Official SafeAuto Blog

My License Has Expired – Now What?

How can I get my license renewed during the pandemic?
April 28, 2020

Regardless if your state calls it the Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, or something else, most people would agree that having to wait in line to get your license renewed at one of these places is no fun.

So, what do you do if your license expires now? Many office locations are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and you’re not able to renew your license. Maybe you’re a healthcare worker, grocery store employee, or other essential employee and you have an expired license.

You may be afraid to get a ticket, but you have no choice other than to drive to work although your license has expired. The question is, what are states doing to help drivers? Continue reading to find out more about how states are helping drivers in this unusual and difficult time.

How can I get my license renewed during the pandemic?

First, let’s look at whether or not you are able to renew your license with a stay at home order in place. Licensing and vehicle registrations are handled by state governments, so unfortunately, there is not one set of rules across the United States. Many physical licensing locations are completely closed and you are not able to visit them to renew your license in person.

However, many states have the capability to renew licenses online and are encouraging drivers to do just that. With that being said, below are a few examples of what states are doing to allow drivers to stay on the road if the need is essential and the driver’s license has recently expired or is about to expire.

In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill which says that if a driver’s license expires during the declared State of Emergency, the license will remain valid for 90 days after the emergency ends, or December 1, 2020 – whichever comes first. While the wait at physical licensing locations may belong when the shelter-in-place order is lifted, this extended timeframe means that drivers should have the opportunity to renew their licenses without consequences. Illinois has a similar rule in place, with a 90-day extension for licenses after the disaster ends.

California is taking a slightly different approach and has automatically extended the expiration dates for all licenses that expired in March through May. If you’re a California driver under the age of 70, your license will remain valid through May 31st; California drivers over 70 years of age will have their license validity extended to August 13th.

To find out what your state’s policy is on license renewals and extensions, you can visit the U.S. Government’s official web portal.

What Happens If I’m Pulled Over With an Expired License?

While some states may not have extended deadlines on expired licenses, many law enforcement officers have been advised of extensions in their state and are being asked to use discretion when enforcing expiration dates.

This means if your license has expired or will expire during the declared State of Emergency, you may get lucky and you may not get a ticket for an expired license. However, if your license expired months before the State of Emergency was declared and you had ample time to get it renewed before the latest pandemic, you might not be so lucky.

The bottom line.

We all want to stay safe during this time and we understand there are some situations where you need to be on the road, whether it’s your job, you need food, or something else. If your state offers online services, try renewing your license online.

Renewing online will prevent you from having to wait in long lines when licensing locations open again. If this option is not available in your state, check out your state’s rules on extensions and know that you are not alone when it comes to an expiring license.

If you are still hitting the roads, we want you to have the appropriate auto insurance coverage too. Curious about what SafeAuto can offer? Give us a call at 1-800-SAFEAUTO or visit our website.

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