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Car insurance with a suspended license

Lower your rates with less coverage, but driving on a suspension could nullify your insurance.

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Keeping at least minimal car insurance coverage keeps your car protected, even after a suspended license. However, a suspension probably means that you’ll need to file proof of insurance, and not all companies will insure drivers who need this proof. Compare insurers that specialize in covering high-risk drivers, looking for the widest coverage available at an affordable rate for your budget.

Why do I need car insurance with a suspended license?

Even if you can’t drive due to a suspension, you’ll probably still need insurance on your car. Reasons to keep your policy:

  • To avoid a coverage lapse. If you cancel your policy without another one in place, your coverage will lapse. Insurance companies consider that an increased risk, which could raise your rates significantly for several years.
  • To cover other drivers. Family members or other named drivers may need your car to get around.
  • To keep your car registered. When you renew registration, you’re required to have proof of insurance, and your insurance company requires a valid license to get coverage. With a suspended license, you may need a special SR-22 policy to provide the necessary proof.
  • To protect your car in storage. Your car could still be vulnerable to damage while in storage, such as fire, theft, vandalism or natural disasters.

How much is car insurance after a suspended license?

With a suspended license, you can expect your insurance rates to increase by 10% to 50%, possibly more for DUI suspensions. Since the average annual insurance rate is $1,300, you might pay around $1,690 after a 30% increase.

On the other hand, you could see lower rates if you’re keeping only comprehensive coverage while putting your car in storage. Your insurer may offer a special rate for storage insurance if you’re not driving it.

The cost of your policy depends on the reason your license is suspended. That’s because your insurance rates increase based on the risk you pose to your insurance company.

How long does a suspension stay on my record?

How long a suspension stays on record can depend on the reason for the suspension. You can expect three to five years, possibly longer for a suspension due to DUI or reckless driving.

Penalties for driving without a license

StateFinesJail timeCar impoundmentLicense suspension
Alabama$150-$5500-180 daysYesPossible, up to 6 months
AlaskaN/AAt least 10 daysYesPossible, up to 90 days
ArizonaN/AUp to 6 monthsYesN/A
ArkansasNo more than $500Between 2 days and 6 monthsN/AN/A
California$300-$1000 fineBetween 5 days and 6 monthsN/AN/A
ColoradoNo more than $500Imprisonment for no more than 6 monthsN/ALicense suspension increased by 1 year
Connecticut$150-$200 fine, or bothImprisonment for no more than 3 monthsN/AN/A
Delaware$500-$1,000 fineImprisonment for between 30 days and 6 monthsPossible vehicle impoundment of at least 90 daysN/A
District of ColumbiaFine of no more than $2,500Imprisonment for no more than 1 yearNAN/A
Florida$500 fineImprisonment for no more than 60 daysYesN/A
GeorgiaNo more than $500 fineImprisonment for between 2 days and 1 yearN/AYes
Hawaii$250-$1,000 fineImprisonment for 3-30 daysN/ALicense suspension increased by 1 year
IdahoFine of no more than $1,000Imprisonment for between 2 days and 6 monthsN/ALicense suspension increased by 180 days
IllinoisFine of no more than $2,500Imprisonment for no more than 1 yearYesN/A
IndianaFine of no more than $10,000Imprisonment for between 6 months and 2 yearsN/AN/A
Iowa$250-$1,500 fineN/AN/ALicense suspension increased for an additional like period or for one year, whichever is shorter
KansasFine of at least $100Imprisonment for at least 5 daysN/ALicense suspension increased by 90 days
KentuckyFine of at least $100Imprisonment for at least 5 daysN/ALicense suspension increased by 90 days
LouisianaFine of no more than $500Imprisonment for no more than 6 monthsN/ALicense suspension increased by 1 year
Maine$200N/AN/APossible license suspension of 1 year
MarylandFine of no more than $1,000Imprisonment for no more than 1 yearPossible vehicle impoundmentPossible license suspension increased by no more than 1 year
Massachusetts$500-$1,000 fineImprisonment for no more than 10 daysN/ALicense suspension increased by 60 days
MichiganFine of no more than $500Imprisonment for no more than 93 daysN/ALicense suspension increased by like period
MinnesotaFine of no more than $1,000Imprisonment for no more than 90 dayN/AN/A
Mississippi$200-$500 fineImprisonment for between 48 hours and 6 monthsN/ALicense suspension increased by 6 months
MissouriN/ANo set term of imprisonment; not to exceed one year.N/AN/A
MontanaFine of no more than $500Imprisonment for between 2 days and 6 monthsVehicle used is seized and rendered inoperable for 30 days.License suspension increased by 1 year
NebraskaN/AN/AN/AUnable to operate any motor vehicle for 1 year; license revocation for like period.
NevadaFine of no more than $1,000Imprisonment for no more than 6 monthsN/AIf license (suspended), extension of suspension by like period
New HampshireFine of no more than $1,000Imprisonment for at least 1 weekN/ALicense suspension increased by 1 year
New JerseyFine of no more than $1,000Imprisonment for at least 1 weekN/ALicense suspension increased by 1 year
New MexicoPossible fine of no more than $1,000Imprisonment for 4-364 daysPossible vehicle immobilizationN/A
New York$200-$500 fineImprisonment for no more than 30 daysN/AN/A
North CarolinaFine of no more than $200Imprisonment for no more than 30 daysN/AN/A
North Dakota$1,500 fineImprisonment for no more than 30 daysN/AN/A
OhioFine of no more than $1,000500 hours community servicePossible license plate impoundmentN/A
Oklahoma$50-$300 fineImprisonment for no more than 30 daysN/AN/A
Oregon$220-$2,000 fineN/APossible vehicle impoundmentN/A
Pennsylvania$200 fineN/AN/ALicense suspension increased by 1 year if originally suspended, 2 years if it was originally revoked
Rhode Island$250-$500 fineImprisonment for up to 90 daysN/ALicense suspension up to 90 days
South Carolina$300 fineImprisonment for no more than 30 daysN/AN/A
South DakotaFine of no more than $2,000Imprisonment for no more than 30 daysN/AN/A
TennesseeFine of no more than $500Imprisonment for not more than 6 monthsN/ALicense suspension increased by like period of time
TexasFine of no more than $500Imprisonment for no more than 180 daysN/AN/A
Utah$1,000 fineImprisonment of no more than 6 monthsN/AN/A
VermontFine of no more than $5,000Imprisonment for no more than 2 yearsN/APossible seizure of license plates
VirginiaFine of no more than $2,500Imprisonment for no more than 12 monthsN/AN/A
WashingtonFine of no more than $5,000Imprisonment for no more than 364 daysN/AN/A
West Virginia$100-$500 fineImprisonment for 30-90 daysN/AN/A
Wisconsin$50-$200 fineN/AVehicle may be impoundedN/A
WyomingFine of no more than $750Imprisonment for no more than 6 monthsN/AN/A

How to save on car insurance after a suspension

You can still go after savings, even with this mark on your record. Avenues you might consider taking:

  • Get multiple quotes. Look into what insurance costs with several SR-22 providers so that you’re getting the best value.
  • Consider storage insurance or lower coverage. You could keep minimal coverage on your car if no one’s driving it, such as comprehensive or liability only.
  • Go with telematics. When you recover your license, consider a telematics policy. This uses an app or black box to track your driving, make safety suggestions and drive down rates.
  • Keep your driving record clean. Drive forward with safe habits from here on out, no matter what brought about your license suspension.
  • Share a policy. You might consider adding yourself to a family member’s policy and let others have access to your vehicle. You could also exclude yourself until you regain your license so that your driving risk isn’t a factor.
  • Take a safety course. Many companies provide a reward for safety course completion, and it could lower your premium overall.
  • Work with your doctor. If your license was suspended for medical reasons, ask your doctor what requirements you need to follow to get your license reinstated. You might need to prove your medical issue has been resolved by medication for a certain period of time.

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What coverage should I get?

Keeping at least minimal coverage on your car can be important, even though you’re not driving it. Types of coverage to consider:

  • Bodily injury liability. Required by your state to pay for others’ accident-related medical bills.
  • Property damage liability. May need to keep your state’s minimum limits for storing your car or minimal driving.
  • Uninsured/underinsured. Covers your car and others driving it for accidents with another driver who doesn’t have enough insurance.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP). May be required by some states to cover your own medical bills and income loss after an accident.
  • Comprehensive. This option protects your car from theft, fire and storm damage, even while it’s sitting in the garage.
  • Loan or lease GAP. Pays off your loan or lease if your car is totaled, even if theft occurs or another named driver totals it.

How do I file an SR-22?

Once you apply for insurance with an SR-22, your company should file a proof of insurance document with your DMV or state. However, call to make sure that’s the case.

Case study

James received a license suspension for multiple moving violations and discovered his insurer would no longer cover him. After getting several SR-22 coverage quotes, James started a new policy that was 20% more expensive than his previous policy without the suspension. Since his previous rate was $1,100, James will pay $660 extra over the next three years until he can remove the SR-22 from his policy.

What to watch out for

While you’re working to tidy up your record, be careful about a few patchy situations you might encounter.

  • Not informing your insurance company. Avoiding your insurance company could cause bumps down the road if the company finds out after the fact, or worse, after an accident.
  • Your insurance company drops you. Your insurer might deem you too high of a risk, but you can look for another company that offers SR-22 coverage.
  • Driving with a suspended license. Unless you have your license restored, this illegal driving could null your insurance agreement, leaving you unprotected.
  • Incurring extra charges. Aside from a premium surcharge, your suspension may cost you more for filing your SR-22, paying for tickets and state fees or receiving consequences for a coverage lapse.
  • Removing an SR-22. One positive date to mark on your calendar is the day you can take your SR-22 filing off your policy. But remember to contact your insurer to get it removed.

Do I have to tell my insurer about my suspension?

Yes. Most policies stipulate that you must tell your insurer about anything that raises your risk level unless you can reasonably expect the provider to know about it already.

  • If your insurer does know about it, informing them probably won’t affect your premiums.
  • If your insurer doesn’t know about it, not telling them may be used to deny a claim later on.

Avoid unnecessary headaches by alerting your insurance provider to any changes in your driving record, especially suspensions of your license, registration or plates.

Bottom line

You may not be driving around for a time, but you might need some coverage to keep your car and others driving it protected. To get the best SR-22 coverage, you can shop around with multiple providers.

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