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Arizona drivers are required to carry proof of insurance while operating their vehicles. If you're caught driving without insurance in Arizona, you'll face heavy fines, and a suspended driver's license and registration. Read on to understand how letting your insurance lapse can impact your registration and driver's license, and what to do to reinstate your driving privileges.
License or Registration Suspended for Driving Without Insurance
You're required to have bodily injury and property damage liability insurance on your car while you live and drive in Arizona. If your insurance ever lapses, such as from a missed payment, your insurer will alert the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) within seven days. If this happens, the MVD will mail you an "intent to suspend" letter notifying you, and it will automatically suspend your vehicle's registration 15 days later. Without insurance or registration, you'll be unable to legally drive your car, and you'll have to reinstate it to get back on the road.
You'll face much more severe consequences if you're caught driving without insurance. However, if you meet all of the following criteria before your court date, your judge may reduce or waive the penalty at their discretion.
- Purchase a six-month insurance policy.
- Have no other driving violations in the last two years.
- Have one or no driving violations in the last three years.
Otherwise, the judge may impose a fine and suspend both your license and the registration of the vehicle you're driving—regardless of whether the vehicle belongs to you. Plus, each time you're convicted of driving without insurance, you'll be required to maintain an SR-22 insurance verification form for three years, which generally results in much higher insurance rates.
|Fine||License/Registration Suspension||SR-22 Term|
|First Offense||$500||3 Months||3 Years|
|Second Offense||$750||6 Months||3 Years|
|Third and Later Offenses||$1,000||1 Year||3 Years|
One caveat: If you can't provide proof of insurance when you're pulled over, but your car is insured and you provide proof to a judge on or before your court date, your charges and fees will be dropped.
Check Your Insurance and Registration Status Online
Using the ServiceArizona website, you can check whether the State of Arizona believes your vehicle is currently covered by insurance, and whether your registration is suspended. You should check your insurance status if you believe your car has insurance but you receive an "intent to suspend" letter or are otherwise unsure about the status of your coverage. The most common cause of error in Arizona's database is a misentered vehicle identification number (VIN). If you're having problems, double-check the VIN on your insurance document, vehicle registration and on the ServiceArizona website. Otherwise, contact your insurer to confirm your coverage is active.
Reinstating Your Registration
If you let your insurance policy lapse and your registration has been suspended, you'll have to reinstate it before you're legally permitted to drive your car on Arizona roads. The first step is to reinstate your insurance policy. This may be as simple as purchasing a new policy if you had let your insurance lapse but weren't caught driving without coverage. However, if you were cited for driving without insurance, you'll likely have to get an SR-22 form. An SR-22 is a document from the insurer sent to the state that certifies it's covering you. If an insurer files an SR-22 on your behalf, it will typically charge higher coverage rates, as the SR-22 indicates you're a higher-risk driver.
Once you have insurance, you can update your insurance information and reinstate your vehicle registration online. There is a $50 fee for reinstating a vehicle registration, regardless of the reason for a lapse.
Reinstating Your License in Arizona
If your license is suspended for any reason, there are several steps to go through to have it reinstated so you can drive again. First, you must pay any outstanding fines and wait out the term of your suspension. For example, a first-time offender for driving without insurance will generally pay a $500 fine and have their license suspended for three months.
For some license suspensions, including driving without insurance, a DUI or too many driving violation points, you will be required to obtain an SR-22 form. This is a document from your insurer that certifies it's insuring you. Think of it as an enhanced proof of insurance, usually with a higher insurance premium attached.
At this point, you'll be able to reinstate your license. If the MVD has a photo of you on file, you can pay the appropriate fees and reinstate your license online or by mail. However, if the MVD does not have a photo of you, you'll need to go to an MVD location to receive a new license. You may also want to go in person if you need a temporary license immediately, as you cannot use your online receipt as a temporary license. Your license will arrive in the mail in about two weeks.
|Age||Reapplication Fee||Reinstatement Fee|
|50 or older||$10||$10|
You may also be eligible for a restricted license during the term of your suspension. This allows you to use your vehicle for specific purposes even while your license is suspended, like going to work or caring for a family member.
Other Reasons for a Suspended License and Registration in Arizona
Driving without insurance is only one of the reasons that the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division may suspend your driver's license or vehicle registration. The exact consequences you'll have vary by offense, but in all cases, you'll also have to pay the fees above to reinstate your license and vehicle registration. Common reasons for your license or registration to be suspended include:
- Failure to pay a ticket.
- Failure to appear in court.
- Failure to attend Defensive Driving or Traffic Survival School if assigned.
- Accumulation of eight or more points for moving violations.
- Citation for DUI.
- Citation for reckless or aggressive driving.
Some more serious offenses, such as multiple DUIs, may result in your license being revoked instead of suspended. This is a more severe punishment, and it is more difficult to reinstate your license after it is revoked. The first step is to complete and submit a Revocation Investigation Packet to begin the process of getting your license back.