For a variety of reasons, many drivers are currently unlicensed, but does this mean they can’t get insurance?
According to research cited by ABC News, one in every five fatal car crashes in the United States each year involves a driver who does not have a valid license, or whose license is suspended or revoked . This is despite the fact that it is legally mandated in all 50 states that you must have a license and valid insurance in order to drive. There are, however, legitimate reasons you might need to insure a car you aren’t currently driving.
In the following article we’ll discuss…
Let’s get started…
Table of Contents
Insurance Policies for Unlicensed Drivers
A lot of agencies and carriers offer insurance for unlicensed drivers. You may be wondering why that is (given that it’s illegal). There are two primary answers to this question.
- While someone may not be legally licensed to drive, they may own a vehicle and need insurance in order to protect it — while someone else drives it, or while it sits on the street.
- Insurance companies are aware that many people drive without licenses. Of course they do not advocate this, but they know it will happen, and allowing these people to be insured is better than nothing (for the sake of the driver, and anyone who might get in a crash with them).
When you fill out an auto insurance application, you will be asked to provide your driver’s license information. There is, however, a technicality here that allows unlicensed drivers to get covered in some cases.
What you can do is designate someone else as the primary driver. You can do this even if your name and money are behind the policy, unless you are an excluded driver or the policy states that only the primary driver is covered.
Rates for Unlicensed Drivers
One common scenario people find themselves in is they have a license but it has been suspended. However, a lot of carriers will allow you to purchase a plan if you can demonstrate that you plan on getting it back (taking whatever steps required).
Unfortunately, insurance companies also gauge rates (to some extent) based on the driving record of the primary driver. If that’s you, and your license is suspended, you will probably get dinged with higher rates. There are, however, “physical damage” policies available that may be cheaper, depending on the situation.
There may be very tight stipulations regarding coverage depending on what the policy says. In other words, you need to understand the fine print of any insurance contract you enter into. Some companies will not provide coverage if an accident is caused by an unlicensed driver.
If you have a learners permit, most companies will still give you insurance if necessary. But in most cases, if there is a licensed adult in the car with you (as there should be), you will be covered by their insurance (assuming they have it).
The Consequences of Driving Without a License
Driving without a license is illegal, and should be avoided. According to the Law Dictionary:
“If no crash occurred and the driver wasn’t driving under the influence of anything, the charge for driving without a license for the first time will be a misdemeanor one that is punishable by fines, community service and/or possibly jail time. However, if the lack of a license is due to DUI or the license being revoked for some other reason charges are often much harsher and tend to involve jail time’” 
In the end, specific consequences boil down to the circumstances surrounding your license and what the law says in your state.
If you choose to drive without one you are inviting problems far bigger than insurance concerns. Risking it is not worth it.
Yes, it’s true that if you don’t have a license you can find a way to get some form of insurance coverage through various loopholes. You will likely pay higher premiums though, and more importantly, driving without one is not recommended (for obvious reasons).
Check around to make sure you’re getting a good deal, and keep the basics in mind.
- Insurance coverage can be obtained by an unlicensed driver if that person names someone else as the primary driver on their policy, but also check the specifics to be sure.
- Insurance premiums are often based off of a driving record; having suspensions or a revoked license will probably mean that your rates will be higher than average.
- The penalty(s) for driving without a license can range from a fine to time spent in jail. Driving without a license is illegal and not recommended.
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