Suspended License Insurance Coverage: All you need to know about it
The roads are always dangerous, and no matter how safely you drive your car, minor to major accidents are always hanging over your head, and they are always just one unfortunate event away. With over 6 million passenger car accidents in the US as of 2019, the chances of you getting in a road accident are very high. This is what makes having auto insurance coverage important. But there are instances when I cannot have a proper car insurance policy.
In case of a traffic violation that leads to the suspension of your driving license, many insurance companies will not cover your vehicle since you are not eligible to drive. But staying with a car that’s registered to your name without active auto insurance can lead to many issues, the most common being a price hike in auto insurance rates due to coverage gap.
This is why there are many suspended license insurance coverage options for people with suspended licenses so that they can drive the car under some circumstances, or someone else can. It also prevents an insurance coverage gap, which would keep your insurance rates normal. Let’s see how to get this insurance coverage and why.
First Step: Getting a License
We know that it might sound weird but you will need a license to drive a car and get auto insurance. If your driving license has been suspended, you can opt for a temporary, special driving license that will give you some driving privileges. Let’s see what your options are.
Restricted License: As the name suggests, a restricted license will reinstate your driving privileges but only under some circumstances. This license is also called a hardship license and every state has different rules and regulations. You’ll have to contact your local DMV to know if you are eligible for a restricted license. If you have had a previous license suspension, you might be denied your restricted license.
A restricted license will allow you to drive your car during the day and for important purposes such as driving to work or school. No weekend trips and driving around the city.
Conditional License: Some states would allow you to have a conditional license if you pass a test at the DMV. It depends on the state and the reason for your driving license suspension whether you qualify for a conditional license or not. To get this license, you’ll have to attend some driving lessons and classes. This license would be enough to fulfil your basic driving requirements.
SR-22 or FR-44 Insurance
After you’ve been in an accident or a traffic violation, the DMV will let your insurance company know. This alone is enough to make it very difficult for you to get lower car insurance rates. But you still have the option to drive safely and legally.
If your traffic violation was a serious one, such as driving under the influence, first you need to get your license reinstated (restricted or conditional license). This is very important as no insurance company will give you a car insurance policy without a driving license.
After you get an insurance policy, either you or your insurance company will have to file for an SR-22 or FR-44 insurance coverage. It also depends on the type of violation, so the court would let you know if you are required to fill out the SR-22 form.
SR-22 or FR-44 is not an auto insurance policy. It is just a legal document that your insurer signs that tell the court that you have the required minimum liability coverage or more as mandated by the state. SR-22 states that you have the minimum coverage and FR-44 states that you are insured with coverage exceeding the minimum limit.
Many general insurance companies might not give you a car insurance policy after your license suspension, but there are other insurance companies that take in “high-risk” drivers who are more likely to get in a car accident and make an insurance claim.
Do note that after a traffic violation and license suspension, your insurance rates will go high. You’ll have to pay a lot more than normal to get coverage. This is why it is recommended that you choose the insurance company that offers the right coverage at the right price.
Even if you are not allowed to drive your car (and you shouldn’t because if you are found to be driving your car without a license, you could face high fines and even some jail time), it is very important to have an active insurance policy. Insurance gaps are one of the most impactful reasons for an increase in insurance rates.
Even if your car will be parked for really long, an insurance lapse of fewer than 30 days can increase your insurance rates by $200-$300 on average. The moment this gap lasts for more than 30 days, you could be paying as much as $500 – $700 more on average for the same insurance coverage.
Without a proper driving license or a suspended license, you will not be allowed to rent a car as well. Almost all the rental companies will check for the validity of your driving license and your auto insurance policy before lending you the car. While buying or registering a car does not require you to have auto insurance, it is mandatory to have an active auto insurance policy to do so.
This is how you can get your car insured with a suspended license. Even though you might have to pay a little extra, it is worth it. Getting caught driving without insurance is bad, getting caught driving without insurance and a driving license is worse, but getting in an accident without auto insurance and a driving license will be your worst nightmare.
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