months, in addition to paying a fine.
  • Your license plate could also be canceled if proof of insurance is not produced.

What should I do if I get a ticket for being pulled over without proof of insurance?

If you had insurance at the time you were pulled over, bring your insurance certificate to the district court indicated on the ticket. The fine will usually be reduced if you do this within 14 days.

However, if you did not have insurance at the time of the ticket, you should purchase a no-fault policy as soon as possible. If you provide proof of insurance to the court within 14 days of the ticket, your fine could be reduced. 

Do I need proof of insurance for my motorcycle?

Yes. However, the insurance requirements are different because motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles under Michigan law. While motorcyclists are not required to purchase no-fault insurance, they must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Like automobile drivers, motorcyclists have to show proof of insurance if stopped by a police officer.

Do I need proof of insurance to renew my license plate and registration online?

Michigan has an Electronic Insurance Verification program that allows certain vehicle owners to renew their registration online. You are eligible for online renewal if your renewal notice says “insurance verified electronically” near the bottom left-hand corner. This means your insurance company has electronically verified your coverage with the Secretary of State. However, only certain insurance companies participate in this program.

If your renewal notice states “proof of insurance required,” you will have to renew your registration by mail or in person at any Secretary of State office. You must include proof of your current insurance with your mail-in paperwork or bring it with you to the Secretary of State. If you provide proof of insurance that is fraudulent or invalid, your registration will be canceled.

Michigan’s no-fault insurance law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Sources:

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/difs/Auto_Insurance_Guide_448003_7.pdf

https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1585_1587_1590-25289–,00.html

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/2002IRPmanual_17888_7.pdf

https://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/2015/03/driving_without_insurance_poli.html

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