Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility (FMFR), or “no insurance,” is a serious traffic offense. If charged, the legal team at Berlof & Newton, P.C. can help protect your driving record and avoid the costly consequences. Let’s explore the consequences of FMFR and understand what it means.
What Does Fail to Maintain Financial Responsibility Mean?
Financial responsibility laws are linked to cars and require individuals or businesses to prove they can pay for accident damages. They don’t need insurance but must show they have the money to cover all the costs, regardless of fault.
Financial responsibility law (commonly associated with automobiles) requires an individual or business. To demonstrate that they have sufficient funds or assets to pay for damages resulting from an accident.
Financial responsibility laws vary by state, so they may differ depending on where the individual lives, and failure to comply may result in severe penalties.
Most auto insurance policies provide enough coverage to meet the requirements of financial responsibility laws, so carrying even the bare minimum can keep you from breaking them.
Understanding the Law of Financial Responsibility
Almost all states require individual vehicle owners to carry some level of automobile liability insurance. Only New Hampshire and Virginia do not currently require some level of liability insurance coverage.
Financial responsibility laws prevent the burden from falling entirely on the non-guilty party in the event of an accident in which the person at fault does not have insurance coverage.
Most states accept insurance as proof of financial responsibility and require it for vehicle registration due to minimum coverage limits in insurance policies.
In some states, a surety bond can replace insurance to meet financial responsibility laws. Instead of insurance, certain states may ask for a cash deposit from vehicle owners. Businesses with employee-driven vehicle fleets may be allowed to self-insure to comply with the laws, but individuals usually cannot choose self-insurance.
Individuals in Virginia can pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee at the time of vehicle registration.
This does not absolve the owner of financial responsibility if the vehicle is involved in an accident. It also does not provide them with any kind of insurance. The uninsured motor vehicle fee in Virginia is valid for 12 months.
Legal Requirements for Financial Responsibility
Authorities may ask for proof of financial responsibility for different purposes, such as after accidents, during traffic stops, when registering a vehicle, and for reinstating a suspended license.
Failure to prove compliance with the law can lead to penalties like fines, license suspension, and vehicle registration suspension. This can affect future auto insurance attempts, as insurers may increase rates or refuse coverage altogether.
Noncompliance with these laws can jeopardize other assets, such as a home, if the vehicle owner lacks the financial resources to pay for damages resulting from accidents for which they are held liable.
Factors That May Influence the Fines the State Expects You to Pay
Traffic ticket fines depend on factors like the offense type and whether it is a repeat offense for no insurance. Paying the ticket only leads to points, surcharges, and higher insurance costs.
The Implications of Citation
Not having insurance or financial responsibility leads to penalties. Multiple offenses lead to a suspended license. Without liability insurance, you’re responsible for expenses in fault accidents. Keep your vehicle insured to avoid consequences.
Verifying Coverage and Getting the Citation Dismissed
If you receive a citation for no insurance or failure to show proof of insurance, but had valid insurance at the time, you must provide proof to the court within 15 days to dismiss the citation. Other dismissals require a court appearance, and you must provide specific documents to verify your insurance coverage.
- Date the policy went into effect and its expiration date
- Each covered vehicle’s make, model, and year
- Name and address of each policyholder
- A statement from the insurance company or the limits of the policy that meet the minimum liability insurance requirements for that vehicle
- The policy number
If your proof doesn’t meet all six requirements and is presented to the Court, it will be rejected. The declaration page of your auto insurance policy is the best document. An insurance card with the listed items will also work. If neither are available, a letter from your insurance carrier with all the necessary information will suffice.
Driving Someone Else’s Car
To receive citations for driving someone else’s car, you need proof of the owner’s authorization and that you are not excluded under their insurance policy. A signed letter from the owner granting permission is sufficient.
It should be noted that few, if any, insurance companies will accept liability if an unlicensed driver operates the vehicle. As a result, unlicensed drivers are almost always barred from purchasing insurance.
Failure to Validate Coverage
The Clerk will verify insurance coverage with the insurance company once the Court obtains proof of liability insurance. If both the vehicle and driver have valid insurance, no further appearance or fees are necessary. However, if you did not have valid insurance at the time of the citation, you will be responsible for the fines and costs imposed.
You may, however, request deferred disposition/probation to avoid a conviction on your driving record and ensure future affordable insurance. If a defendant does not have valid liability insurance, he or she will not be eligible for deferred disposition/probation.
Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility
If you have been charged with Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility (No Liability Insurance), you must appear in court before the date specified on your citation to do one of the following:
If you had insurance when stopped, show proof of coverage to the Judge for dismissal. Contact your insurance company by phone to confirm coverage. Submit proof of insurance by mail or in person.
If you are unable to provide valid proof of insurance, you must pay the fine or appear in court on the date and time specified on your citation. Payment of the fine will result in a reported conviction on your driving record.
Each conviction for this offense will result in the State of Texas levying a $250.00 annual surcharge. For three (3) consecutive years) under the Driver Responsibility Act. Convictions for multiple offenses will result in multiple surcharges. There may be additional charges.
A second offense of this crime in Texas will lead to the suspension of your license and registration unless you show proof of insurance to the Texas Department of Public Safety for two years after the conviction.
Failure to Keep Financial Responsibility. No car insurance. Offenders who drive without auto liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility face consequences. Understand the consequences to avoid financial responsibility failure.