No Auto Insurance Coverage in Pennsylvania?

July 30, 2010 in auto insurance, auto insurance coverage, pennsylvania department of transportation, property damage

If you have a registered vehicle in the state of Pennsylvania, then you must maintain vehicle liability insurance.  Liability insurance will cover property damage or injuries that you may cause others in a vehicle crash.


What will happen if I don’t have auto insurance?

So what happens if you own a registered vehicle in Pennsylvania and do not have insurance?  That depends on you.  To avoid any potential penalties, if you do not have an in-force auto insurance policy, you should surrender your registration plate to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) immediately. 

To surrender your registration plate, you can mail it to:

Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Return Tag Unit
P.O. Box 68597
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597

Do I have to surrender my plates if my vehicle isn’t being driven?

Yes, you must surrender your registration plates, stickers and card.  Even if your vehicle is in storage, not being driven, or is in the repair shop, you must maintain auto insurance coverage as long as the vehicle retains a registration plate.

What are the penalties of not maintaining the required insurance?

First, it is important to state again that you will not face any penalties if you turn in your plates.  If your insurance lapses, the state allows you 31 days to provide proof that you did not operate your vehicle during this time.  If you are unable to provide proof or you fail to surrender your plates, you may face the following penalties:

  • A $300 or more fine (for driving without insurance)
  • Suspension of your driver license privileges for three months

If your license is suspended, you will receive a letter from PennDOT. In addition, after being assessed penalties and once you acquire the mandatory insurance, you will be charged a $50 vehicle registration reinstatement fee and a $50 driver license reinstatement fee.  You will also need to submit proof of your recently acquired auto insurance.

What if my vehicle was taken to a salvage yard?

If you “junked” the vehicle and therefore cancelled your insurance, then you must send to PennDOT a copy of the salvage yard certificate or a “letter of salvage” from your insurance company detailing the new owner.

What should I do if I canceled my insurance because my vehicle was repossessed?

In the state of Pennsylvania you must still keep the mandatory insurance on a reposed vehicle as long as it is still registered with the state.  If you cancel the insurance on a reposed vehicle, then you must surrender the registration plate from the vehicle with 30 days of the cancellation date to avoid suspension.

How will PennDOT know I don’t have the proper car insurance?

Insurance companies in Pennsylvania are required to notify PennDOT when an insurance policy is cancelled by the owner of the policy.  An owner initiated cancellation includes when your policy cancels because of non-payment.  Auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania are not required to send notification to PennDOT when a vehicle owner purchases a new insurance policy, whether it be with the same company or a different insurance company.  If PennDOT sends you a “proof letter” it is your responsibility to provide PennDOT with proof of your insurance