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A friend of a friend recently had this situation come up. They were driving uninsured as a result of one of their housemates having tossed the bills as they came in. They learned they were uninsured after another car struck them and, on contacting the insurance company, being told that they had missed their payment and that the company had suspended their account. I know that Corbin vs Khosla (2002) established that an uninsured motorist can hold the at-fault driver liable for their damages, but they're also worried that, if they contact the other insurance company, then they will be reported for uninsured driving (despite that they were unaware that they were uninsured at the time) and face fines or a license suspension. As I understand it, there were no police at the site of the accident, since it was so minor, so they exchanged information, but there was no official police presence.

Is an insurance company allowed to threaten to report the uninsured driver to avoid having to pay for the driver who caused the accident? This is in Pennsylvania, in the Allegheny County area.

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    Is the title incorrect? It makes it seem both drivers are uninsured.
    – Damila
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 23:31
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    Who is this "other insurance company"?
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 23:39
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    @Damila: Thank you. I have fixed that.
    – SCD
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 2:20
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    I don't know your local laws and regulations but many times you need to report an accident to the police in order to get compensation, so this might not be exactly a "threatening"
    – Rsf
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 8:18
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    Just a note from the UK that "believing you were insured" at the time can be a valid excuse. See rac.co.uk/drive/advice/legal/driving-without-insurance otherwise it's points on your licence/fine/possible ban. In the UK insurance/road tax/MOT is monitored by ANPR so the chances are the authorities would know within a day that your insurance had expired. Any accident involving an uninsured driver must be reported to the police.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 10:14

1 Answer 1

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Threatening to report the uninsured driver to avoid payment would be blackmail and illegal / criminal. As a result, they are not going to do this. Reporting the uninsured driver on the other hand is their civic duty. So they can get your friend into trouble, but they can't get around paying.

Is your friend insured now? If not, tell him to get insured IMMEDIATELY. And if they are very lucky, the other company doesn't figure out your friend was uninsured, and they get away with it when they make a claim. Alternatively, tell them to figure out how much the damage is, how much the repair will cost, and whether it is worth taking the risk.

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  • How is the other insurance company not going to figure out they were uninsured? First thing they have to do is contact them to arrange blame-share; who pays for what, what the other car's damage is, etc. idk how this works in Pennsylvania, but in the UK reporting the uninsured driver to the police is mandatory, no 'threat' involved.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 10:35
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    Upvoting for "get insured immediately" - you're always less likely to get into trouble for an error if you can show in good faith that you tried to fix it immediately on discovery. It might seem shitty, but filing a police report for destruction of mail against the housemate might give your friend some evidence as well that they were not to blame for the situation
    – lupe
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 13:45
  • My experience in California is I couldn't get my insurance company to care that the at-fault semi truck was uninsured. I filed a police report with the highway patrol to try to get the insurance information after my insurance co reported that lookup didn't work and the highway patrol couldn't be bothered to look it up either. Only on pressing my claim with my own insurance under uninsured motorist (they said "it's insured", I said "prove it"; it wasn't) did I get any traction at all. The semi owner paid me.
    – Joshua
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 16:26

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