“I can’t drive anyway, since my driver’s license is suspended for a year, why should I keep car insurance?” a client recently asked. Hmm, good question.
There are lots of reasons for a driver’s license suspension. In some cases, such as repeated speeding or reckless driving tickets or instances of driving under the influence, you may not get your license back for some time. In other cases, you may have your license suspended until you pay off traffic tickets or set up a payment plan for a car accident without insurance. If you own a vehicle, you are required by most states to have auto insurance on it. Period. Even if your driving privileges are suspended, if you own a car, you are responsible for keeping it legal according to your State’s requirements.
Are you eligible for a “hardship” license?
You may still be able to get permission from the State to drive with limited driving privileges, often called a hardship license (it has different official titles that vary by state). You need to keep your policy to qualify.
Are you really not going to drive? In reality, there are plenty of people driving on the streets that do not have a driver’s license. If you’re going to join their ranks, at least have insurance coverage.
What about other drivers?
If you have any other drivers, you want to make sure they’re covered. If you cancel your policy, they aren’t covered either. If something happens, as the owner of the vehicle, you can be held responsible even if you are not the driver.
If you are going to allow any other drivers (not on your policy) to drive your car during this time of suspension, you should keep your policy and list them as drivers to make sure they’re also covered. Insurance companies require that you list all regular drivers of your vehicle. This is especially true if they’re in the same household; besides, on your application you’ve stated that you have listed all drivers in your household as part of the contract. Failure to do so can void coverage.
What about the car itself?
If you have a loan on your vehicle, you’ll still want to protect the value of the car with physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision, often called “full coverage”). If something happens to your car, you would suffer financial loss since you still must pay off the loan. Damage can happen even when a car is parked in a garage.
If your car is older and you’re only carrying liability coverage, it could still be in your best interest to maintain your coverage for several reasons:
· To keep your car is legal in your State
· To maintain your continuous insurance discount (typically the biggest discount in car insurance)
· To avoid a non-payment cancellation on your insurance history
· To avoid getting a no insurance ticket on a parked vehicle (especially important if not an enclosed garage)
· To keep it legal to be on the road which could avoid “no insurance” tickets for the driver and/or owner if there’s an emergency and it gets driven
In all situations, if you do not have an active license, you should not drive. This does not mean you have to sell your cars, though. Instead, you need to maintain proper insurance coverage from the right agency. Unless no one uses the vehicle ever, there’s no loan on it and it is parked in a garage, it is important to maintain at least liability coverage on it. It helps maintain your prior insurance and longevity discounts too! This could save you money in the long run.
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