According to Commissioner James J. Donelon, approximately 30 percent of drivers in the Pelican State do not carry an automobile liability policy, while the Insurance Research Council estimated the percentage to be 13 percent in 2009. Nonetheless, what ever the exact percentage may be, not only is it illegal to drive without automobile coverage but Louisiana’s uninsured motorists are subject to the state’s “No Pay, No Play” laws. What this means is that these uncovered individuals give up certain rights following an accident and may face financial hardship as a result.
In the event that a motorist is involved in an accident and does not carry a Louisiana auto insurance policy, they will be subject to the state “No Pay, No Play” law, which means that the uninsured motorist will be unable to collect for the first $25,000 in property damages resulting from the accident and the first $15,000 for personal injuries. It does not matter if the other party was entirely at-fault for the incident. What this also means is that the uncovered driver forfeits their right to sue in court for the first portion of certain types of damages; these usually include non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
Aside from not being able to collect for the first portion of a claim in damages resulting from an accident, there are many other consequences that could arise from driving with auto insurance. First and foremost, it is against the law to operate in the state while uninsured and doing so can be an expensive mistake. If a driver is stopped by a law enforcement officer and caught without a policy, the motorist could have their vehicle immediately impounded or have the license plates removed a yellow sticker placed on the back windshield of the automobile.
According to the Louisiana Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance following a citation, the vehicle owner will then be given three days to furnish proof of a policy to the Office of Motor Vehicles or face fines ranging from $75 to $100 for a first conviction, $100 to $250 for a second conviction and up to $700 for an additional conviction. Motorists may want to keep in mind that these small fines can pale in comparison to being involved in an uncovered accident where the uninsured motorist is likely to be responsible for paying for damages to the third party as well as worrying about their own expenses. This could amount to ten of thousands of dollars.