What Are the Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Utah?
Drivers in Utah are required to carry auto insurance on all passenger vehicles, including cars, trucks, and vans. In order to avoid costly (and even criminal) penalties, you must purchase at least the minimum amount of coverage which is required by state law. If you are ever injured in a car accident in Utah, your insurance policy will help to cover your expenses.
UT Minimum Coverage Requirements for Personal Injury and Property Damage
Even if you are not a resident of Utah, state coverage requirements still apply if your car has been in Utah for at least 90 days during the past year. It is mandatory for Utah drivers to purchase, at a bare minimum, the following coverage amounts:
- $15,000 for property damage (PD)
- $25,000 per person for personal injury (bodily injury, or BI)
- $65,000 per accident, meaning BI coverage for injuries to multiple occupants
If you are an out-of-state resident, you need only maintain coverage for as long as your car remains in the state of Utah. If you are a Utah resident, you must maintain coverage at all times. In either case, you should obtain a document called the SR-22, which acts as proof that you are insured. You will be required to present your SR-22 if you ever get into any of the following situations:
- You are caught driving while uninsured (which, as we’ll discuss shortly, can subject you to costly consequences).
- You get into an accident involving death or injury while uninsured.
- You accumulate multiple moving violations, such as reckless driving violations.
- Your driver’s license is suspended due to a DUI conviction or refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Beyond the required minimums, you may also wish to purchase additional coverage, such as:
- Comprehensive and collision coverage
- Customized parts coverage
- Emergency roadside services (ERS) coverage
- GAP insurance
- Mechanical breakdown insurance
- Rental car coverage
While some people view supplementary insurance as a needless drain on their budget, others enjoy the sense of security that comes from having more protection. As long as you meet the minimum requirements and feel comfortable with your level of coverage, there really is no “right” or “wrong” policy.
What Are the Penalties for Driving While Uninsured?
While getting covered can be a hassle, you should think twice before deciding to drive without insurance. Costly penalties can result from failure to meet the minimum coverage requirements – and Utah takes aggressive enforcement measures to ensure that drivers are complying. To begin with, drivers are required to show proof of insurance to police officers upon request, so if you are ever pulled over for a routine traffic stop, the officer will see that you are not covered.
Moreover, the Utah DMV is able to cross-compare a database of vehicles registered in Utah against a separate database that tracks insurance policies. If your car comes up on the list of registered vehicles, but you are not in the insurance database, the system will be alerted and you will receive a notice demanding that you submit proof of insurance, such as an SR-22 form, an insurance card, or a copy of your policy. If you are unable to prove that you are insured, your information will be forwarded to:
- The Utah DMV
- State police officers
- Local police officers
Under Utah Code § 41-12a-302, not only can you be fined $400 for driving without insurance – more significantly, you can be criminally prosecuted. Driving without insurance is a Class C misdemeanor, which will subject you to an additional criminal fine of up to $750 – and up to three months in jail. If you are caught driving without insurance a second time, the fine will increase from $400 to $1,000, not including the criminal fine of $750.
Additionally, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will suspend your driver’s license until you are able to supply proof of insurance, at which point the DPS will notify the DMV so that your license may be reinstated. You will also be required to pay a small fee for reinstatement.
The bottom line? If you’re not currently insured, you should make an effort to get covered as soon as possible. Shopping for a policy isn’t exactly fun, but you’ll thank yourself for it later – especially if you are ever involved in a crash or collision.
Contact the Experienced Car Accident Attorneys at Overson Law
If you were injured in a car accident in Utah, you may be entitled to compensation from the driver who caused the crash. Call the Weber County car accident lawyers at the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143 to set up a free and confidential legal consultation. It’s never too early in the morning or too late at night to get in touch with us. Our goal is to help injury victims in Utah get compensated.