Having your driver’s license suspended can make getting auto insurance coverage challenging. Insurance companies view suspended licenses as a sign of high risk, making them reluctant to offer affordable coverage.
However, with some effort, it is possible for drivers with suspended licenses to obtain the state-mandated minimum auto insurance.
In this comprehensive guide, I will cover everything you need to know about getting car insurance with a suspended license, including:
- The challenges of getting coverage
- Your insurance options
- Tips for finding affordable rates
- Requirements in different states
- Methods for getting around with a suspended license
- And additional resources for suspended drivers
Whether your license is currently suspended or you anticipate a future suspension, read on for an in-depth look at how to get the auto insurance coverage you need.
The Challenges of Getting Auto Insurance with a Suspended License
When your driver’s license is suspended, whether for a few months or several years, you face considerable challenges getting affordable auto insurance coverage. Here are some of the main issues suspended drivers encounter:
Higher Insurance Rates
The largest obstacle is the exponentially higher car insurance rates charged to drivers with suspended licenses. Insurance companies consider suspended licenses a major risk factor indicating a history of dangerous driving behaviors and infractions.
As a result, they place suspended drivers into high-risk categories and charge significantly higher premiums – often double or triple what other drivers pay. This puts affordable coverage out of reach for many suspended license drivers.
Limited Insurance Options
In addition to steep rates, many major insurance companies refuse to cover suspended license drivers at all. This can severely limit your insurance options. Auto insurers that do offer coverage typically specialize in nonstandard, high-risk policies.
And in cases of certain serious offenses like DUI, some states allow insurance providers to deny coverage – leaving drivers with few if any insurance options.
Another challenge for suspended drivers is the SR-22 requirement in several states. An SR-22 is a certificate of insurance that proves you have sufficient coverage and are financially responsible.
Drivers with suspended or revoked licenses due to offenses like DUI or failing to pay child support may need to carry SR-22 insurance for 3 to 5 years once reinstated. This further limits insurance options and increases rates.
Gaps in Coverage
Losing your license also often means losing your insurance, resulting in a gap in coverage. This lapse, especially if longer than 30 days, can cause issues getting re-insured later. Insurance companies get concerned about any coverage gaps, viewing it as added risk.
Depending on the length and reason for suspension, overcoming these obstacles can be difficult and expensive. But with persistence and effort, getting some level of coverage is possible.
Insurance Options for Drivers with Suspended Licenses
If you have a suspended license, you may feel like affordable auto insurance is out of reach. But before getting too discouraged, be aware there are still some options for getting covered. Typically, this involves finding specialty insurers willing to take on higher-risk drivers.
Here are several avenues to explore if you need car insurance with a suspended license:
Non-Standard Insurance Companies Non-standard insurance providers specialize in covering high-risk drivers who don’t qualify for standard policies from mainstream insurers. Often called sub-prime auto insurance companies, they can offer liability, collision, comprehensive and other standard coverages.
However, they also charge significantly higher premiums based on their assessment of your driving record and risk level. Shopping around among these specialty insurers can help locate the best rates available to you.
Assigned Risk Insurance Plans States with assigned risk plans direct high-risk drivers to insurers that must, by law, offer liability coverage to meet state minimums. Also known as shared auto insurance plans, they provide coverage if you’ve been turned down elsewhere.
The rates are still quite high and the coverage very basic, usually not including collision or comprehensive. But assigned risk pools do offer a last resort for obtaining state-required basic liability protection.
Non-Owner Car Insurance For suspended drivers who don’t own a vehicle but occasionally need access to a car, non-owner auto policies can provide affordable liability coverage. Also called named operator policies, they insure the driver rather than the vehicle.
Rates run cheaper than regular insurance since there is no primary vehicle involved. Just be aware that non-owner policies only cover vehicles you borrow, rent or lease – not a car registered under your name.
Combining Options Often the best approach is combining non-standard companies with state programs like assigned risk plans.
For example, after obtaining basic state liability limits from your state’s risk plan, you could supplement that with higher coverage limits from a specialty insurer.
This allows you to customize protection and tap multiple resources to assemble adequate affordable coverage. An independent broker can help arrange such mixed auto insurance policies.
Tips for Finding the Best Auto Insurance Rates with a Suspended License
Since insuring drivers with suspended licenses represents added risk, maximizing savings requires diligent comparison shopping. Here are top tips for lowering insurance costs following a license suspension:
Compare Quotes from Specialty Insurers
With your limited options, getting quotes from several non-standard companies and comparing those rates is vital. Achieving low pricing depends largely on your specific profile and risk assessment. So cast a wide net gathering estimates.
Ask About Discounts While discounts are scarce with high-risk policies, always inquire about ways you may qualify for premium reductions. For instance, maintaining other existing insurance policies with the same insurer may reduce your auto premium.
Limit Your Driving Exposure Keeping annual mileage low helps reduce pricing as you pose less risk over fewer miles. So limit driving only when necessary and consider ride-sharing services or transportation alternatives whenever possible.
Improve Your Driving Record
Once your license suspension term ends and your privileges are reinstated, improving your driving record can yield significant savings. Completing defensive driving courses demonstrates responsibility. And maintaining a clean record going forward helps overcome those past infractions.
Adjust Your Policy Limits
Raising deductibles and lowering coverage limits are often the fastest ways to reduce premiums for suspended license drivers facing sky-high rates. Just be sure you still carry state-required minimum liability limits.
Enlist Independent Agents Local independent insurance agencies that represent multiple specialty insurers can help locate more affordable options than just dealing with individual companies directly. An independent broker assists high-risk clients in finding the right niche solutions.
Insurance Requirements for Suspended Drivers by State
Auto insurance laws and regulations vary widely across states when it comes to drivers with suspended or revoked licenses. Requirements regarding SR-22 compliance, eligibility for coverage, exemptions, and other rules differ significantly based on where you live.
In fact, 3 states – New Hampshire, Virginia, and Wisconsin – don’t mandate liability insurance at all. So becoming familiar with the specific regulations in your state is critical for navigating insurance needs with a suspended license.
Here is an overview of major requirements impacting suspended drivers seeking auto insurance across different states:
States Requiring SR-22 Insurance An SR-22 certificate proves you carry auto liability insurance meeting your state’s required minimum levels. It is mandated for high-risk drivers in about half the states, with required duration ranging from 1 year up to 5 years typically.
States currently requiring SR-22 compliance for some or all license suspensions include:
Alaska, California, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia plus Washington D.C.
No-Fault Auto Insurance States In no-fault states, every driver carries injury protection (PIP) as part of their auto policy, regardless of fault in an accident. This allows them to file injury claims under their own PIP policy. Due to this, no-fault states may prohibit non-standard insurers from denying coverage to high-risk drivers.
Current no-fault states include Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah.
States Allowing Coverage Denial Conversely, some states explicitly permit insurance companies to deny any and all coverage strictly based on a driver having a suspended or revoked license status. States currently allowing this blanket denial of coverage to suspended drivers include:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.
States Requiring Interlock Devices Several states now mandate installation of ignition interlock devices that prevent intoxicated driving among drivers with previous DUI offenses, including during license suspension periods. Interlocks analyze breath alcohol levels and disable engine ignition if over the legal limit.
States currently requiring interlocks for suspended licenses related to DUI convictions include:
Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
Additionally, some states have special insurance plans assisting high-risk drivers in obtaining coverage. And most impose extra restrictions like probationary licenses requiring SR-22 forms to prove adequate insurance.
So carefully investigate your state’s particular regulations regarding license suspensions, revocations, required insurance, and options for restoring full driving privileges after a suspension expires. State motor vehicle websites offer specifics on insurance and oversight programs.
Getting Around with a Suspended License – Transportation Alternatives
Once you secure required auto insurance, the next hurdle is transportation if your license suspension prohibits you from driving. You must arrange alternative mobility options allowing access to work, school, medical needs and other required trips without actually operating a vehicle.
Here are 10 options for getting around without driving with a suspended license:
Public Transportation Buses, trains, ferries and subways offer the most comprehensive transportation network in metropolitan areas. Fares can run reasonable for regular commuters.
Ride Hailing/Sharing Services Tapping ridesharing platforms like Uber and Lyft provides affordable on-demand transportation without driving yourself. Carpooling apps like Waze even allow sharing costs.
Bicycling Biking necessitates being in reasonable physical shape and having safe cycling space. But it provides inexpensive, eco-friendly transport and feels empowering.
Scooters and Motorcycles In some states, scooter or motorcycle licenses differ from auto licenses. So retaining mobility via Vespas, e-scooters etc. may be possible if properly licensed.
Walking Hoofing short distances remains simple, cost-free transportation for many tasks. Consider a collapsible wagon for hauling goods.
Wheelchair/Electric Personal Vehicles
Traveling via motorized wheelchair or small transport like Segways precludes driving yet maintains independence.
Car Sharing Services Car rental apps like Turo allow vehicle sharing at affordable hourly/daily pricing, providing access for occasional driving needs.
Taxi Services For small regions not served by ridesharing, traditional taxis remain available on-call transportation without you driving.
Community Ride Services Some nonprofits, churches and senior centers provide free or discounted community ride programs assisting those unable to drive.
Friends & Family Support Don’t hesitate to ask for help getting around from friends, family, neighbors or colleagues while your license is suspended. Most understand and are willing to assist in emergencies.
The specific solution that works best depends entirely on your transportation needs, mobility challenges, geographic region and budget constraints associated with losing your license. Often combining several options helps ensure reliable access until you legally get back on the road.
Additional Resources for Drivers with Suspended Licenses
Having your license suspended triggers big insurance and mobility hurdles. But know there are many governmental and nonprofit resources available to help guide you through the process of maintaining insurance, arranging transportation and ultimately regaining full driving restoration down the road.
Here is a list of organizations and websites offering helpful information and direction on navigating a license suspension:
Your State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) The DMV website provides info on license reinstatement, insurance mandates, license hearings plus transportation and hardship license options.
National Association of State DMVs This association of U.S. and Canadian DMVs offers links to each state/province for license requirements and forms. https://www.nasda.org
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators AAMVA assists state vehicle agencies by promoting uniform regulation best practices for licenses, registrations, insurance.
National Safety Council The nonprofit NSC has state chapters advocating for traffic safety laws and driver’s license restoration assistance programs nationwide. https://www.nsc.org
American Public Transportation Association APTA promotes access to public transportation options as an alternative to driving with helpful mobility resources.
By dispensing guidance on obtaining state minimum liability insurance, securing alternative transportation and ultimately regaining your license, organizations like these assist drivers through suspensions. Be sure to utilize them as key resources.
The Bottom Line
Having your driver’s license suspended undoubtedly limits your mobility and insurance options. You will almost certainly pay steep auto insurance rates to meet mandatory minimum liability requirements during the suspension period. Additionally, arranging alternate accessible transportation poses its own obstacles.
However, by following the tips outlined here including:
- Seeking non-standard and state risk plan insurers
- Using insurance discounts and adjustments
- Maximizing cheaper transportation alternatives
Most drivers can obtain the required coverage protection necessary and still meet critical transportation needs while suspended. Stay patient, determined and resourceful to persevere through license suspension struggles.
The challenges and frustrations of securing affordable insurance and reliable mobility during your suspension will only make finally regaining full, unrestricted driving privileges down the road all the sweeter. So focus on successfully maneuvering through this temporary licensing speed bump, until you can hit the open road freely again.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Getting Auto Insurance with a Suspended License
FAQs, or frequently asked questions, are common issues and questions that are often raised. The following lists answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about getting car insurance with a suspended license.
- Can I get car insurance with a suspended license? Yes, you can get auto insurance with a suspended license, but due to being considered high-risk, your policy premiums will likely be much higher. In some states, insurance companies may deny coverage altogether for certain license suspensions.
- What are some options for getting coverage with a suspended license? You may qualify for an assigned risk insurance plan, which is required by some states to offer liability coverage. Otherwise, you’ll have to shop around at non-standard providers specializing in high-risk insurance for those unable to get regular coverage.
- Should I get liability-only insurance? Yes, carrying only the liability minimums required by your state and not paying for collision or comprehensive coverage are ways to save on premium costs. However, this will leave you vulnerable for damage to your own vehicle.
- What is SR-22 insurance? SR-22 is not insurance in itself, but a special form you may be required to file that proves to your state you have qualifying auto liability insurance. About half the states require SR-22 for certain high-risk driving offenses.
- How can someone with a suspended license get around? You’ll need to secure alternative transportation without driving yourself if your license is actively suspended. Options include buses, taxis, bicycles, motorized scooters, ridesharing services, community mobility programs, or getting rides with family and friends.
- Can I register a car to myself with a suspended license? In most states you can, as long as you obtain qualifying insurance coverage. However, actively driving that vehicle could constitute a traffic violation subject to penalties. Restricted licenses may allow limited use for necessities like work, medical appointments, etc.
- Are there any discounts for suspended license insurance? Typically high-risk policies come with few if any discounts. But it’s possible maintaining other policies with the same insurer or limiting annual mileage could garner small premium reductions. Multi-policy and low mileage discounts are worth inquiring about.
- How long does insurance stay high after a suspension? Once your license suspension term fully expires, a clean driving record and taking extra steps like defensive driving courses will help improve your risk profile. Most insurers reassess rates after 3 years of safe, violation-free driving.
- How can I check my state insurance and license requirements? Every state motor vehicle department website offers information on minimum liability requirements, circumstances requiring SR-22 compliance, license hearings and restoration, insurance exemptions etc. to clarify rules regarding suspensions.
By understanding exactly how license suspensions and revocations impact auto insurance rates and mobility access in your state, you can take proactive steps for coverage and transportation during this challenging but temporary licensing setback.
Conclusion Having your driver’s license suspended can present major difficulties arranging affordable auto insurance and transportation during the suspension term. With insurers labeling you high-risk, you face steep premium rates. And securing alternative mobility remains problematic as well without a valid license.
However, exploring all specialized insurance options, tapping state programs assisting high-risk drivers, focusing on minimum required policies and diligently seeking insurance discounts can aid in obtaining necessary coverage despite the obstacles.
Additionally, fully utilizing available transportation alternatives in your region including public transit, ridesharing, bicycles, community mobility assistance and help from friends and family can significantly restore mobility freedom.
Most importantly, regard a license suspension as a temporary rather than permanent barrier. Eventually by improving your driving record and showing responsibility, you can regain unrestricted driving capacity again down the road.
So with resourcefulness, effort and patience, drivers can secure imperative insurance protection along with reliable transportation solutions even while license privileges are interrupted for a finite period of time due to moving violations or unpaid fines.