Drivers in Pennsylvania are required to maintain financial responsibility, which means carrying car insurance with no-fault medical benefits and vehicle liability coverage. If you cannot provide proof of insurance coverage, the state will automatically suspend your driver's license and registration and fine you $300.
Penalties for driving without insurance
If caught driving without car insurance, you will have to surrender your driver's license and possibly your vehicle registration — and pay fees to get them back. Remember: while your registration is suspended, no one else can drive your car, either.
Penalties for first and subsequent offenses
If you're caught driving without insurance and it's your first offense, the state will fine you $300 and suspend your registration and driver's license for three months.
Your vehicle may also be impounded. Plus, you'll pay a $94 fee to restore your vehicle registration and another fee to reinstate your driver's license. The cost to reinstate your license varies but would typically be around $100.
The fine may increase if you're caught driving without insurance more than once. Here's what you can expect:
|Driving privileges||Suspended for three months|
|Suspended for three months*|
*Suspension waived if you choose to pay a $500 civil penalty
Statement of non-operation of motor vehicle (MV-221)
If you know your insurance is going to lapse, you can surrender your registration immediately to the state and avoid any penalties.
Even if you don't take that proactive step, you still have options if your coverage has lapsed for fewer than 31 days. You may choose to pay a onetime $500 civil penalty and avoid the registration suspension. You'll need to send proof of current insurance coverage to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), show you haven’t driven the car while your policy has lapsed and file an MV-221 form to avoid restoration fees.
It's also a good idea to update your auto insurance information with the DMV when you know there has been a short lapse.
Civil penalty option instead of suspension
Under state law, Pennsylvania may waive your registration suspension if you choose to pay a $500 civil penalty plus a $94 reinstatement fee. Your driver's license will still be suspended, but this may help if your family members need to drive the car.
This option is only available once every 12 months. So if you're caught driving without insurance again within that year, you'll have to surrender your driving privileges.
How much car insurance do I need in Pennsylvania?
Here's the minimum amount of insurance all drivers must carry:
- $5,000 in medical benefits
- $15,000 for bodily injury per person
- $30,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $5,000 for property damage
There are two main ways Pennsylvania might find out about your lapsed coverage: You can't show proof of insurance when asked by a police officer, or your insurance carrier notifies the state. However, lapses in insurance can also be identified when renewing your vehicle registration or having your car inspected.