Why is Car Insurance Mandatory? Is This Unconstitutional?

The United States Constitution guarantees certain freedoms for American citizens. Some people feel that car insurance is unconstitutional: does it violate the Constitution to require drivers to have car insurance? Why is car insurance mandatory in the first place?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about the United States Constitution and how it relates to car insurance.

Courts Have Repeatedly Rejected Claims that Car Insurance is Unconstitutional

First, let’s get something out of the way: you’re not the first person to believe that mandatory car insurance requirements are unconstitutional. Many drivers have challenged various courts across the United States to argue that car insurance requirements are unconstitutional.mandatory auto insurance constitutional

In the vast majority of these cases, courts have rejected the claim that car insurance requirements are unconstitutional.

In October 1987, for example, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark verdict upholding the 1984 state mandatory auto insurance law. That law requires California motorists to prove they have liability insurance when stopped for traffic violations.

In this case, it was argued that the new law was unconstitutional because it effectively requires low-income motorists to carry insurance without guaranteeing that insurance will be available at an affordable rate.

The Supreme Court of California, however, rejected this claim because all drivers can still obtain coverage through state-backed “assigned risk” program that all private insurers are required to participate in. This assigned risk program provides more affordable rates to low income drivers.

Why is Car Insurance Mandatory?

Car insurance first became mandatory in the 1920s. In the 1920s, municipalities across the country were dealing with a significant problem: we had this amazing new technology called the automobile, and a growing number of people of all income levels were purchasing automobiles.

However, these automobiles were also dangerous. People were driving these large, dangerous automobiles at high speeds around other people, property, and vehicles. When an accident occurred, it caused far more damage than, say, a wagon accident had caused in previous years.

That’s when we developed mandatory auto insurance. Auto insurance was one of the most cost-efficient ways to protect the driver from license suspension and to do the right thing in the event of a car insurance accident causing serious consequences.

Without car insurance, only a certain number of drivers would be able to financially cover the damages caused by their vehicle accident. However, those damages – like medical expenses and property damages – still need to be covered by someone. If neither driver can afford to pay, say, $1 million in medical bills out of pocket, then society needs to incur those costs. Without insurance, society would be absorbing huge costs from every auto accident.

New Hampshire is the Only State That Doesn’t Require Auto Insurance

Ultimately, every state in America requires you to prove you have auto insurance – except one. That state is New Hampshire, which was founded under the motto, “Live Free or Die”.

Today, New Hampshire drivers are not required to prove they have auto insurance. They are, however, required to prove they have the financial means to cover a collision they cause. If you have enough money to pay for the medical expenses and property damages incurred in a collision you cause, for example, then you can safely avoid buying insurance in New Hampshire (assuming you’re willing to accept that risk).

Driving Is Not a Requirement

There’s another reason why mandatory car insurance isn’t a violation of the US Constitution: driving is a privilege and not a right. You don’t need to drive a vehicle.

Every state has individual requirements you need to meet in order to enjoy the privilege of driving a vehicle. Auto insurance is one such requirement.

Picture it like this: a company requires you to take a drug test in order to work for their company. That drug test is a requirement of working at the business. You’re not required to accept the job. The same thing applies to car insurance, at least from a Constitutional perspective.

Conclusion: Mandatory Car Insurance Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Car insurance in the United States is more affordable than car insurance in virtually any other developed country. That’s because the United States has some of the lowest liability requirements. Drivers in some states are required to have just $10,000 of liability coverage. That means drivers on a bare minimum plan might pay just $40 to $80 per month for car insurance.

The fact that car insurance is affordable is important. The affordability of car insurance makes it a legal requirement according to the US Constitution. If car insurance was unaffordable, then it would exclude certain low-income individuals.

It’s also important to remember that driving is a privilege, not a right.

Ultimately, if you genuinely believe your Constitutional rights are being violated by mandatory car insurance requirements, then schedule a consultation with a lawyer. However, most cases have upheld the idea that mandatory car insurance is Constitutionally acceptable.


  Comments: 8

  1. Until we improve public transportation in this country I think that driving should definitely be considered a right.

    • Actually in the 60s driving an automobile and use of one on public roads and highways was recognized as a right by the supreme court of the united states, the right to travel is in fact protected but apparently is allowed to be regulated so that they can get away with charging for a license that enters you into a contract with the DMV that states you agree to have insurance to exercise that right that has been smoke screened into a privilege. The government views this as an “ends justify the means” situation to protect other from loss and damages also to pay for loss and damages caused by others rather than utilizing the slavery as punishment to pay for the loss. Also kinda hard to prove criminal intent in an accident so. Not much people can do other than accept it or to exercise your rights how you see fit and fight for them when you feel they are being oppressed. Welcome to the American dream.

      • Your right about the supreme court. Its is a right to drive your personal automobile. You don’t need a license or tags to drive unless its for commerce. I’m pretty sure you still need insurance.

        If you try this you will be pulled over a lot but the law is on your side here and you can get out of it. DMV is for commerce drivers not for personal automobiles.

    • It should definitely be a right and the only reason it’s not considered a right is because that’s the way around the govt.abiding by the constitution.also since they have made it mandatory for every driver to be insured the insurance companies clientele has increased by a large percent shouldn’t the rates be reduced by that same percentage just saying…

  2. Russell Kuespert

    The US Government has maintained that a privilege is a right and can not be taken away without due process of the law.

  3. Driving is a privilege, as the legal definition of a “driver” is one who uses the public road to make a living; aka – truck drivers, company vehicle drivers, and buses.

    Traveling is a Right. If you own a car, its private property. If you are by yourself, how will you exercise the right of the public road use in today’s ordinary course of life, except by your own private household goods called a car?

    Stand up, but lets stand up together. Insurance, however, should be mandatory ONLY if you are involved in an accident or you violate the safety of others.

  4. Car insurance SHOULD be optional or it should be FREE. Vehicles being dangerous is no excuse to FORCE people into paying for insurance. What about the people who cannot afford to pay the high rates? The strict driving laws we have in place to deal with reckless driving are enough. Car insurance IS unconstitutional. I am a person of color saying this. I pray Bernie Sanders wins and gets rid of it for good! Car insurance SHOULD be AGAINST the law not in compliance with it.

  5. I completely stand for the fact that mandatory car insurance you have the right to free travel and in 1860 the horse was how everyone got around and in today’s society cars are how we get around. the fact the the government is going to require me to pay money to a private organization to profit on in order to travel is an infringement on our rights. many say well your using public roadways but its PUBLIC in which you paid for as a taxpayer to begin with again your going to make me pay to travel on a roadway in which i contributed to be constructed. and maintained. and on the public note why don’t bicyclists have to have insurance? people get hit by bikes its not that common but their are injuries. and again people ride bikes on public roadways. it is my full belief that the insurance companies put pressure on law makers to make and maintain these insurance laws. because when it is required your trapped. you have to have it so you are forced to pay outrageous premiums based off of statistics, race , gender , income , driving history age and many more factors. so you tell me how that is not an infringement of our rights. do we lay down and pay or stand up and fight the tyranny imposed upon us by this broken once great nation.

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