Criminal Penalties for Using Fake Proof of Insurance

June 14, 2013

Insurance companies notify the DMV about policy lapses, so fake proof of insurance is ineffective. Learn the penalties for fake proof of car insurance.

Paying for car insurance can be expensive. As a result, it's not unusual to find people who will carry out fake proof of car insurance to fool the police when they get caught.

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Why Do You Need a Proof of Auto Insurance?
If you are pulled over by the police for traffic infractions or driving mistakes, you will be asked to provide your registration and proof of insurance. It's a common practice for drivers to carry fake insurance cards which cannot be verified by the police at that particular time. There are scams online by which you can get a fake proof of insurance card for yourself. If you do not have proof of car insurance, then users online advise other drivers to send in fake proof of insurance cards that are almost never checked because of the paperwork involved. Courts will then charge you a $25 admin fee and dismiss the ticket based on the insurance card that you sent in.

Does Fake Proof of Insurance Work?
Not really. If you do not have car insurance or have let your car insurance policy lapse then you will get caught. Car insurance companies will inform the DMV about the lapsed policy and you will get a letter from the DMV and the insurance company informing you about this. They will also ask you to stop using your car and to send in your car plates or your license could get suspended. As a result, your plate will be registered as a suspended one. Even if the officer cannot check your insurance policy, they will be notified by the car database your license is suspended. At present, a few states do not have live databases that can check insurance information. But a few states like California and Texas do. They will be able to check your proof of insurance immediately and arrest you or fine you on the spot.

Penalties for Not Having Proof of Insurance

Not all drivers may entirely understand that in most U.S. states, having a copy of proof of insurance information on hand is becoming a routine requirement for traffic stops. In the movies, you may only hear officers at traffic stops asking for a driver's license and registration. But in most states, if you get stopped, police will demand proof of insurance, and not having it can trigger some heavy penalties. Here are some of the consequences of not having insurance information on hand, in order of their relative severity.

  • Burden of documentation. If you are insured, but don't keep your insurance information handy, you may think you're safe. However, in a traffic stop, you may be required to provide an insurance document within 24 hours or risk some of the penalties uninsured drivers face, starting with citations and fines. Generally, drivers are able to print off insurance information and get it to a local court or office within the time period.
  • Fines. For a first-time offense when insurance has lapsed or a driver hasn't found an insurer, the result may just be a fine. Police will usually network with state departments to make sure that drivers comply with a demand to get insured for legally operating a vehicle on the road. Fines and citations are the first step in the efforts by individual states to keep every driver insured. One of the reasons states are upping penalties is that insurance pays so much of accident costs in most current state systems. When individuals drive uninsured, others must pick up the tab with something called uninsured driver coverage that gets added to their premiums.
  • Suspended license. When a driver is found to be without insurance, police may work to get that person's license suspended until they can show they have found adequate coverage. With a citation against them, it may be harder to find this coverage, since insurers might consider that person a high risk driver. Any other traffic citations will also increase the risk, and lead to higher auto insurance quotes.
  • Arrest. For repeat offenders, police can actually arrest individuals that routinely drive without insurance. Not being able to afford auto insurance is not a useful excuse when the law has discovered a pattern of this reckless behavior. After the arrest, the license will generally be suspended, and the individual may face more fines and penalties, or even traffic education requirements.
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All of the above can happen when someone leaves the house without proof of insurance for their vehicle. States work hard to protect all of their residents and to provide a level of fairness where insured drivers do not have to cover individuals who don't take out insurance. Expect this kind of systemic penalty to increase as auto accident costs continue to rise. In the end, getting adequate insurance for all of your vehicles and drivers is often a very good investment, as well as the right thing to do.

How to Fight a No Proof of Insurance Ticket

Getting a traffic ticket can be really annoying. But not having a proof of insurance card with you can really get you into trouble in the form of a proof of insurance ticket. If you have been caught already and are worried about what to do, there is no need to lose sleep. You can reduce your ticket with a few simple car insurance quote tips as follows.

  1. Be polite. If you have been pulled over and are being castigated by an officer for not carrying proof of insurance, do not get belligerent. Getting angry and blustery may make you feel better, but it will annoy the officer. The annoyed officer will then proceed to write you up for a much larger offense then you have actually committed. Please remember that it is the discretion of the officer to give you a ticket or forcibly haul you to court and then hand you a hefty sentence. You do not want that. Most officers will ignore the offense if you are polite and apologize promptly.
  2. Avoid all confrontation. The more belligerent you are, the more notes the officer will take to prove your offense in court. Try to be as cordial as possible and make sure you do not attract the officer's attention towards more problems in your car or your driving history. You may get a ticket still, but the officer will not jot down extensive notes on your behavior. These scanty notes will act in your favor when you decide to contest the ticket. An officer's notes are acceptable as proof in traffic court. These sparse notes might also cause the officer to skip the hearing which will definitely be to your advantage.
  3. Check the ticket. Check the ticket immediately for inaccuracies or items that will hurt your case. Ask the officer politely to check the ticket and change anything that does not seem correct. If the officer refuses, note down the point. Do not bring points that will help your case to his attention. That means if the officer has noted down the wrong license plate number, let it go as it will help you in court.
  4. Do not lie and do not show fake proof of insurance cards. The Internet is filled with websites that will give you fake proof of insurance cards for a nominal fee. Please do not use them, as nearly every state now has online databases that will help the officer check your insurance carrier immediately. Carrying a fake insurance card can really get you into trouble. The offense and the resulting penalty can be as much as a $2,000 fine and a six month jail sentence, along with compulsory non-cancelable car insurance.
  5. Get insurance right away. Almost all insurance companies will offer you insurance over the phone. That means if you feel the officer is going to write you a ticket, ask your wife or husband or any person who is in the passenger seat to contact an insurance company and get approval over the phone. The process is approved and you will immediately get a number you can give the officer for confirmation. It's a little risky, but the process does work.
  6. What to do in court. Weigh the advantages of paying the ticket right away vs. the cost of going to court. You will need a lawyer and you may very likely lose the case. Plead 'not guilty' and enter your defense and evidence as clearly as possible. The actual decision rests on the judge you draw.
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How to Get a Copy of a Proof of Insurance Card

There are some instances in which you will need to provide a proof of insurance card before your insurance company has completed the paper work, in particular when you are buying a new car. Since many states has adopted a policy of not allowing drivers to take the road without this card this has become particularly important to drivers. When taking ownership of a new vehicle, whether from a dealer, or a private party, you should be aware of the process on how to go about getting an insurance card. Not only is this a good idea in the event you are pulled over but in many states you will be required to have this card to transfer the title or apply for registration. Typically there are only three ways to get a copy of your insurance card, through an agent, using the Internet or by the substituting an existing card already in use.

  1. Sit down with your agent. The first, and easiest, way to get a proof of insurance card is to go to see your insurance agent and get all of the paperwork done. Of course, this is complicated if you are at a dealership hoping to drive off the lot with a new card. Some agents will be able to do this paperwork over the phone and then fax a copy of this card to the dealership if needed. This is especially true if you already carry auto insurance on another vehicle through the agency. Once you have established your policy your agent should be able to immediately provide you with a new proof of insurance card allowing you to take your new car home.
  2. Use the Internet. The second way to get an insurance card is to use the Internet to do so. Buying insurance through any company via the Internet will afford the driver the option, at some point during the process, to print out insurance documents, including an insurance card. This is highly useful but may require a bit of time and energy, along with some money, to secure insurance in this manner. In addition some companies allow insured drivers to access their policies via the Internet and print out the documents they need.
  3. Use your existing card. In the event you are buying a vehicle, and currently carry insurance on another vehicle you are trading in, you can simply call your insurance company and swap the coverage. This will allow you to use your existing insurance card from your previous vehicle in place of the new one until you receive the physical documents for the newer car. Each state has unique laws in regards to this policy so do your homework ahead of time so that there aren't any surprises when you register the vehicle or want to take it home.
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How to Get a Temporary Car Insurance Card

If you wish to obtain a temporary car insurance card, you need to follow a few guidelines. If you have already purchased auto insurance coverage from any particular company, you will have to wait a few days until your policy is in effect. Although your policy may take effect on the very same day you sign your auto insurance contract, you may not receive your permanent car insurance card on the same day. You will thus have to use a temporary car insurance card since it's illegal to operate a vehicle without insurance. Apart from this, temporary insurance cards are also issued to individuals who want to purchase temporary car insurance policies. To find out more about getting these temporary insurance cards, read the guidelines listed below. Some guidelines:

  • If you have already purchased auto insurance and don't have your permanent card issued, you should first contact your auto insurance agent to ask them to send you a temporary card. Some insurance companies, allow you to download and print your temporary insurance card, soon after you've finalized your auto insurance policy.
  • Conversely, some insurance companies send you all relevant insurance details via email, after you've bought an insurance policy online. You can then follow the procedure listed in the email to acquire your temporary insurance card. Alternatively, visit your local auto insurance office in person and ask them to issue you a temporary card.
  • If you wish to travel internationally, or if you want to add a new driver (temporarily) to your policy, it makes sense to buy a temporary insurance policy. You can customize such temporary policies to suit your travel needs. You can also fix the date of expiration of the policy and select the type of coverage you really require. Once you've purchased a temporary insurance policy, you will be issued a temporary insurance card.
  • To get a temporary insurance policy, you need to shop around to find out which insurer offers you the best coverage at a reasonable price. To start off, contact your current auto insurance provider and ask them if you could take advantage of any short term insurance plans.
  • You could also visit the USInsurance website to look for good deals or look up some of the major insurers in the US and UK.
  • If you want to obtain a temporary insurance card since you will be travelling internationally, consider buying insurance before you leave your home country so all your arrangements are made before travellng overseas. Moreover, since the terms and conditions regarding auto insurance vary in each country, you're better off working with insurers in your country of residence.
  • Before looking for temporary car insurance, you should also verify if your policy already covers for driving any vehicle in your home country. If it does, you may not have to purchase temporary insurance, if you would like to use a friend's or relative's vehicle on a short term basis.
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The easiest way to get quotes and compare short term insurance plans is to use online quote comparison tools. However, you should carefully read the auto insurance contract to fully understand the terms and conditions and deductible amounts listed.

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