License and Registration Suspension in New York

License and Registration Suspension in New York

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Driving without insurance in New York can lead to serious penalties — and in some cases, your license may be suspended or revoked. If this happens, the DMV will send you a "Definite Suspension Order" that tells you how long the suspension will last.

To restore your license, you'll need to buy an auto insurance policy as soon as possible — even if you're not allowed to drive. This proves you'll be financially responsible for your vehicle once the state restores your driving privileges. But if your driving record took a hit as a result of your conviction for driving uninsured, you might have trouble finding a policy. In this case, look into the New York Automobile Insurance Plan.

Fines for a lapse in insurance

If your auto insurance policy lapses, your license and registration will be suspended until you reinstate your coverage and pay the corresponding fee.

Lapse Duration
Fee
1–30 days$8 per day, up to $240
31–60 days$10 per day, up to $300
61–90 days$12 per day, up to $360
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If there is a lapse in your coverage for 90 days, your total cost in fees will be $900.

License or registration suspended for driving without insurance

Here's how it works: Once your insurance coverage lapses for any reason, your insurer will notify the DMV. In turn, the DMV will send you an inquiry letter asking whether you carry the required auto liability insurance.

When you receive that inquiry letter, you must send proof that you carry liability insurance or tell the DMV you've sold your car and no longer require insurance. If you can't show proof of insurance, then you'll receive the Definite Suspension Order.

This order allows the DMV to suspend your license or registration, but you'll typically get a grace period — up to 90 days — to pay a civil penalty, prove you've purchased insurance and maintain your driving privileges. If you're unable to pay the fine, then you can surrender your plates and registration within those 90 days. But if your insurance has lapsed for more than 90 days, then your license or registration may be suspended for the number of days you allowed your insurance to lapse.

For example, if your insurance lapsed for 400 days, then your registration or license will be suspended for 400 days. For more information about insurance lapses, check here.

The Definite Suspension Order that was mailed to you will include information about when the suspension period will end and the necessary actions you must take. It's illegal to drive your car during the suspension period.

Reinstating your license or registration

Once you've received a Definite Order of Suspension, you should check whether your license is still valid. Use the DMV's My License, Permit, or ID service.

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If you received an order of suspension but you're unsure about your insurance status, check online using these instructions. You'll need the following documents on hand:

  • The 10-digit document number listed on the bottom of the suspension order. Check here for a sample document.
  • Your vehicle plate number

After you check your insurance status online and verify that your insurance has lapsed, you must submit proof of insurance to the DMV. There are two ways to submit proof of insurance to the NY DMV:

1. Online: You can submit proof of insurance online by providing the following information:

  • The 10-digit document number listed on the bottom of the suspension order
  • Your vehicle plate number
  • Your New York state insurance identification card

2. By mail: You can also submit proof of insurance by mailing the bottom part of your insurance letter and a photocopy of your New York state insurance identification card to the following address:

NYS DMV Financial Security Bureau PO Box 2725 Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12220-0725

In addition to submitting proof of insurance, you'll have to pay a suspension termination fee of $50. You'll enter your name or DMV ID number, your date of birth and gender, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. You can also pay the suspension termination fee in person at a DMV office or by mail.

Paying the suspension termination fee does not guarantee that the DMV will restore your license or registration. If there are other problems with your record, you should check your MyDMV account to see how you can resolve outstanding issues.

If the DMV is satisfied with your payment, it will mail your license or registration to you within three business days of the end of your suspension period. You will have to wait for the suspension period to end before you can legally drive.

Additional information

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.

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

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