Does Expired Registration Void Your Car Insurance Policy?

Last Updated on October 4, 2021

It is perfectly understandable to let your automobile registration lapse. Life is busy, things get lost in the shuffle and minor details like renewing your car’s registration can easily fall between the cracks. However, it is imperative you keep your car registration and auto insurance up-to-date. Let’s take a look at whether allowing automobile registration to lapse affects your car insurance policy.

Car Registration and Auto Insurance

Does Expired Registration Void Your Car Insurance Policy?Notify your auto insurance provider as soon as you purchase a new car, a used car, or otherwise switch vehicles. The new vehicle must be registered in order to receive the insurance coverage, tags, and license plate. If you do not update your car registration, it does not mean your auto insurance will be canceled. These two items have nothing to do with one another. However, there are repercussions for letting your car registration lapse. The law requires every automobile on the road to have up-to-date registration. Fail to keep your car registration current and your vehicle will be illegal.

Though unlikely, it is possible that those who let their auto registration expire might also lose their car insurance. Take a look at your auto insurance contract and you will find a list of things that can automatically revoke the insurance. Furthermore, if your auto insurance is removed, it will be that much more difficult to register your vehicle. It will prove impossible to obtain a new license sticker without proof that the policy is legitimate.

What Happens to Those Who Drive With a Lapsed Registration

Does a ticket for expired tags affect insurance? Does an expired registration ticket affect insurance? If you are caught driving a car that is not registered, you will actually face a citation for operating an unregistered vehicle. The penalty includes a small fine as driving without registration is a non-moving violation. This violation will be reported to the auto insurance company. The insurance provider can hike your insurance rates or even refuse coverage after learning of this transgression. The failure to renew your car registration will be listed on your personal driving record for a minimum of three years.

Why Expired Registration Rarely Affects Auto Insurance

What happens if your car is not registered? In most cases, the status of vehicle registration has no impact on auto insurance. The vehicle remains insured as long as you pay your auto insurance premiums on time and in full. This way, even if the vehicle’s registration expires, it will still be covered through the insurance policy. The two services are provided through distinct organizations: the state’s DMV and the auto insurance company. These services are in no way dependent upon one another.

Consider the issue of lapsed automobile registration from the perspective of the auto insurance provider. This group is looking to make money by insuring the vehicle in question. There is no concern over whether the vehicle was re-registered by the state’s deadline. The insurance company merely cares about the vehicle’s ownership status and whether the premiums are being paid in full and on time each month. When in doubt, take a look at your auto insurance agreement to determine if there is any language pertaining to expired auto registration impacting the insurance policy.

Can I Get Insurance With Expired Registration?

The issue of purchasing a new auto insurance policy on a vehicle with an expired registration is a different one. Most states actually make it a requirement to buy insurance for your vehicle before registering it. You usually have to buy insurance coverage before you drive your car off of the dealer lot. Most insurance companies, however, do not enforce vehicle registration laws. That being said, your insurer expects you to register your vehicle shortly after purchasing it. Driving without valid registration, can lead to tickets and impounding and eventually increase your auto insurance rates.

Why Is Car Registration so Important?

The state makes a big deal about car registration as it is essential to identify each and every vehicle on the road as completely unique. Registering each vehicle really does deter criminal behavior as all vehicles can be traced and identified to a certain extent. Most states now rely on a high-tech means of retrieving information known as automatic license plate recognition. This tech instantaneously provides the vehicle owner’s name, driver’s license status, and the vehicle’s registration data. So don’t assume you can get away with an unregistered vehicle. If the police have reasonable cause to scan your license plate and do some digging on your vehicle, they will find out your automobile registration has expired and you will face the consequences.

The moral of the story is to write down the date of your car registration’s expiration on a calendar to plan ahead well in advance. Keep your car registration current and you won’t have to worry about losing your car insurance, dealing with the DMV, and jumping through bureaucratic hoops to simply get your car back on the road.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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