Can you have car insurance with an expired license?

Though doing so may require more effort, you can get auto insurance with an expired license. Discover what options are available for those with expired licenses needing auto insurance.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • You can get auto insurance with an expired driver’s license
  • However, your path to coverage may be more complex than if you possessed a current U.S. driver’s license
  • Some options available to unlicensed drivers include SR-22 certificates, parked car coverage, and excluded driver coverage

Despite popular belief, you can buy auto insurance with an expired license, or even no license at all. However, doing so may prove more difficult than if you have a valid license. If you shop for coverage with an expired license, it is important to know what types of insurance are available to you and how to present your situation on insurance applications.

Purchasing Auto Insurance With an Expired License: What the Law Says

There is no law that states that you must have a valid driver’s license to obtain car insurance. However, despite this, most auto insurance companies will not insure persons who do not possess valid U.S. driver’s licenses. In fact, the larger insurance companies, such as State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, and Allstate, will not offer you an insurance quote without first receiving proof of your ability to drive.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, unlicensed drivers pose more of a risk. If you do not have a current license, there is no way for the insurance company to know whether you currently pass the vision or driving tests, or whether you are familiar with the local rules of the road. Two, if your license has been expired for a considerable length of time, the insurance company may question your ability to drive in a safe or confident manner.

That said, getting car insurance without a current license is possible. You just need to know where to look and what type of policies to consider.

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How To Obtain Auto Insurance With an Expired License

If you want to purchase auto insurance despite not having a current license, you must be careful in how you go about the search and application processes. Though you will unlikely qualify for traditional coverage, there are a few ways you can go about protecting your vehicle.

Look Into SR-22 Certificates

An SR-22 certificate is proof of liability insurance for drivers who the state deems “high-risk” and who possess suspended licenses. Whether the state suspended your license or your license merely expired, you may be able to purchase an SR-22 certificate by labeling yourself a high-risk driver. Not all auto insurance carriers offer this type of coverage, but enough do that you should be able to find it in your state.

List Yourself as an Excluded Driver

It is not uncommon for a vehicle owner and policyholder to be two different people. For instance, elderly persons often insure their vehicles via their own policies but list an adult child or caregiver as the primary driver. If you own a vehicle that another person plans to drive, you may be able to list yourself as an excluded driver and name the other person as the primary driver.

As with SR-22 certificates, not all insurance companies allow policyholders to include excluded drivers. However, if you can find one that does, this may be the simplest way to insure your vehicle until you renew your license.

Bear in mind that if an officer catches you driving on an expired license and as an “excluded driver,” the state will treat you as both an unlicensed and uninsured driver. Both offenses come with fines and other penalties, such as vehicle impoundment.

Look Into Parked Car Insurance

Many people own vehicles they don’t drive but still want to insure in the event of accidental damage. To accommodate these needs, many insurance companies offer parked car insurance.

Parked car insurance, which some companies refer to as stored car insurance or comprehensive-only coverage, provides just comprehensive coverage. This means that it will cover only damage that occurs when the vehicle is in storage or while parked. This ultimate guide for comprehensive coverage will tell you more. Types of damage against which parked car insurance safeguards include:

  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Wild animals or rodents

Because auto insurance companies do not intend for you to drive a parked vehicle, you do not need a valid driver’s license to obtain parked car coverage. Additionally, as the risk of the vehicle sustaining damage while parked is low, a comprehensive-only policy will likely cost you considerably less than a liability policy.

As with listing yourself as an excluded driver, however, know that driving on a comprehensive-only policy is equivalent to driving while uninsured. Moreover, if you get into an accident while driving the vehicle, your insurance policy will not pay for the damages.

List Someone Else as a Driver

Similar to listing yourself as an excluded driver, you may qualify for a policy if you list someone else as the primary driver of the vehicle you wish to insure. Most insurance companies require the primary driver to also have ownership of the vehicle. However, there are some situations in which a company may make exceptions, such as in the situation of a chauffeur or caretaker.

Change Your Vehicle’s Registration

If all else fails, consider adding another person’s name to your vehicle’s registration to establish co-ownership. You can then list the co-owner as the primary driver, which insures him or her and your vehicle.

Can you buy a car with an expired license?

If you plan to finance a vehicle through a dealership, you will likely need to present proof of insurance, which often requires a valid driver’s license. However, you may be able to get around this requirement if you plan to purchase the vehicle with cash. The same is true if you purchase a vehicle from a private party. If you need financing but do not have a current license or insurance, a local bank may be willing to extend you a loan.

Do you need car insurance if you have a car but don’t have a current license?

Yes, if you own a vehicle you should purchase, at a minimum, a comprehensive policy or parked car policy. This will protect your parked vehicle against accidental damage, such as flood damage, falling objects, vandalism, and other unforeseeable events.

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Find Car Insurance To Suit Your Needs With an Expired License

There is an auto insurance policy for just about every type of vehicle owner, even those whose licenses are currently expired. If you need auto insurance but do not have an up-to-date license, a bit of time and research will reveal the policy that is right for you.

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