Tom Corbett, Governor Barry J. Schoch, P.E., Secretary, Department of Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions:
Insurance

I changed Insurance companies, will my new insurance company notify PennDOT?

Will I be required to send PennDOT proof of insurance each time I change insurance companies?

What if I cancel liability insurance on my motorcycle because it is only used in the summer?

What if I cancel liability insurance on my classic/antique vehicle?

What if I cancel liability insurance on my vehicle because the vehicle is in storage, not running or in the garage for repairs?

What if I cancel my liability insurance on my vehicle because of financial difficulty?

What if I junked the vehicle and cancelled the insurance?

Where can I find more information about Pennsylvania’s Self Insurance Program?

What if I canceled my liability insurance because my vehicle was repossessed and I am going to recover the vehicle?

What if I sold or traded the vehicle in question?

What if I never received notification from my insurance company, indicating insurance coverage was being cancelled?

What if my lien holder maintained insurance on my vehicle, during my insurance lapse?

What happens if I had a lapse of insurance coverage on my vehicle?

I have paid the $50.00 restoration fee; however, PennDOT has no record of it, what should I do?

How can I receive information about restoring my Vehicle Registration?

What if I was never notified by the insurance company of the policy cancellation?

What information must be in the letter produced by an insurance company to have the suspension removed?

I sold the vehicle in question to another PA resident. How do I get this cleared?

I sold the vehicle in question to a relative that is a PA resident. Will the suspension transfer?

What notification from PennDOT would I have received notifying me of the requirements to carry insurance at all times?

Does the Bureau accept out-of-state insurance information or must the information come from a PA insurance company?

My plate was suspended because of a lapse in coverage over 30 days. I want to transfer this plate to a new vehicle I purchased. Can I do this?

I had coverage with several companies during the period PennDOT is questioning. One of those companies has gone out of business. What can I send to satisfy the requirements and avoid suspension?

I submitted proof of insurance indicating I picked up with a new company within 30 days, however, the vehicle was driven and I won't complete an MV-221. What will happen?

Is collateral insurance the same as liability insurance?

I sent my plate in to serve the suspension. It is now my eligibility date and I have met all my restoration requirements. How do I get my plate back?

What happens if I didn't pick up vehicle insurance within the 30 days?

If I was involved in an accident or cited for a traffic violation and didn't have insurance at the time, what will happen?

If I return my plate to PennDOT at the time I cancelled my insurance, will I have to serve the suspension?

If I had two different suspensions against my vehicle registration, am I required to pay the restoration fee twice?

I received notice that I am eligible for restoration of my registration privileges, but the vehicle has now been junked. Do I need to do something?

I received notice that my registration privileges have been restored. I sent the plate to the Bureau to serve my suspension and the plate has now expired. What do I do to get a new registration?

I received a notice with a determination date of January 1st . I picked up insurance on January 1st with a new company and then switched again on March 1st . Do I need to send proof of insurance that covers the determination date to the present?

I own a motorcycle and cancel the insurance each year because I only use it during the summer. Isn't there anything I can do to prevent my registration from getting suspended?

What if my registration plate was taken by law enforcement, what should I send to PennDOT?

Do I need to send the plate, sticker and registration card or just the plate to serve the suspension?

I just found out about the suspension and I am past my suspension effective date. I can prove I had no lapse of insurance. Am I required to pay the $50 restoration fee?

I am in the military overseas and was not aware of my insurance policy cancelling. What do I need to do to have the suspension removed?

What should I do when I receive a letter from the Department stating that my insurance was cancelled; however, I do have insurance with that company?

What if I sold, transferred or traded my vehicle? What do I need to do?

What if I salvaged my vehicle? What do I need to do?

What if I had my vehicle repossessed and I am not going to recover that vehicle? What do I need to do?

Return to Categories Listing

Get Adobe Acrobat Some documents within the FAQs are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print. This software is provided free of charge and you may download the latest version by clicking on the 'Get Acrobat Reader' button.

I changed Insurance companies, will my new insurance company notify PennDOT?

TopReturn to Top

No, Insurance companies are NOT required by law to notify PennDOT when a vehicle owner acquires a new policy. It is the vehicle owner’s responsibility.

Will I be required to send PennDOT proof of insurance each time I change insurance companies?

TopReturn to Top

Only if PennDOT sends you a letter requesting proof of insurance.

What if I cancel liability insurance on my motorcycle because it is only used in the summer?

TopReturn to Top

You can find out more information by downloading the Seasonal Requirements Registration Fact Sheet.

What if I cancel liability insurance on my classic/antique vehicle?

TopReturn to Top

Send your registration plate, sticker, and card into PennDOT immediately upon canceling insurance. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

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

What if I cancel liability insurance on my vehicle because the vehicle is in storage, not running or in the garage for repairs?

TopReturn to Top

Send your registration plate, sticker, and card into PennDOT immediately upon canceling insurance. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

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

What if I cancel my liability insurance on my vehicle because of financial difficulty?

TopReturn to Top

Send your registration plate, sticker, and card into PennDOT immediately upon canceling insurance. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

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

What if I junked the vehicle and cancelled the insurance?

TopReturn to Top

Please send PennDOT a copy of your salvage certificate or a letter of salvage from your insurance company indicating the new owner.

Where can I find more information about Pennsylvania’s Self Insurance Program?

TopReturn to Top

Please refer to our Self-Insurance information page.

What if I canceled my liability insurance because my vehicle was repossessed and I am going to recover the vehicle?

TopReturn to Top

You must keep valid insurance on a registered vehicle. If you are going to cancel your insurance while your vehicle is repossessed, you must send to PennDOT the registration plate, card and sticker within 30 days of the cancellation date to avoid the vehicle registration being suspended.

What if I sold or traded the vehicle in question?

TopReturn to Top

Please send PennDOT a copy of the front and back of the Certificate of Title or bill of sale indicating the new owner.

What if I never received notification from my insurance company, indicating insurance coverage was being cancelled?

TopReturn to Top

Contact the Pennsylvania Insurance Department at 1-877-881-6388.

What if my lien holder maintained insurance on my vehicle, during my insurance lapse?

TopReturn to Top

Insurance maintained by the lien holder is not liability insurance: it only protects the lender. Collateral protection insurance is not an acceptable form of insurance.

What happens if I had a lapse of insurance coverage on my vehicle?

TopReturn to Top

This information can be obtained by downloading the Insurance Law Fact Sheet.

I have paid the $50.00 restoration fee; however, PennDOT has no record of it, what should I do?

TopReturn to Top

If you have already paid your restoration fee, you should mail a front and back copy of your cancelled check or money order to PennDOT.

How can I receive information about restoring my Vehicle Registration?

TopReturn to Top

If you are unaware of what is required to have your vehicle registration restored, you may print a free copy of your restoration requirements letter by clicking on VR Restoration Requirement. You will need to provide the first eight numbers of the vehicle title number, the last four numbers of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and the first two characters of the owner’s last name or the first two characters of the company’s name if a company owns the vehicle.

What if I was never notified by the insurance company of the policy cancellation?

TopReturn to Top

You still need to be compliant to the law and to have maintained insurance for the vehicle. If you were not compliant and a suspension is likely, you may contact the Insurance Department at 1-877-881-6388 to file a complaint.

What information must be in the letter produced by an insurance company to have the suspension removed?

TopReturn to Top

The letter must be on company letterhead and contain the policy number, effective date and expiration date, VIN and the insurance company's NAIC number and must be signed and dated by an official representative of the insurance company's headquarter.

I sold the vehicle in question to another PA resident. How do I get this cleared?

TopReturn to Top

Until ownership has been transferred on the system, you must provide a copy of the front and back of the Certificate of Title or a bill of sale indicating the new owner.

I sold the vehicle in question to a relative that is a PA resident. Will the suspension transfer?

TopReturn to Top

If the Department has reason to believe that the transfer took place as a means to avoid suspension, the possibility exists that the suspension will carry on to the relative.

What notification from PennDOT would I have received notifying me of the requirements to carry insurance at all times?

TopReturn to Top

Your signature on your renewal application self certifies that you have insurance for the period of registration. There is a statement right below the change of address line on your renewal application. When originally purchasing a vehicle, there is also a statement at the bottom of the title application. That same statement is on the MV-105, Application for Registration Renewal.

Does the Bureau accept out-of-state insurance or must the information come from a PA insurance company?

TopReturn to Top

If they are a company that is licensed to write in PA, we will accept it. IF they are not licensed in PA, they have to meet our limits to write automobile insurance in PA.

My plate was suspended because of a lapse in coverage over 30 days. I want to transfer this plate to a new vehicle I purchased. Can I do this?

TopReturn to Top

Since the suspension follows the vehicle and not the plate; you may transfer the plate to a new vehicle. However, the credit towards serving the suspension on your old vehicle will not begin until the date the plate was transferred. If the plate was transferred within 30 days of the insurance cancellation, the record suspension will be removed.

I had coverage with several companies during the period PennDOT is questioning. One of those companies has gone out of business. What can I send to satisfy the requirements and avoid suspension?

TopReturn to Top

Proof of insurance must be submitted within 30 days of the cancellation date, either from the company that went out of business or the company that covers the date in question.

I submitted proof of insurance indicating I picked up with a new company within 30 days, however, the vehicle was driven and I won't complete an MV-221. What will happen?

TopReturn to Top

Because you are unable to meet all requirements requested, you must send PennDOT your plate to serve the three-month suspension. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

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

Is collateral insurance the same as liability insurance?

TopReturn to Top

No and it is not an acceptable form of insurance.

I sent my plate in to serve the suspension. It is now my eligibility date and I have met all my restoration requirements. How do I get my plate back?

TopReturn to Top

Upon restoration, if time remains on the plate, the Department will re-issue a new tag. If the plate has expired, the Department will check for monies to renew. The customer should receive a plate within seven to ten days upon the eligibility date when all restoration requirements have been met. The customer could visit the Riverfront Office Center, located in Harrisburg, to receive the product in hand on eligibility date. If there is time remaining on the plate, the customer can go to an on-line messenger or tag agent to get a new plate issued and have the fee for plate waived.

What happens if I didn't pick up vehicle insurance within 30 days?

TopReturn to Top

A lapse in insurance coverage results in the suspension of your vehicle registration privilege for three months. The registration plate and card must be surrendered to PennDOT in order to serve the suspension. Restoration fees of $50 and proof of insurance must be submitted prior to having your registration privilege returned. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

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

If I was involved in an accident or cited for a traffic violation and didn't have insurance at the time, what will happen?

TopReturn to Top

If you received a Section 6308 citation and were involved in an accident and your record indicates you are in "Requested Status," a current proof of insurance is required. If your record indicates you are in "Pending or Active Status," you will need to provide proof of insurance prior to the suspension effective date and current proof of insurance, which cannot be expired.

If you received a Section 1786 citation and were involved in an accident, a letter on letterhead from your insurance company, specifying you had insurance on the date of the citation, is required.

If it is determined that you were without insurance, your vehicle registration and driver's license will be suspended for three months each. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

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

If I return my plate to PennDOT at the time I cancelled my insurance, will I have to serve the suspension?

TopReturn to Top

No. A suspension may be avoided by the return of the registration plate and card to PennDOT at the time the insurance policy is cancelled or financial responsibility lapses.

If I had two different suspensions against my vehicle registration, am I required to pay the restoration fee twice?

TopReturn to Top

Only one restoration fee is due per vehicle that is suspended.

I received notice that I am eligible for restoration of my registration privileges, but the vehicle has now been junked. Do I need to do something?

TopReturn to Top

Until ownership has been transferred, you must provide a copy of your salvage certificate or a letter of salvage from the insurance company indicating the new owner.

I received notice that my registration privileges have been restored. I sent the plate to the Bureau to serve my suspension and the plate has now expired. What do I do to get a new registration?

TopReturn to Top

By submitting an MV-140 and renewal fee to the Department, you will receive a new registration plate, card and sticker. If there is time remaining on the registration plate, a free reissuance of a registration plate, card and sticker is determined by the daily tag report that is reviewed in the Financial Responsibility Section.

I received a notice with a determination date of January 1st . I picked up insurance on January 1st with a new company and then switched again on March 1st . Do I need to send proof of insurance that covers the determination date to the present?

TopReturn to Top

You only need to send us proof that the vehicle was insured within 30 days of the January 1st determination date. If you receive another letter from the Bureau due to another cancellation, you would be required to submit proof from the determination date listed on that notice.

I own a motorcycle and cancel the insurance each year because I only use it during the summer. Isn't there anything I can do to prevent my registration from getting suspended?

TopReturn to Top

You must surrender the plate upon cancellation of insurance or register the vehicle as a Seasonal Registration. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

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

What if my registration plate was taken by law enforcement, what should I send to PennDOT?

TopReturn to Top

You can submit a copy of the acknowledgment of seizure letter issued by the police officer.

Do I need to send the plate, sticker and registration card or just the plate to serve the suspension?

TopReturn to Top

The suspension letter requests that the plate, sticker and card should be returned; however, PennDOT will begin credit for the suspension if the plate is the only item returned. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

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

I just found out about the suspension and I am past my suspension effective date. I can prove I had no lapse of insurance. Am I required to pay the $50 restoration fee?

TopReturn to Top

No. The restoration fee would not be required.

I am in the military overseas and was not aware of my insurance policy canceling. What do I need to do to have the suspension removed?

TopReturn to Top

Military hardship cases are the only situations the Bureau will give additional review. NOTE: This requires the review of a supervisor in the Financial Responsibility Unit.

What should I do when I receive a letter from the Department stating that my insurance was cancelled; however, I do have insurance with that company?

TopReturn to Top

If your insurance coverage has an effective date that is the same or earlier than the cancellation date, and was issued by your insurance company, you need to obtain a letter from your insurance company's headquarters. The letter must be on official company letterhead signed by an authorized representative of the insurance company's headquarters. The letter must contain the date the policy resumed active coverage, policy number, policy effective and expiration dates, NAIC number, VIN and any information regarding a lapse, if applicable.

If the effective date of coverage indicates within 30 days or less from the cancellation date, we would need an acceptable form for proof of insurance and a notarized affidavit stating the vehicle was not driven during the lapse of coverage. An MV-221 "Statement of Non-Operation of Vehicles" can be submitted in place of the affidavit. This form does not have to be notarized.

What if I sold, transferred or traded my vehicle? What do I need to do ?

TopReturn to Top

You would send a copy of the front and back of the Certificate of Title or a bill of sale indicating the new owner and PennDOT will update your record.

What if I salvaged my vehicle? What do I need to do?

TopReturn to Top

You would send a copy of your salvage certificate or a letter of salvage from the insurance company indicating the new owner and PennDOT will update your record.

What if I had my vehicle repossessed and I am not going to recover that vehicle? What do I need to do?

TopReturn to Top

You can either transfer that registration plate to another vehicle or send PennDOT the registration plate, card and sticker.

State of PA Website Home Forms and Publications Shopping Cart PA State Agencies Online Services Shopping Cart