Indiana’s Insurance Requirements For Drivers and the Possible Consequences of a Lapse
We receive multiple calls a week from people dealing with issues related to automobile insurance. Generally the problem is an insurance suspension because of a failure to provide proof of insurance after a traffic stop or collision. Despite this being a common situation, many people are unfamiliar with exactly what is required with respect to their insurance or what types of situations will require proof of insurance.
To begin, anyone operating a vehicle in the state of Indiana is required to maintain at least a minimum amount of insurance coverage. Indiana law requires a minimum policy of 25/50/10, which means the policy provides coverage of $25,000 for death of one person, $50,000 for the deaths of two or more people, and $10,000 for injury or damage to property resulting from a collision. Coverage in at least the above amounts must be maintained continuously in order to avoid suspensions, fines, and other consequences.
While the Bureau of Motor Vehicles may request proof of insurance (also known as proof of financial responsibility) at any time, there are circumstances in which the BMV is required to obtain this proof from you. Those scenarios include: 1) being involved in a collision where the BMV receives an accident report (which will generally happen if the police are called or the accident is more than minor), 2) receiving a ticket for a moving violation within a year of receiving two other tickets for moving violations, 3) being cited for a “serious” traffic violation, such as a misdemeanor or felony (e.g. reckless driving), and 4) being cited for a violation carrying points where the driver was previously suspended for failing to provide proof of insurance.
After the BMV is notified of one of the above occurrences, the driver will receive in the mail a request for proof of insurance from the driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, many people carrying valid insurance never receive these notices because they fail to keep their address current with the BMV. When the proof is not provided to the BMV in a timely manner, a suspension is imposed. Thus, it is important to keep a current address on file in the event the BMV makes such a request of you.
Once the request for proof of insurance is received, a driver has 40 days to have his or her insurance company provide to the BMV a certificate of compliance showing satisfactory coverage existed at the time in question. Once this proof is provided the driver need not worry about a suspension related to a failure to provide proof of insurance (though a separate suspension may come about because of the citation leading to the request). If this proof is not or cannot be provided, the BMV will impose a suspension on the driver.
A first-time suspension for an insurance violation will last 90 days, while a repeat violation will carry a suspension of 1 year. Drivers suspended for failing to produce proof of financial responsibility may be able to obtain specialized driving privileges in order to be able to drive for work and other needs, and you can read up on specialized driving privileges here.
Aside from a BMV request to provide proof of insurance, motorists may also be asked by police officers to provide such proof. While a close reading of Indiana’s motor vehicle laws leaves open the question of whether a motorist must physically carry proof of insurance and provide it upon request, a driver can be cited for operating without financial responsibility. This A Infraction (which becomes a C Misdemeanor if the driver has a prior) carries a possible license suspension of 90 days to 1 year upon conviction.
On top of the license suspensions described above, drivers may also be subject to fines, jail time (for a criminal offense), and reinstatement fees before driving privileges may be restored. Proof of current and/or future insurance will also be required before one may get his or her driver’s license back. Thus, a simple insurance lapse can be an expensive and inconvenient mistake, especially for a driver who must be able to drive for employment purposes.
If you are dealing with a license suspension due to insurance issues or some other cause and need to get back on the road, call the knowledgeable Indiana traffic ticket attorneys at Banks & Brower. We are available 24/7 at email@example.com and at 317-870-0019.