Every owner or registered owner of a motor vehicle that is either registered or principally garaged in New Jersey is required to maintain insurance that provides liability coverage, uninsured motorist benefits, and personal injury protection benefits. There are various fines and penalties that may be imposed for failing to maintain this required insurance. Many people are aware of the penalties associated with receiving a ticket for failing to maintain insurance which include monetary fines, community service, and loss of license. These are not, however, the only penalties. There are also penalties that affect your right to bring a personal injury action or receive personal injury protection benefits under another insurance policy whether or not you are ticketed for no insurance.
New Jersey statutory law requires the owner or registered owner of an automobile registered or principally garaged in this State to maintain a standard, basic, or special policy of insurance that provide various levels of medical expense coverage. If you fail to maintain either a standard, basic, or special policy of insurance and are involved in an accident while operating the uninsured automobile, you will be precluded from bringing a claim for economic or non-economic damages even if the other driver is fully at fault for the accident and you sustain sever bodily injuries. You will not only be barred from filing a lawsuit against the at fault driver when you don’t purchase any insurance at all but will also be barred if you attempt to insure the vehicle in another state when the vehicle is principally garaged in New Jersey. If the vehicle is principally garaged here, then it must have our required insurance coverage.
Another penalty for not maintaining a standard, basic, or special policy of insurance is that you can be precluded from receiving personal injury protection benefits under another policy of insurance that would otherwise provide coverage. This penalty applies even if you are not operating the uninsured vehicle at the time of the accident. The exception to this penalty is if you did not have an intent to operate the uninsured vehicle and it was taken off the road. It would be your burden to prove that the intent to not operate the vehicle was reasonable. If you cannot do so, you would be barred from collecting personal injury protection benefits under someone else’s insurance policy.
The failure to insure your vehicle can have consequences that are much more severe than the fines that could be imposed if you received a traffic ticket. You could be in a serious accident caused by the negligence of another drive resulting in permanent disabilities and not be able to recover pain and suffering damages. It is, therefore, in your own best interest to maintain the insurance required by the State of New Jersey on your automobiles.