Motorists are required to carry their license with them when they drive in every state. When you drive your car without your driver’s license, you run the risk of heavy fines and even jail time. How it affects your car insurance depends on how often it happens and why you don’t have your license with you. If it happens more than once, or if you are driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license, your car insurance premiums could go sky high, if you can even get car insurance. In this article, Part 1 talks about what happens if you drive without a license because you forgot it, Part 2 talks about consequences for driving on a suspended or revoked license, and Part 3 goes over some ways you can reduce your insurance rates.
Part 1 of 3: Driving without a license because you forgot it
People who have a valid driver’s license, but get caught driving without it, are not likely to suffer any car insurance consequences the first time. If this becomes a bad habit, though, the result could be higher premiums, insurance policy cancellation and difficulty getting car insurance.
The first time you get caught driving without your license, it’s commonly considered a misdemeanor offense. You could lose your license for up to a year, though, depending on which state you get caught in. If your car insurance lapses during this time, you will have to pay higher premiums to get it reinstated.
The second time you get caught driving without your license is often considered a felony. You might have to spend up to five years in jail and have a permanent misdemeanor on your driver’s license. When you do get your license back, your car insurance premiums will be quite a bit higher and you will likely have trouble getting insurance.
Part 2 of 3: Driving without a license because it was suspended or revoked
People who get caught behind the wheel of a car when their license is suspended/revoked will suffer serious car insurance consequences. Your premiums will go up and your policy could be cancelled. If your insurance provider cancels your policy, it will be difficult to get car insurance through another provider.
Part 3 of 3: How to reduce your car insurance consequences
Unless you are lucky and get off with a light slap on the hand the first time you forget your driver’s license, there will likely be consequences. There are actions you can take, though, that may convince your car insurance provider to reduce your premiums.
Step 1: Show you are a safe driver by taking a course. Take a safe or defensive driving course. It could convince your car insurance provider that you are not such a bad risk. If you do well, your insurance company is more likely to reduce your premiums.
Step 2: Prove to your car insurance provider that you have improved your driving habits
. Car insurance companies often have an app that can be downloaded to your smartphone or a device that you can plug into your car that records how you drive. For example, Progressive
offers a plug-in device or downloadable app. You may have to use it for six months or so before you see any change in your premiums. It will prove to your car insurance provider that you are being a safe, responsible driver, though.
Step 3: Raise your credit score to lower your car insurance premiums
. Drivers with a higher credit score pay less for car insurance. A high credit score means you are more likely to be a safe driver. According to Consumer Reports
, your credit score could have a greater effect on how much you pay for car insurance than a DWI.
For example, in Nevada, you could pay $2,028 more per year for car insurance if you have poor credit, but, if you have excellent credit and a DWI, you will pay only $758 more per year. Good credit pays!