There are a number of reasons why a motorist may have driving privileges suspended and each can have a different effect on auto insurance while some suspensions may not have any effect at all. Individuals who have had their driver's license suspended for committing moving traffic violations may experience rate increases or even cancellation or non-renewal of a policy, while those who have received a licensing suspension for non-driving related offenses may not see premiums or policies adversely affected.
The majority of motorists are well aware that obtaining traffic tickets for moving violations will usually cause a premium increase and obtaining multiple violations or committing a serious offense can result in suspended driving privileges as well as being dropped by the auto insurance company currently insuring the motorist. Some of the most serious driving offenses that may lead to the suspension of a driver's license include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI, DWI, OWI, etc.)
- Eluding a police officer
- Felony involving a motor vehicle
- Hit and run
- Reckless driving
- Reckless endangerment in a construction zone
- Vehicular assault, manslaughter or homicide
- Operating without valid Financial Responsibility
The above-mentioned offenses are likely to negatively impact rates, with some having an adverse effect on car insurance coverage premiums for years following a conviction. For the most part, violating these laws can be avoided by simply being responsible behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. However, depending on a particular state's laws, there are other ways to have drivers' licenses suspended without committing a moving violation and may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Failure to pay child support
- Theft of motor vehicle fuel
- Medical condition which may put others in danger
- Court probation violations
- Failure to appear in court or pay tickets such as a "fix-it" or parking ticket
- Committing fraud
- Caught with alcohol, drugs, or firearms as a minor
- Undergoing treatment for alcohol/chemical dependency
- Leaving an unattended child in a running vehicle
Generally, having a driver's license suspended for non moving violations will usually not cause an increased premium or cancellation or non-renewal of a policy, but guidelines may vary by company. Reasons for driving privilege suspensions also vary by state and the items mentioned may or may not apply to certain motorists; individuals may want to become familiar with their state's laws to avoid a suspension.
In addition, those who have had their driver's license suspended and decide to discontinue auto insurance policies or have had a policy canceled or non-renewed as a result should be aware that many companies may charge higher premiums to motorists who have not been continuously insured. Prior to discontinuing coverage or when receiving a notice of cancellation or non-renewal, it may be wise to consider keeping the current policy or seeking a new insurer to avoid increased rates when licensing is reinstated.