How to Remove a Car Registration Suspension in California

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If you get pulled over or return from vacation to a stuffed mailbox, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise: Your vehicle registration could be suspended. It’s a frustrating and sometimes scary situation.
The good news is that it’s easy to figure out why your registration has been suspended in California. It’s surprisingly easy to fix, and you can actually remove a suspension from home. By following a few simple steps, you can get back on the road in no time.

Why is my registration suspended?

Registration depends on insurance. Most states require drivers to have valid proof of insurance to legally operate a vehicle, and that rule applies to car owners as well.
If you own a vehicle you don’t drive, you must submit an official Affidavit of Non-Use. Otherwise, you’re still responsible for maintaining insurance on the vehicle.
There are a few specific scenarios that will cause the DMV to suspend your registration.
In the case of new or recently purchased cars, the new owner must submit proof of insurance within 30 days of transfer of ownership or initial registration. This gives owners time to find appropriate and affordable insurance, even if they make a spur-of-the-moment decision to purchase or trade for a vehicle. However, if the new owner forgets to submit evidence of their new insurance, the DMV will suspend registration.
In the second scenario, an insurance policy may come to an end and the owner may simply forget to renew or replace it.
If the DMV is notified that a policy’s coverage has ended, they must receive notification of a new policy within 45 days. This length of time allows car owners who receive monthly paychecks to get fresh funds and do some research to find a new policy.
The final reason why the DMV may suspend registration is false evidence of insurance. The DMV isn’t interested in a paper claiming you have insurance, but rather the insurance itself. If you’re considering trying to dupe the DMV, you should rethink your plan. The DMV does its research, and your insurance company may send updates about your status directly to the state.
Key Takeaway Your registration is suspended if you do not provide a valid proof of insurance within 30 days after buying a new car, or 45 days after your coverage ends.

How to remove a car registration suspension in California

The DMV is required to send owners a notice of suspension. It typically arrives as a letter with official state markings. That letter is your first tool in reinstating your registration. The letter should include both a web address and a mailing address. In order to fix the problem, you will need to submit the following to either address:
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • $14 to pay the service fee for reinstatement
If you don’t receive such a letter, don’t worry. There is an easy way around the problem. Simply go to the official California DMV website and follow the appropriate links. You’ll be directed to a mailing address where you can send your fee and proof of insurance, along with a number you can call for any questions you may have.

How to avoid car registration suspension in the future

To prevent a suspension, you have to keep active liability insurance. While it’s easy to miss a reminder from your insurer in your mail or email, avoiding a suspension is all about vigilance. To make that job easier, there are a few simple tricks you can try.
The best way to keep on top of your insurance is to be proactive. Don’t wait until you need a reminder. Use physical or digital calendars to mark important insurance dates so you don’t have to rely on the insurer’s last-minute reminders.
Paying insurance fees in advance is another simple way to essentially hit snooze on your responsibility to the DMV. By paying for several months at a time, you’re not only protecting your registration, but you may get a better price from your insurer. You save yourself the reinstatement fee and you pay less for insurance.
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What is a suspended registration?

A suspended registration is when the state removes your right to take your vehicle on the road until your registration is reinstated.

How can I find out if my registration is suspended?

You will usually find out if your registration is suspended by mail. The DMV will send you mail notifying you of the next steps to take to get reinstated, along with the appropriate addresses.
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