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The penalties are pretty steep if you're caught driving without insurance in New York State. Getting convicted could mean that your license could get revoked for a year. Even worse, if you're involved in an accident while uninsured, your license could be revoked for up to three years. You'll receive a notice from the NY DMV that informs you of the revocation of your license, the length of the revocation period, and the necessary directions for eventually restoring your license.
License Revocation for Driving Without Insurance
Before you receive a notice informing you of the revocation of your license, you may receive an "inquiry letter" from the NY DMV asking you to verify your insurance status. The DMV usually sends this after they receive a report from the police that you did not have insurance at the time of a traffic stop or accident. You will be asked to prove that you did have liability insurance at the time in question. If you are unable to do so, the DMV will send you a notice informing you of the revocation of your license.
When your license has been revoked by the DMV, the DMV has effectively cancelled your license; you’ll have to wait until the end of the revocation period before applying for a new one. In most cases, a new license can be easily applied for at the end of the revocation period. However, if the DMV has evidence that you were in an accident while uninsured or if you have a particularly high risk driving record, you may be unable to easily apply for a new license.
To avoid further penalties, do not operate a motor vehicle without a valid driver license. You should wait until the revocation period has ended and you have received a new license before driving.
Restoring Your License after a Revocation
When your license has been revoked, the DMV will also assess you a civil penalty fee of $750; this fee applies to drivers who have been convicted of operating or being involved in a motor vehicle while uninsured. To restore your license, you must take the following steps:
Pay the Civil Penalty Fee
You must pay the civil penalty fee of $750 before submitting your request to the DMV Driver Improvement Unit. The easiest and fastest way to pay the civil penalty fee is to pay online.
- Paying online:
- To pay your civil penalty online, visit this link and provide your DMV ID number from your NYS driver license and the last four digits of your Social Security number. You can use your credit or debit card to pay the fee.
- You cannot pay the civil penalty fee online if your vehicle registration was suspended for an insurance lapse, or if your license was revoked because of an uninsured accident. You will have to pay the civil penalty fee by mail.
- Paying by mail: You can pay the civil penalty by mail for both a conviction of driving uninsured and an uninsured accident by sending a check or money order (made payable to the “Commissioner of Motor Vehicles”) to: Insurance Services Bureau NYS DMV 6 Empire State Plaza, Room 332B Albany, NY 12228 (518) 474-0700
You can also pay by phone or at a DMV office, but the NY DMV advises against that due to long wait time. You can use the number or DMV office listed on your revocation order to pay your civil penalty by phone or in person.
Request Approval from the DMV Driver Improvement Unit
The next step to restoring your license is to request approval from the DMV DIU. You must wait until the revocation period has ended before submitting your request. Before requesting approval, you must check to make sure that your license has not been suspended in addition to being revoked. You can check if your license has been suspended by logging into your MyDMV account and using their MyLicense service. You should also pay any outstanding fines from traffic tickets. When you request approval to apply for a new NYC license, you will have to pay a re-application fee of $100.
In most cases, you can request approval online through your MyDMV account. Some high risk drivers with complex records may have to request approval to the DIU in writing. After submitting certain information, the online system will automatically tell you whether you can submit a request online, or if certain aspects of your driving record will require you to submit your request in writing. If you are deemed eligible by the online system, you will have to pay the reapplication fee and the DMV will immediately issue your approval.
You will be unable to request approval online if you were in an accident while uninsured. In that case, you will have to submit your request in writing to the DIU. Complete MV-44 form (you can find an example of the form here) and leave the “I am applying for a” boxes blank. Send the completed MV-44 form, as well as the re-application fee in the form of a check or money order, to this address:
Driver Improvement Unit NYS DMV 6 Empire State Plaza, Room 338 Albany, NY 12228
You can also fax your completed MV-44 form to this number on M-F, 8:30 to Noon: (518) 474-6208
Before mailing your request, make sure that your revocation period is ending in 30 days or less. The DIU will take up to 12 weeks to process your request.
Applying for a New Driver License
Congratulations! If you’ve paid the civil penalty fee, and you’ve received approval for a new driver license, you can go ahead and apply for a new driver license. Head to your local DMV to see if you must take a written and/or road test before you’re eligible for a new license. You should purchase NY auto insurance before applying for a new license. You may be unable to find insurance in the voluntary market due to the revocation of your license. If that is the case, you can apply for insurance through the New York Automobile Insurance Plan.
If your license or registration was suspended or revoked due to an uninsured accident, or if you have a complex driving record, contact the Insurance Services Bureau at (518) 474-0700 for more information.