You just bought a new car but don’t have insurance yet. Can you park it on the street outside your home in the meantime? What about leaving your uninsured classic car parked on the road just for looks?
Though it may seem harmless, parking an uninsured vehicle on public roads is illegal in most states. Even if your car is not being driven, failing to insure it can lead to consequences ranging from fines to criminal charges.
Laws Require Insurance Coverage
In the United States, nearly every state mandates a minimum level of car insurance coverage to legally operate a vehicle on public roads. This includes parking on streets, highways, municipal roads, and other publicly accessible areas.
Liability insurance is the bare minimum coverage required in most states. It pays for damage to others’ property and injuries to other people resulting from an at-fault accident. States may also require further coverage like uninsured motorist and personal injury protection.
Penalties for Parking Uninsured Vehicles
Authorities regularly patrol public roads looking for regulatory violations. If they discover your uninsured car parked on the street, here are some potential penalties:
- Fines – You will likely face a hefty fine, often $500 or more. Multiple offenses lead to increased fines.
- Towing – Your vehicle can be towed, leaving you with towing/impound fees.
- Criminal charges – Parking an uninsured vehicle on the road may be a misdemeanor offense.
- Lawsuits – If your uninsured parked car is involved in an accident, you could face lawsuits.
- License/registration suspension – Some states suspend licenses and registrations for uninsured vehicles.
Consider Alternate Parking Options
To avoid fines and legal issues, consider these options if you cannot insure your car right away:
- Park in your private driveway or garage. Insurance is only required on public roads.
- Use off-street parking lots and garages that don’t require insurance verification.
- See if anyone you know can store your car on their private property temporarily.
- Inquire about short-term storage at a tow yard or impound lot.
- Sell the car until you can afford proper insurance.
Explore Ways to Get Insured
If you need to park on the street, look into ways to get minimum liability coverage:
- Ask about state low-income auto insurance programs.
- Consider a monthly payment plan rather than paying for 6 months of coverage upfront.
- Increase your deductible amount to lower your premium.
- Drop optional coverages like collision and comprehensive to reduce costs.
- See if any discounts apply to you, like multi-policy or good driver discounts.
Don’t Take the Risk
Parking on public roads without insurance is not worth the consequences you expose yourself to. Work diligently to find an insurance policy you can afford, even if it’s just basic liability coverage. Paying fines, legal fees, and accident costs will ultimately be much more expensive than making monthly insurance payments.
Protect yourself financially and avoid legal trouble by keeping your car properly insured. If it’s not insured, park it in your garage, a private lot, or a storage facility until you can get a policy in place. Never assume you can safely park an uninsured car on the street – no matter how briefly.