Although you can’t legally drive with a suspended license, you might still need car insurance. Though getting insurance with a suspended license can be difficult, it’s not impossible. Find out why you might need car insurance with a suspended license, how you can get it, and what happens if you drive with a suspended license.
If you are convicted of a serious driving offense, your driver’s license may be suspended and your driving privileges taken away temporarily. In some cases, allowances can be made if you need your car to get to work or to take your child to school, but they’re very restrictive.
Having your driver’s license suspended is different than having it revoked. If your driver’s license is revoked, your driving privileges are usually gone for good. In some cases, you may be able to apply for a new driver’s license after a certain period of time. Each state sets its own rules and regulations for suspending, reinstating, and revoking a driver’s license.
Laws regarding motor vehicles and driving vary by state. In general, your driver’s license can be suspended for reasons that include:
- A medical condition that impairs driving
- Driving without insurance
- An accident that was not reported
- Too many driving record points or tickets in a specific time period
- Not appearing in court for an outstanding ticket
- Not paying child support
- Drinking underage
- An alcohol or drug conviction (DUI/DWI/OUI)
- Refusal to complete a blood, breath, or urine test
- Failing a test for drugs or alcohol
- Committing a hit-and-run accident/leaving the scene
The length of the suspension and the steps to get your license back will vary based on the state it is suspended in and the reason for the suspension.
Although you are not required to carry insurance if your driver’s license has been suspended, it’s a good idea to do so in many cases. Having insurance may also be required in order to reinstate your drivers license.
To Prevent a Gap in Coverage
If you let your insurance coverage lapse, you’re likely to face higher rates when you get your license reinstated and buy new insurance than if you had maintained your policy throughout your suspension period.
To Avoid Fines and Penalties
In some states, you may face penalties or fines if your car has valid license plates but you’re uninsured. For instance, in Maryland, you can be fined $150 for the first 30 days and $7 per day after that if your vehicle is tagged but uninsured – even if the car isn’t driven.
To Satisfy Your Lending or Lease Agreement
If you’ve financed or leased your vehicle, you may be contractually obligated to carry insurance regardless of your driver’s license status.
To Obtain a Hardship or Restricted License
If you still have to drive to work or to school, you may be eligible for a hardship or restricted license for commuting purposes. Not only will you need car insurance, you may be required to have your insurer file an SR-22 form to prove you’ve met your state’s mandatory minimum coverage requirements.
To Protect Your Car
Another reason to carry car insurance while your license is suspended is to have coverage in case something happens. For instance, your car could be struck by a hit-and-run driver or damaged by a weather event while it’s parked. Without insurance, you will have to pay for repairs yourself.
Get caught driving without insurance, and you risk having your license suspended. If that happens, you’ll need to buy car insurance before you can have your driving privileges restored. But not all companies will insure someone with a suspended license. Those that do will likely classify you as a high-risk driver, which can result in very high premiums.
If your driver’s license has been suspended and you need to buy insurance, here’s what to do:
- Apply for a hardship or restricted license. Many insurance companies won’t insure someone with a suspended license, but they may if you have a hardship or restricted license. Laws regarding this vary by state. Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to find out if you’re eligible to apply for a hardship or restricted driver’s license.
- Shop around for the cheapest insurance. High-risk drivers pay some of the highest premiums on average, and not all companies will insure them. Comparing quotes can help you get the best rate on car insurance with a suspended license.
- Obtain an SR-22 or FR-44. You may be required to have your insurer file a certificate of financial responsibility with your state to prove that you carry the required minimum amount of liability insurance.
The penalty for driving with a suspended license varies from state to state. If it is your first offense, you will likely face misdemeanor charges that could result in a fine of up to $2,500, jail time of a year or longer, or your vehicle being impounded. Additional violations may result in felony convictions with longer sentences and steeper fines. Please note that the information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.
An SR-22 bond or form, also known as a certificate of financial responsibility, is a document your insurance company files with the state to certify that you carry the mandatory minimum amount of liability coverage. You might be required to obtain an SR-22 if you:
- Drive without the minimum required insurance coverage
- Have too many tickets or at-fault accidents
- Fail to pay child support
- Have been convicted of a serious driving offense, including drug- and alcohol-related violations
- Have too many points in a short period
- Need to obtain a hardship or restricted driver’s license
If you live in Florida or Virginia, you will be required to obtain an FR-44 certificate in lieu of an SR-22 bond. Like an SR-22, an FR-44 indicates that you have sufficient liability insurance. Unlike an SR-22, this amount exceeds the state’s mandatory minimum requirements.
The cost of obtaining an SR-22 varies depending on the insurance company. Some file the certification for free, while others charge a fee that typically ranges from $15 to $25. In most cases, you’ll need to carry an SR-22 for three years. It is your responsibility to alert your insurance company when it comes time to remove the SR-22 from your policy.
If you are required to obtain an SR-22, the first thing to do is to call your car insurance company and request one. Not all insurance companies will file an SR-22 form on your behalf. If your current insurer does not, you’ll have to switch car insurance to find a company that does. If you don’t currently have car insurance, you’ll need to get a policy in order to obtain an SR-22.
In some cases, you may still be able to drive on a limited basis if you’ve had your license revoked. The rules for obtaining a so-called hardship or restricted driver’s license vary by state, and not everyone who applies for one will qualify. Generally speaking, you will need to demonstrate that you need your vehicle in order to get to work, to attend class or take your child to school, or to receive medical care or addiction treatment.
You also may have to provide verification of employment or classroom enrollment, pay legal or administrative fees, obtain an SR-22 or FR-44 form, agree to drive only during certain hours of the day or along certain routes, or even install monitoring equipment like an ignition interlock device on your car if you’ve been convicted of a drug- or alcohol-related offense.
For more information about auto insurance, see the following guides:
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