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To drive legally in Pennsylvania, you'll need to maintain financial responsibility, typically in the form of auto insurance coverage, for as long as a vehicle is registered in your name. Operating a vehicle without appropriate coverage, or allowing your auto insurance policy to lapse, can result in serious penalties, including license and registration suspension and fines.
License or registration suspended for driving without insurance
Driving a vehicle without insurance coverage is a serious offense in Pennsylvania. Those caught driving without financial responsibility will face the following penalties:
- A minimum $300 fine
- A three-month suspension of your vehicle registration
- A three-month suspension of your driver's license
As part of a suspension, you must surrender the vehicle's registration plate and your driver's license to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). To reinstate your license and registration, you'll need to pay a restoration fee for each. Also, as long as your vehicle's registration is suspended, nobody can drive it.
In lieu of the three-month suspension, you may choose to pay a civil penalty of $500. To do so, complete form MV-222, "Application for Payment of Civil Penalty in Lieu of Registration Suspension," and submit it with your payments and proof of insurance to PennDOT. You will still be required to pay a restoration fee in addition to the $500 payment, and you may only take advantage of this civil penalty once every 12 months.
What if my policy temporarily lapsed?
If you allowed your insurance policy to temporarily lapse, your license and registration may be suspended for three months. However, if the lapse in coverage was less than 31 days and you prove to PennDOT that you did not operate the vehicle during that time, the suspension may be avoided. For example, if you were out of the country during the lapse, you may be able to reasonably prove that you did not drive the vehicle while uninsured.
If you intentionally canceled or allowed your insurance policy to lapse, you must send your registration plate and registration card to the following address within 30 days of the cancellation date to avoid vehicle registration suspension penalties.
- Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- Return Tag Unit
- P.O. Box 68597
- Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597
If you canceled your policy because you sold the vehicle, send PennDOT a copy of the front and back of the Certificate of Title or bill of sale indicating the new owner.
How to reinstate your license or registration in Pennsylvania
Once you've finished your three-month suspension, you may reinstate your license and registration. You'll pay $94 to reinstate your registration and up to $88 to reinstate your driver's license, in addition to any fines or civil payments associated with your violation.
To pay your restoration fees, you will need to supply the following information.
- The first eight digits of your vehicle's title number
- Your vehicle identification number (VIN)
- The first two characters of the owner's last name (or company name, if titled by a company)
You may submit your payments by mailing a money order to:
- PennDOT, Financial Responsibility Section
- P.O. Box 68674
- Harrisburg, PA 17106-8674
Once your registration is restored, the state will issue you a new registration plate.
License suspension and points
In Pennsylvania, you will receive points on your driving record for committing traffic violations, such as excessive speeding or driving without the minimum required auto insurance coverage. The penalties for accumulating points are outlined below.
|Accumulate six points on your driving record|
|First offense||Take and pass a written examination within 30 days of receiving your notice. If you fail to pass the exam within 30 days, your license will be suspended. If you pass, two points will be removed from your record.|
|Second offense||The second time your total points accumulate to six or more, you will have to attend a department hearing, at which you may be ordered to take a special on-road driver's examination or face a 15-day license suspension.|
|Third or subsequent offense||Attend a department hearing and face a potential 30-day license suspension. If you fail to attend your hearing, your license will be suspended indefinitely until you do attend.|
|Accumulate 11 points on your record||Automatic license suspension, based on the number of prior suspensions.|
|First suspension||Five days per point|
|Second suspension||10 days per point|
|Third suspension||15 days per point|
|Any subsequent suspension||One year|
|Excessive speeding (at least 31 miles per hour over the speed limit)||Department hearing, at which you will receive either a 15-day suspension or be ordered to take an on-road driver's examination. Failure to attend the hearing will result in a 60-day license suspension.|
Drivers under the age of 18 face stricter penalties. If you accumulate six or more points or exceed the speed limit by 26 miles per hour or more, your license will be suspended for 90 days. For each additional instance that you violate these thresholds, your license will be suspended for 120 days.
How do I remove points from my record?
For every 12 consecutive months without incurring a license suspension or revocation, three points will be removed from your driving record. If your record remains at zero points for 12 consecutive months, any new points will be regarded as a first accumulation.