Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • A driver’s license is necessary to get car insurance in most cases
  • There are a few instances where a driver’s license may not be required
  • You may want more insurance than your state’s minimum requirements
  • Obtaining your license is as easy as a few simple steps
  • Getting caught driving without a license or car insurance can bring some major consequences

Obtaining auto insurance is a fairly easy process. As long as you have a driver’s license and a clean driving record, you should have no problem securing insurance for your vehicle.

If you don’t have a driver’s license, however, there are very limited instances where you can get insurance.

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Why do I need a license to get car insurance?

Your driver’s license is one of the most important forms of identity you can own. In fact, it is the most universally accepted form of identification in the United States.

A driver’s license is important to car insurance companies because it serves as a verification that you have the authority to legally drive in your state.

It also allows the insurance company to check your driving record, which gives them an idea of what kind of risk they are taking in insuring you.

Having a good driving record gives the indication that you are a responsible driver and can drastically reduce your insurance premium.

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What are the few exceptions where I can obtain auto insurance without a license?


In general, there are three instances where auto insurance will insure you without a license, including:

  • The Mexican identification card, also known as the matrícula consular, can act as a substitute for a driver’s license in some states.
  • If you are not able to operate a vehicle due to a disability or other valid reason, you may be able to obtain car insurance on a vehicle you own if you can list someone else as a primary driver.
  • If you previously had a license but it was suspended or revoked, your state’s DMV might require that you obtain auto insurance before they reinstate it; however, you may have a more difficult time finding a company who will insure you if your license was suspended or revoked.

To find out more about your specific state’s rules and regulations on licensing and auto insurance, visit USA.gov and choose your state from the drop-down list.

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How do I get my license?

If there’s nothing preventing you from obtaining a license, the simplest thing for you to do is to go get your license. As long as you are over the age of 18, you typically have to:

  • Take a written knowledge test
  • Schedule and take a driving skills test
  • Pay a small fee

If you feel the need for professional training, there is adult driver’s training available if you choose to do so.

If you are under the age of 18, you will most likely be required to take a teen driver’s training course before applying for your license. Each state has their own licensing requirements, so it is best to check with your local DMV for the specifics of obtaining your license.

If you want to drive, car insurance isn’t an option that you can just choose to go without. Most states, with the exception of Virginia and New Hampshire, have minimum requirements for car insurance.

Liability insurance is the most common requirement. The limits required vary from state to state.

Although liability insurance is important, it only offers coverage to help you pay for the other parties injuries or property damage that you are responsible for. This is why you may want to consider opting for coverage beyond the minimum requirements.

Here are some of other types of car insurance that you should be aware of:

  • Collision  pays for damages to your vehicle caused by a car accident.
  • Comprehensive  pays for damages to your vehicle caused by something other than a car accident.
  • Personal Injury Protection  pays for you or your passenger’s injuries and medical bills.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured  protects you from those without insurance or from those who do not have enough insurance to cover your expenses.

All this coverage combined offers a solid car insurance policy. It is important to note, however, that you may not need all the coverage listed. You will find it beneficial to evaluate your lifestyle to determine what coverage you do and don’t need.

How are car insurance rates determined?

Car insurance rates are determined by a number of factors, such as:

  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Where you live
  • Your credit history

Shopping around and comparing multiple insurance quotes will help you get the best rates. However, keep in mind that the lowest rates do not always mean that the company is in good standing.

Always do your research and check the company out with the Better Business Bureau.

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What are the penalties for not having car insurance

If you don’t comply with your state’s car insurance requirements, be prepared for substantial penalties. You could possibly face fines, drivers license suspension or revocation, as well as be denied vehicle registration.

Driving without car insurance is not only illegal, but it also puts you at risk for tremendous financial liability if you’re in an accident.

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