How Long Do They Suspend Your License for No Insurance

Every state has different punishments for driving without insurance, but a license suspension is typically on the table—learn for how long here.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
background
If you are caught driving without
car insurance
, your state legal system will either suspend your license for a mandatory punishment length or until you provide
proof of insurance
and fulfill all reinstatement requirements.
  • Car insurance is legally required in almost every state.
  • Suspensions can last indefinitely—usually until you serve the designated punishment and/or fulfill the legal obligations that your state requires.
  • Driving without insurance can also include jail time, fines, and more.
  • You could be facing a longer suspension and additional punishments for the associated reason you were caught without insurance (traffic violation, car accident, etc.).

How long is a driver’s license suspension for driving without car insurance?

Almost every state nationwide requires a
minimum amount of auto insurance
to legally operate a vehicle on public roads (see exceptions for
New Hampshire
and
Virginia
).
Minimum insurance policies usually start with state-mandated coverage limits for
property damage liability coverage
and
bodily injury liability insurance
, with some states also requiring
personal injury protection
and
uninsured motorist coverage
. These minimum car insurance laws aim to create an accountability system for distributing financial responsibility after a car accident.
Driving without insurance can be punished with the suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration, for a mandatory amount of time and/or until you provide proof of insurance and fulfill all reinstatement requirements.
Here are a few license suspension terms for a first offense of not having insurance in various states:
  • Arizona
    : mandatory three-month suspension
  • Colorado
    : suspension until driver provides proof of insurance
  • Georgia
    : mandatory 60-day suspension
  • Mississippi
    : license suspended for one year or until driver provides proof of insurance
  • New Jersey
    : mandatory one-year suspension
  • Tennessee
    : mandatory suspension until driver retakes license exam and provides proof of insurance
In addition to your suspended driver’s license, you may also be subject to fines, reinstatement fees, jail time, a car impoundment, a misdemeanor against your record, community service, and an SR-22 requirement.
Longer suspensions and increased punishments will be given for a second offense of driving without insurance (and even more for subsequent offenses).

How do you get caught driving without insurance?

The most common way
police officers catch uninsured drivers
is through an adjacent traffic ticket. For example, you might get pulled over for speeding but end up with another citation for driving without insurance. Obviously, you could be facing a much longer license suspension if your associated violation is more severe than speeding, like a DUI.
Another way is after car accidents, where it’s proper legal procedure to share insurance information with the other involved parties. And if you were the
at-fault driver without insurance
, you could be sued for damages—which will make the license suspension seem negligible compared to the financial consequences you’ll be facing.
So you may think you’re in the clear as long as you don’t get pulled over and avoid car accidents—wrong! Law enforcement officers now have access to automatic license plate recognition systems that can instantly pull up a car’s insurance information. If you’re reported to law enforcement for not having insurance, you could be pulled over and ticketed if they spot you driving.
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How to avoid penalties for driving without insurance coverage

Believe it or not, driving without car insurance isn’t always a criminal or intentional act. Sometimes it’s a complete accident! Here are some ways you can avoid the penalties for driving without coverage.

Don’t miss car insurance payments

Setting up autopay isn’t necessarily conducive to shopping for the
best car insurance quotes
every renewal period, but it does guarantee that your policy will remain active.

Avoid lapses in insurance coverage

If you’re switching insurance companies, you’ll want to ensure no lapses in coverage occur during the transition. Notify your original provider that you’re switching policies, and let them know the date that your new policy will become active.
MORE: How to get car insurance with a bad driving record

Is there a car insurance grace period?

Some insurance providers offer a 10 to 30-day grace period if you miss a payment. This means you’ll still be covered if you have an unpaid bill. Make sure to read the terms of your contract to see the grace period length and if there are any penalties for using it.

How to check if your driver’s license is suspended

You can always check with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to see the status of your driver’s license.
If your license is suspended for driving without insurance, you may be able to reactivate your driving privileges right there at the DMV if you can show proof of insurance (SR-22 typically required) and fulfill the rest of your legal obligations (reinstatement fees, fines, etc.). But, of course, it all depends on your state’s legal process.
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FAQs

In
Florida
, driving without insurance will result in a suspension of up to three years, but it can be reinstated at any time by presenting proof of insurance (SR-22).
New York
has one of the weirder punishment scales for driving without car insurance. A daily civil penalty incurs (increasing every 30 days) until the total reaches $900 at 90 days. Your license will be suspended until the fees are paid and could result in your car being impounded. Other fines and reinstatement fees may also apply.
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