If you get convicted of a serious traffic violation, such as a DUI, or get caught driving without insurance, you could lose your driving privileges. How will it impact your car insurance, and can you even get a policy with a suspended license?
The short answer is you can still get car insurance if your license has been suspended; however, it’s generally a much harder process and you might find that some insurance companies will refuse to insure you. In addition, you may need supplemental certificates, such as an SR-22 or FR-44, to get your license back.
Here’s a quick look at how to get car insurance with a suspended license, including which companies offer it and whether insurance is legally required when your license is suspended.
Do I need car insurance if my license has been suspended?
In most cases, you need to have car insurance if your license has been suspended. There are a few reasons for this.
If you have a suspended license, you might need to show proof of car insurance to apply for a restricted license, or to have your driving privileges reinstated. In addition, car insurance might be a requirement to satisfy the terms of an auto loan or lease. And in some states, you can be fined if your car has valid license plates and registration but does not have an active car insurance policy.
Can you get car insurance with a suspended license?
Typically, you can’t purchase a car insurance policy if your license is suspended. Before you can get coverage, you need to apply for a restricted or conditional license, which will reinstate some of your driving privileges, with conditions.
Once you have applied for a restricted license, you can start shopping for car insurance. With a restricted license, your best option is to get car insurance from a provider that sells non-standard insurance, which is reserved for high-risk drivers.
Non-standard car insurance is generally more expensive than regular car insurance, and these policies usually have limited coverage. For example, some non-standard policies only provide minimum coverage or full coverage insurance, with few options for add-ons or endorsements.
In addition, many high-risk drivers must get an SR-22 or FR-44 certificate to reinstate their driving privileges. These certificates verify that you carry the minimum amount of car insurance required in your state. SR-22s stay on your record for several years, during which time you will pay a higher rate for car insurance.
Where can you get car insurance with a suspended license?
If your driver’s license is suspended, you might find that popular car insurance companies, such as State Farm or Allstate, will not issue a policy. With restricted driving privileges, you will likely have to purchase a policy from a non-standard car insurance company, such as:
- The General
- National General
- Bristol West
While non-standard providers are more likely to insure high-risk drivers (and provide SR-22 certificates), it’s worth contacting preferred providers to see if you can get a car insurance policy. Depending on the reason why your driving privileges were suspended, you may find that a more reputable company will insure you.
If you are in the market for car insurance with a restricted license, it’s even more important to shop around and get quotes from multiple providers. As a high-risk driver, you can expect to pay more for car insurance than a driver with a clean record. However, comparing quotes can help you find the cheapest car insurance company for your situation.
Why you should maintain car insurance while your license is suspended
If you already have a car insurance policy, and your license gets suspended, it can be tempting to cancel your policy. After all, you aren’t allowed to legally get behind the wheel, and you’re paying for insurance on a car that you can’t drive.
However, there are a number of reasons why you should maintain car insurance while your driver’s license is suspended. Here are a few of the biggest ones:
- Avoid a lapse in coverage: If you cancel your car insurance policy while your license is suspended, it will create a lapse, or a gap in your coverage. When you eventually apply for a new policy, having a lapse in your coverage can be a red flag. In addition, you might pay a higher premium in the future because you canceled your policy in the past.
- Continuous protection for your car: Even if you can’t drive your vehicle, certain types of insurance provide protection while the car is parked in the driveway. If you have a full coverage policy, comprehensive coverage will pay for weather damage, theft, vandalism, and damage from falling objects if anything happens to the car. If you cancel your policy, the car is not protected against those potential risks.
- Satisfy loan or lease requirements: If you lease or finance your car, you might be required to maintain continuous insurance as part of the agreement. If you cancel your policy, the insurance company may get notified, which can put your loan or lease agreement in jeopardy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a driver’s license suspension?
A driver’s license suspension means that your driving privileges have been taken away due to a certain conviction or violation. If your driver’s license is suspended, you cannot legally drive, except in certain circumstances, such as commuting to work or school.
There are a variety of reasons why your license might get suspended. If you drive under the influence, refuse a breathalyzer test, drive without insurance, cause a serious traffic accident with injuries or fatalities, commit a hit-and-run, or fail to show up to traffic court, your driving privileges can get taken away.
License suspension is temporary, and eventually, your license will be reinstated after you complete the reinstatement process. It’s important to note that a suspended driver’s license is different from a revoked license. If your driving privileges are revoked, it typically means you can never get your license back.
Can I lower my car insurance coverage if my license is suspended?
Yes, you are allowed to lower your car insurance coverage if your license is suspended. As long as you carry the minimum amount of coverage required in your state, you have full control over how much coverage you have.
So, for example, if you have a full coverage car insurance policy and you lose your driver’s license, you would be allowed to drop down to a minimum coverage policy. But while lowering your coverage will help you save money, it will also leave your car unprotected against certain risks while the car is parked.
What happens if I drive with a suspended license?
If you drive with a suspended license, and you get caught, you can face serious consequences. While the specific penalties are different in every state, you can expect to face a fine, jail time, or potentially both.
Your vehicle can also get impounded if you get caught driving with a suspended license. If this happens, you have to pay the fine for driving without a license, as well as the fee to get your car out of impound. It’s also possible that this offense will result in an even longer license suspension.