Do You Need a Driver's License to Get Car Insurance?

••• wallet and car key image by Richard Seeney from

You might think a driver's license is necessary to obtain auto insurance, but that's not always true. Each insurer sets its own policies regarding whether or not driver's licenses are required. If you must obtain insurance but do not have a valid license, you may have a hard time finding an insurer to sell you a policy, but it won't be impossible.

Learner's Permit

Many young people who are learning to drive for the first time will not have a problem obtaining insurance even before they secure their driver's licenses, because it is common for them to be insured on their parents' or guardians' policies. Insurers generally accept these risks because they assume a legal driver will be present in the vehicle. If you are an older person or are living by yourself, you may have a harder time finding someone to insure you.

Non-Operational Vehicles

For some people, cars are collectibles rather than daily driving machines. You might want to protect such a vehicle against damage only -- without any liability coverage -- if you intend to never drive them. Some specialty insurers may be willing to offer this type of coverage, and since your driving ability will not be an issue, then it doesn't matter whether you have a license.

Temporary Insurance

If your license expired and you failed to renew it on time, or if you must serve a temporary license suspension, your insurer may issue you a temporary policy under the condition that you secure a valid license within a specified period of time, like 30 or 45 days. While this insurance is valid, it is also conditional. The policy will eventually cancel if you do not obtain your license.

SR-22 Insurance

In some cases, like after a DUI conviction or other major offense, the courts will revoke a person's driver's license but require insurance anyway. This license revocation might be six months or longer and might even be permanent. If this happens, most insurers will likely refuse to sell you a policy. But some companies specialize in this type of insurance. Look for insurers that specialize in DUI cases, and you will likely find one willing to sell you a policy for the duration of your court sentence.