Can you get car insurance with a suspended license?

You can get car insurance with a suspended license, but it will be more difficult (and more expensive) than for other drivers.

Andrew Hurst

By

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Updated|6 min read

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You can still get car insurance after your license is suspended, but typically only when it’s reinstated. In order to reinstate your suspended license, you’d have to apply for a conditional or restricted license, sometimes called a “hardship” license.

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When your suspended license is reinstated and you can legally drive again, you can get insurance. But there are fewer companies willing to offer insurance to drivers with a suspended license, who may need an SR-22 or FR-44. You might have to get insurance quotes from a non-standard company in order to find affordable car insurance after a suspended license.

Key takeaways

  • If your license is suspended, you probably won’t be able to get car insurance until your license is reinstated and you can legally drive again.

  • Depending on where you live, you’ll need to apply for a restricted or conditional-use license, sometimes called a hardship license.

  • If your license has been suspended, you may need to provide proof of insurance to your state via an SR-22 or FR-44 form, 

  • You shouldn’t cancel your insurance once your license is suspended, since a gap in coverage will mean even higher rates later on.Car insurance with a suspended license is more expensive than for other drivers, since you might have to get covered by a company that works with high-risk drivers.

How to get car insurance with suspended license

You usually can’t get a new car insurance policy while you have a suspended license. But once you reinstate your license and are able to drive again — even temporarily — you can get car insurance with a suspended license.

When you have a suspended license, you don’t have an active license and can’t legally drive. Because you can’t drive, insurance companies won’t allow you to get car insurance either.

But depending on where you live, you can regain your ability to drive (and get car insurance) if you:

  • Apply for a license with restrictions on when and where you can drive

  • Apply for a license with restrictions that also requires you complete a class

  • File an SR-22 or SR-44 through an insurance company

The licenses that temporarily restore your ability to drive and get insurance with a suspended license may be called restricted, conditional, hardship or provisional. These names may be used interchangeably depending on the state you’re in.

What does a suspended license mean?

Having a suspended license means that you can’t legally drive until it’s reinstated. Your license could be suspended for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to):

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Repeatedly being cited for traffic violations

  • Having multiple accidents on your record

  • Getting caught driving without car insurance

Restricted-use, hardship, conditional, and provisional licenses

If you have a suspended license and you need insurance, you may need to get a restricted-use, conditional, or provisional license depending on the reason why your original license was suspended.

These names are used interchangeably, but they all refer to a license that comes with a few conditions. For example, you might only be able to drive to and from work, or during the day, and you may need to prove that driving is a necessity for you in order to qualify.

More serious offenders, like people who lost their license due to drug use, alcohol, or repeated violations, will have to apply for a new license with these same conditions. These drivers also usually have to take an impaired driver program as a condition of reinstatement.

SR-22 insurance and suspended licenses

Some states require drivers whose licenses were suspended to file an SR-22 form before their license is reinstated. Sometimes called SR-22 insurance, this isn’t actually a type of car insurance. Instead, it’s a step performed by car insurance companies for a fee.

An SR-22 or FR-44 form proves to the state that you have insurance coverage. Your insurance company will file an SR-22 on your behalf. All you need to do is tell them you need it added to your car insurance (and pay a fee).

Can insurance companies see if your license is suspended?

Yes, insurance companies will be able to see if your license has been suspended. When you’re shopping for auto insurance, you must enter your driver’s license number — along with your Social Security Number and other details about yourself and your car.

Insurance companies will use this information to check your driving history. Because your driving history affects what you pay for coverage, the rates that you get will be more expensive than average if you have a suspended license, even for a few years after you fully reinstate your license.

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Will my insurance cover me if my license is suspended?

Your insurance may continue to cover you if you already have coverage and your license is suspended. 

Even if you’re not driving due to a suspended license, your car could be stolen, or damaged by weather, animals, or vandalism, so it’s smart to keep your policy active. You may also need your current car insurance company to file an SR-22 or SR-44 on your behalf.

But if you drive illegally and cause damage or injuries to another person, your insurance company may reject your claim. By knowingly driving with a suspended license, you probably broke the terms of your coverage. And if your claim is rejected, you’d be responsible for covering any damages and medical bills yourself.

While you’ll still be covered by your insurance if your license is suspended, it’s possible that your company may decide not to renew your policy at the end of the term. That means you’d have to apply for a temporary license before you could get new insurance.

Why do you still need insurance while your license is suspended?

There are a few reasons why you still need insurance while your license is suspended. Depending on the reason you lost your license, a court may order you to show proof of insurance. 

Secondly, you need to maintain car insurance after your license is suspended to avoid having to pay to repair damage that happens to your car while you’re not driving it that would be covered under your policy’s comprehensive insurance.

You also need car insurance even if your license is suspended to avoid a lapse in coverage. A coverage gap raises a red flag to future car insurance companies. If you drop your policy and have a lapse in coverage, you’ll likely be charged higher rates next time you apply for car insurance.

Who has the best car insurance for if you have a suspended license?

There are fewer insurance companies that will cover drivers who have had a suspended license, but it’s not impossible for these drivers to get car insurance.

Most, but not all, insurance companies will file an SR-22 for drivers who have a suspended license. If you live in a state where an SR-22 is required to reinstate a suspended license, you might be unable to get car insurance from a handful of companies.

Depending on your situation, you may need to get auto insurance designed for high-risk drivers. This is especially true of drivers who have a suspended license due to alcohol, drug use, or repeated offenses.

Not all insurance providers offer this kind of coverage, but many major carriers do, including State Farm, GEICO, and Progressive

If you’re having trouble getting car insurance with a suspended license from one of the top insurance companies, you might have to settle for non-standard insurance from companies that specialize in offering coverage to high-risk drivers, such as:

  • Acceptance Insurance

  • Bristol West

  • Direct Auto

  • Dairyland

  • The General

  • National General

  • United (UAIC)

You can also get a list of companies that insure high-risk drivers by contacting your state insurance department.

Insurance rates can vary based on your past violations, but you can always shop around for car insurance to find cheaper car insurance for drivers with a suspended license. 

You can also avoid any new accidents or moving violations and improve your credit score in order to see cheaper rates over time.

→ Learn more about car insurance for high-risk drivers

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How to get cheap car insurance with a suspended license

It can be difficult to find cheap car insurance with a suspended license. Insurance companies set rates based on how likely they think you are to make a future claim, so drivers with a suspended license see higher rates than most drivers.

But there are still ways you can save if you’re shopping for insurance with a suspended license on your driving record. We recommend that you:

  • Enroll in a defensive driving course: One of the most common discounts offered by insurance companies is for completing a safe driving course. After a suspended license, this could be one of the easiest ways to get lower rates.

  • Bundle more than one insurance policy: You can often bundle your homeowners, renters, motorcycle, or other policy with your auto insurance for cheaper car insurance — even with a suspended license.

  • Switch insurance companies: If you have had a suspended license, you don’t have to renew your policy with the same insurance company. If your policy is up for renewal, shop around to see if there’s a more affordable option.

The best way to get car insurance that isn’t too expensive if you have a suspended license is by comparing quotes from multiple car insurance companies.

Insurance companies all weigh violations differently, and there may be one that offers coverage at a significantly cheaper rate for drivers with your history.

What happens if I drive with a suspended license? 

Driving while your license is suspended is against the law and can mean serious consequences, like pricey fines or even jail time. If you’re caught driving with a suspended license, you might also be dropped by your current insurance company. 

It’s likely your insurance rates would go up in the future, too. On average, we found that the cost of car insurance after being caught driving with a suspended license is $3,081 per year. That’s nearly double the average cost for drivers with a clean record.

As you can see, rates go up across the board for drivers who are caught driving with a suspended license:

Company

Clean record

After driving with a suspended license

State Farm

$1,173

$1,485

GEICO

$1,184

$2,224

Progressive

$1,774

$2,723

Allstate

$1,981

$3,320

USAA

$1,039

$1,972

Farmers

$1,944

$3,278

Nationwide

$1,473

$3,230

American Family

$1,415

$2,439

Travelers

$1,505

$2,144

AAA

$2,578

$3,826

Average costs of full-coverage car insurance.

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Frequently asked questions

Can someone drive my car if my license is suspended?

Yes, as long as you give them permission another person is allowed to use your car while your license is suspended. You can even sit in the car as a passenger, too. You’d only be in violation of the law (and uninsured in the event of an accident) if you got behind the wheel.

Can I register a vehicle with a suspended license?

It’s possible to register a car even if you have a suspended license. That’s because you’re not required to drive in order to register a car. You just need to prove your ownership. However, if you don’t already have car insurance, you won’t be able to register your car as long as your license is suspended and hasn’t been reinstated.

Do you need an SR-22 if your license was suspended?

It’s possible that you’ll have to find an insurance company that will file an SR-22 on your behalf in order to reinstate a suspended license. Many states require SR-22s or a similar form, but not always. It’s best to check the laws with your state’s DMV if your license is suspended.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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