Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Most states require drivers to have auto insurance before registering a vehicle
  • Your insurance company will most likely be able to send your new policy information electronically to your state’s motor vehicle department
  • Once an insurance policy lapses or is canceled, the state DMV will be notified and your vehicle’s current registration will be suspended until coverage can be confirmed
  • You can purchase a new auto insurance policy and it will be effective usually by the next day
  • Driving for even a short time without auto insurance and valid vehicle registration can result in costly fees and loss of driving privileges


According to a 2014 study, one in every eight drivers is uninsured. In order to improve the safety and protection of all drivers and pedestrians, car insurance is taken very seriously. State motor vehicle departments penalize drivers without auto insurance by imposing fees and restricting their ability to drive.

One of the biggest solutions the DMV uses to cut back the number of uninsured drivers is keeping them from registering their vehicle.

In states that require auto insurance, a car cannot be registered without insurance. Without auto insurance or a registration, the vehicle could be impounded and its owner could face very expensive fines.

To avoid this, be sure to keep your insurance policy current. Pay attention to when your policy is supposed to renew, and ensure all payments are made on time.

Make sure you have the most competitive rates by using our FREE comparison tool above!

Can I register a vehicle without auto insurance?

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You must have a current auto insurance policy in order to register a vehicle in most states. The only exceptions include New Hampshire and the District of Columbia.

The minimum auto insurance required depends on which state you live in, so be sure to learn what your state’s financial responsibility amounts are.

Most motor vehicle departments will already know whether or not you have insurance. They receive policy information electronically from your insurance company.

This information allows the DMV and the police to know if you are driving legally and have the ability to register a vehicle. The DMV will also know if insurance coverage lapses for any reason, which could result in your registration being suspended.

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What can I do if I am uninsured with expired vehicle registration?

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If you no longer have auto insurance and your tags are expired/about to expire, it’s easy to purchase a policy quickly so you can get your registration renewal taken care of.

You can sign up for insurance that will be effective by the next day. The DMV should receive electronic notification of your new policy soon after it goes into effect, but be sure to have your insurance information card with you at all times.

Although the thought of purchasing auto insurance can be stressful, it’s better to pay a small amount monthly rather than to drive illegally. The consequences can be devastating.

You could end up paying several times more than you would for an auto insurance policy. As long as you sort through all the car insurance policy options and do your research, you’ll see that it is cheaper than you think. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that you can register your vehicle and drive with protection.

Continuing to drive without insurance and current tags on the vehicle can result in major penalties. Your state may require costly fines and law enforcement can even impound vehicles that aren’t registered and are uninsured. These laws and regulations are vital in protecting all citizens and their property.

No one plans for accidents to happen, which is why states require all drivers to be prepared for anything they could potentially face on the road. It’s important that all drivers have current plates and financial protection for themselves and others when they drive.

Start comparison shopping today by entering your zip code into our FREE tool below!