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Am I insured under a hardship driver's license?


Question: If you have a temporary permit that has hardship license rules, are you allowed to stop at the convenience store to fuel up or go to a grocery store?  If you go to these places and your hardship licenses doesn’t allow it and have an accident will your insurance cover it? 

Answer:  Yes, normally your car insurance policy would be intact and cover you even if you drive somewhere that is not allowed by your hardship license, restricted license or temporary permit.

In general, hardship licenses are issued because a person had his license suspended but showed the state that they have too much of an economic or medical hardship to be unable to drive during the suspension period. In many states an SR-22 is required to receive a hardship license.

Hardship licenses are usually very specific about the places and hours in which you can drive.

When you received your hardship license, you should have been informed of where you are allowed to drive to, such as to work or school and back home, medical appointments or to drop your child off for childcare.

Beyond these places, most hardship licenses also will take into account that you may need to drive for what they term “necessity of life,” so check your paperwork.  Under this heading, you may be able to make essential trips to the closest grocery market or gas station.

For example, the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles says you can go out for necessity-of-life items, but if you are stopped with your hardship license while driving somewhere not specifically listed, then the law enforcement officer will determine if the reason you are at that location constitutes a necessity or not. 

It’s best to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for confirmation of where you can go before driving off of your approved route.

If you do drive somewhere that is not permitted, under the terms of your hardship license, and get in an accident, your car insurance policy should still cover you. 

Your car insurance company isn’t there to enforce your hardship license; they just want you to have a valid license and abide by the terms of your policy.  So, if by disobeying the rules of the hardship provision you get your driver's license taken away, then you’ll have issues with your insurer if you continue to drive.

If your hardship license is revoked, and you are then not legally allowed to drive due to being listed as having a suspended or revoked license with the state, then your car insurance company should be notified and they will normally either cancel your policy (if state laws allow) or non-renew at the end of your policy term.


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