Can My License Be Suspended for Not Having Insurance?
Failing to carry and maintain an auto insurance policy can lead to a driver's license suspension, but whether it actually does depends on the situation. Each state has different rules and regulations when it comes to when a motorist needs to be insured and remain insured. Typically, only car owners and operators will need to be covered by an auto policy to keep their driving privileges.
Suspension for Driving Uninsured
Operating a vehicle without auto coverage is rarely taken lightly by the authorities, and if a motorist is caught, it will lead to some sort of punishment. The state penalties for driving without car insurance vary, and while some might seem like a slap on the wrist, other consequences can be quite harsh and really put an offender in a hard spot.
Being caught behind the wheel without an auto policy for the first time in Idaho will lead to a $75 fine, but other states take this offense much more seriously.
In New Jersey, for example, the penalty for being convicted of driving uninsured is a fine between $300-$1,000, a one-year license suspension, and community service. To many, the fine may be the consequence that may stick out, but being unable to drive for a year can make it difficult to complete everyday tasks.
The following states may also suspend driving privileges for a first offense of being caught operating a car without auto insurance:
|Florida||3 years or until proof of coverage is provided|
|Indiana||Up to one year|
|Maine||Suspended until proof of coverage is provided|
|Michigan||30 days or until proof of coverage is provided|
|Minnesota||Suspended until proof of coverage is provided|
|Mississippi||1 year or until proof of coverage is provided|
|Missouri||Suspended until proof of coverage is provided and reinstatement fee is paid|
|Nebraska||Suspended until SR-22 is filed and reinstatement fee is paid|
|New Jersey||1 year|
|North Dakota||Suspended until proof of coverage is provided and any applicable fees are paid|
|Oklahoma||Suspended until coverage is in place and any applicable fines are paid|
|Pennsylvania||3 months and proof of coverage must be provided|
|Rhode Island||3 months|
|South Carolina||$550 license reinstatement fee must be paid and an electronic SR-22 must be filed with the DMV|
|South Dakota||30 days to 1 year|
|Tennessee||Suspended until proof of coverage is provided and license exam is passed|
|Utah||Suspended until vehicle owner can provide proof of coverage|
|Virginia||Suspended until proof of coverage is in place and any applicable fees are paid|
|West Virginia||30 days if fine of $200 and coverage is not purchased before the effective suspension date|
Motorists should keep in mind that these are the penalties for first time offenses; subsequent offenses can result in much more serious consequences such as car registration suspensions and even jail time.
Fortunately, individuals who live in states that allow driving privileges to be reinstated by providing documentation of a policy can usually get instant proof of insurance once they purchase the needed car coverages. Motorists who need an SR-22 may also be able to have this sent to the department that would lift the suspension electronically to get them back on the road as soon as possible.