Can you Get a License Plate without Insurance | An Expert Guide

Can you get a license plate without insurance? You must register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles if you plan on driving on public roads (DMV). Before legally documenting your car in most places, you must have insurance.

An insurance card or a printout of your coverage information is usually sufficient for a driver’s license. Depending on the state, you may need to present proof of insurance as part of the application process (Indiana for one).

Regulations differ from state to state. If you’ve just moved or are in the market for a new vehicle, you owe it to yourself to educate yourself on the procedure. If you want to know if you can register a car without insurance, go no further than our tutorial.

When registering your vehicle, some states need you to provide proof of insurance. In contrast, others don’t require you to show it at all if you renew your policy by mail (but probably require you to fill out a statement that you DO have it with the CURRENT information). Exceptions appear to be becoming rarer and rarer as time goes on.

You need insurance to register a vehicle and get a license plate in the rest of the United States. Each state has its insurance requirements, including coverage types and limits. 

As an example:

  • There are several requirements in New Hampshire, including a signed odometer disclosure declaration and evidence of ownership.
  • You can pay an uninsured motor vehicle charge instead of a title, registration form VSA 14, or emissions inspection in some jurisdictions.

Then, let’s take a closer look at this issue:

License Plate without Insurance

Can You Get A License Plate Without Insurance
  • Liability insurance is required in 22 states. These are some states: AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, GA, ID, IN, IA, LA, MS, MT, NV, NM, OH, OK, RI, TN, TX, VT, WA, WY.
  • BI, PD, and UM coverage are mandated in ten states. NC, CT, IL, NE, SD, MN, MO, SC, WV, WI are among those states.
  • Property Damage Liability (PD) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) are the only mandatory coverage’s in Florida.
  • BI, PD, and PIP are mandated in 8 states. AR, DE, HI, KS, KY, MI, PA, UT are some of the states in this group.
  • Depending on where you live, the minimum coverage you must have varies.
  • In some places, liability limits for bodily injury and property damage are as low as $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident (Florida) (Pennsylvania).
  • In Bodily Injury Liability coverage, most states need $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident.

Bodily Injury Liability Limits: Alaska and Maine now have the highest limits for bodily injury liability, requiring $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.

Do You Need Coverage to Register a Car?

Can You Get A License Plate Without Insurance

Before legally registering your car in most places, you must have insurance. An insurance card or a printout of your coverage information is usually sufficient for a driver’s license.

If the proof of insurance is legitimate, the car you want to register is listed, and the state minimum coverage is provided, your DMV agent will check this information.

Every one to five years, drivers must renew their license plates, depending on the state in which they reside. You may renew your driver’s license online and receive automatic renewal notices in most states.

States want to cut down on uninsured motorists on the road by connecting registration and insurance. Although statistics suggest that most uninsured drivers result from expired policies, this is not always the case.

To operate a vehicle in New Hampshire, drivers are not required to acquire liability insurance. However, proof of financial responsibility is required and must be sufficient to cover the costs of an at-fault accident.

DMV Registration Requirements

DMV Registration Requirements

All states have distinct forms for registering vehicles with the DMV. In Nevada, for example, you’ll need proof of insurance, a title, and a clean emissions inspection to register your vehicle. Registration does not necessitate the production of evidence of insurance in Indiana. 

Title, driver’s license, and registration costs are required. Physical car inspections are required in many states, including Vermont. Emissions testing are required in some states, such as Arizona.

What’s the difference between a registration, license plate, and tag?

What's the difference between a registration, license plate, and tag

The license plate and tag are integral to registering a car. The vehicle owner will obtain either a registration card or certificate as part of the registration process, remaining with the vehicle.

However, license plates are issued by the state’s motor vehicles department and new registrations to quickly identify the car externally and which state it was registered in.

The standards for registration tags vary from state to state, but they are also a component of the registration procedure. The presence of a marker indicates that the user’s registration is up-to-date.

License plate stickers are often included in registration renewals, and you can apply the tag to the plate. This makes it possible to verify the validity of a vehicle’s registration without changing its license plates. Learn more about state-specific regulations for car insurance coverage.

Is Proof of Insurance Necessary to Register a Vehicle?

The majority of states need you to have car insurance before acquiring your license plate. However, even if your state doesn’t, you must have a minimum-coverage auto insurance policy before legally driving there.

Only in New Hampshire is it necessary to carry a liability insurance policy to drive an automobile. Drivers must, however, show that they can afford to pay for an accident in the event of one, which implies they must demonstrate that they are financially responsible.

Most New Hampshire drivers often purchase liability insurance to meet this need. Check the chart below to see when proof of insurance is required in your state.

Rather than making a trip to the DMV to renew your license, most states now provide an online option. According to the state and year of the car, drivers must renew their registration every 1 to 5 years. Since newer vehicles are built to meet stricter pollution requirements, they are less likely to need renewals.

Many states allow you to sign up for an automatic renewal reminder online. Liability insurance must be current in all states except New Hampshire to re-register. Find your state’s renewal information in the table below.

What happens if I let my insurance expire?

What happens if I let my insurance expire

Driving without insurance is a misdemeanor punishable by penalties and potential jail time if it is a recurring offense. Your insurance company will notify the DMV when your policy expires to keep your registration current in a condition where you use an electronic filing. You will then receive a reminder to renew your insurance.

What will happen if my uninsured vehicle is in a traffic crash?

What will happen if my uninsured vehicle is in a traffic crash

You will have to pay fines and penalties and suspend your license and registration.

The DMV will cancel your driver’s license and vehicle registration for at least one year if you or someone else driving your vehicle has been in a traffic accident and doesn’t have insurance (your car).

For driving without insurance or enabling another individual to drive your uninsured vehicle, you could face a $1,500 punishment in traffic court. If they revoke your driver’s license, you will also have to pay the DMV a $750 civil penalty to get it back.

How to Get Auto Insurance to Register Vehicle?

For example, if you’re moving to a new state, you may need to get an entirely new one. There is a 60-day deadline for registering your automobile in New Mexico if you relocate to the state.

Is it possible to receive a driver’s license without insurance? As you are aware, the answer is almost certainly no. So, what should you do now? DMV visits aren’t fun, but making repeated journeys to the DMV to accomplish a single transaction is a waste of time.

You need a few preparatory steps before your trip to the DMV when you’re ready to register your automobile. While the required coverage options and limits vary from state to state, most of them mandate the same minimum levels of coverage.

There are many different types of insurance policies out there, but here is what you can expect to find on the most basic:

  • Damage to Persons and Property
  • PIP (Personal Injury Insurance) (required in no-fault states)
  • Protection for Uninsured Motorists (required in some states)
  • Insurers need to notify the DMV electronically if they claim against your policy.
  • Insurers have terminated your policy.
  • Reinstatement of your insurance policy
  • A different approach now covers you.

You have two options when responding to the letter from the DMV:

  • Show that an insurance policy covers you
  • Show that you sold the automobile
  • Demonstrating that insurance was not necessary

Your insurance company should also file an electronic notice with the DMV for you if you have insurance coverage, not your agent or broker.

If you don’t have liability insurance for your vehicle, you must immediately return your plates to the DMV.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my insurance is canceled or reinstated, or I get new insurance?

Do you have to have insurance to obtain license plates? Both of these questions have an affirmative answer.

There are a few things to remember when car insurance and registering your vehicle. If you intend to drive a car, it is your responsibility to have it registered and to have your license plates visible at all times. Vehicles parked on public streets and highways without a valid license plate or temporary placard are subject to towing and fines.

If you just bought a car or are moving to a new state, you are responsible for registering your vehicle and obtaining license plates and tags in the form where you will be living. However, in most jurisdictions, you don’t need to provide proof of insurance before you can get your license plates and tags.

Even though you don’t have to provide proof while filing your application, you must have the bare minimum of obligatory insurance coverage needed by your state.

To obtain a vehicle identification number (VIN), you must have proof of auto insurance. Find the auto insurance you need to register your car and drive lawfully in your state right now by entering your ZIP code.

How do I get a license plate without insurance?

A state that does not demand proof of insurance to register your vehicle is the only way to receive license plates without insurance, as we have previously said.

Do I need insurance for temporary plates?

For temporary plates and tags, you require proof of insurance even if you live in a state that does not require it.

Do You Need Proof of Insurance to Register a Car?

Although seven states do not require it, most states need proof of insurance or financial responsibility for registration. Arizona, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin are the six states that integrate this group.

Can a person without a license register a car?

You cannot register a vehicle or purchase license plates unless you have a valid driver’s license. In most places, you cannot receive full coverage auto insurance.

Is it legal to drive without a license plate?

A back-end license plate is mandatory for all drivers in every state. As a rule, driving home after purchasing a new car is an exception. State-by-state legislation differs regarding front license plates, yet the rules are generally the same. Some require it, but others don’t.

Bottom line

In the United States, there are two forms of insurance. The tort system governs auto insurance in the vast majority of states. When an accident occurs because of someone else’s negligence, they are accountable for covering any associated medical expenses and the cost of repairs. 

Bodily injury and property damage liability insurance are mandated in these states for all motorists. Uninsured motorist coverage and medical costs are two examples of optional coverage some states require.

Seven states do not demand proof of insurance or financial responsibility for registering your vehicle and the issuance of tags. Arizona, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin are the six states. New Hampshire is the only state that does not mandate a minimum level of liability insurance to operate a vehicle.

In most states, getting a license plate requires proof of motor insurance. You must provide proof of auto insurance to register your vehicle and obtain license plates in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

Your state may demand that you carry liability insurance. Getting a conventional license plate or a temporary license plate does not necessitate car insurance in all seven states.


Adam Grabois is an expert in all aspects of Insurance and Property with 20 years of experience. He is a licensed broker of all lines including property, casualty, life, and health. As a licensed adjuster, he is well-versed in all aspects of insurance, and he owns All Needs Insurance agency in Florida.

He attended Tufts University where he earned his undergraduate degree, followed by a Master's degree from Columbia University.

Adam shares his breadth of experience by helping many businesses and individuals manage risk and protect themselves financially. He now shares this with the audience of the "Pro Insurance Info" website.

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