In New Jersey, every owner of a registered motor vehicle or principally garaged motor vehicle is required to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance covers you in the event that you are liable in an accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or property damage to another person. If you forget to pay your premiums, or otherwise let your insurance coverage lapse, you will be violating the law. If the police determine you are driving without insurance, you will be given a summons to appear in municipal court. The penalties increase depending on the number of times you have violated the insurance requirement.
For a first conviction, there is a mandatory minimum $300 fine, community service, and loss of your driver’s license for a period of 1 year.
For second and subsequent convictions, there is a fine up to $5,000, imprisonment for 14 days, 30 days of community service, and loss of your driver’s license for 2 years. Additionally, once your suspension is complete, license renewal is not automatic. An application for a license has to be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which may be granted at the discretion of the Chief Administrator.
It is essential to confirm with your insurance company that you are properly covered. Failure to do so will not only result in the penalties listed above, but a conviction for driving without insurance will permanently appear on your Driver’s Abstract and cannot be removed.