Lapse in car insurance, no accidents/tickets but went through tolls. Will the dmv find out?

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Asked August 21, 2018

1 Answer


Your statement in regards to tolls doesn't clarify if your concern involves PennDOT becoming aware of your situation because of unpaid tolls or cameras at toll booths that recorded your license plate number. That said, no matter the scenario, you're responsible for maintaining a minimum amount of insurance coverage to drive legally in Pennsylvania. You must have at least liability coverage for people and property in any type of vehicle accident where you're at fault. Insurance agents describe this minimum coverage in terms of injury or death of one person, injury or death of multiple people and damage to another person's property.

Pennsylvania Turnpike toll booths do record vehicles and license plates. As a result, the Pennsylvania DMV, known as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or PennDOT, could actually find out if you have lapsed coverage if a police officer or PennDOT official decided to run your license plate number for some reason. Your otherwise clean driving history doesn't matter. You should never drive without insurance. When you're caught having lapsed insurance, you typically receive a fine of several hundred dollars and a three-month suspension. You must give PennDOT your driver's license card and vehicle plate at the start of the suspension period. To regain your driving privileges, you must show PennDOT proof that you have up-to-date and valid insurance at the end of the three months. You must also pay a license restoration fee.

Exceptions to these rules do exist: You can prevent suspension if you can prove that you didn't drive your vehicle during a period of insurance lapse that lasted no longer than a month or 31 days. You can also usually prevent it by paying PennDOT the license restoration fee coupled with a civil penalty fee of several hundred dollars. This second exception only applies if you didn't already have a previous suspension during the 12 months prior to the current one. Of course, the best course of action is to maintain your insurance coverage at all times. If you're having difficulty paying your premiums, compare companies and coverage options to find the best deal possible. Additionally, many companies allow policyholders to arrange small monthly payments for a nominal fee. Some insurers in Pennsylvania even accept late payments for an additional fee.

Answered August 23, 2018 by bestrates

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