Question: If I had car insurance on three cars, but canceled insurance on one car (keeping insurance on the other two cars), will I have to turn in my tag for that one car?

Answer: Yes. You must turn in your tags and registration for that car if you no longer carry at least the state’s minimum liability insurance on it.

State laws vary, but most require that car insurance coverage be maintained throughout the vehicle registration period, whether the vehicle is used or not. If you cancel your coverage on any of your vehicles, then you will need to turn in your registration and license plates to your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for that vehicle.

If you fail to turn in these items to the DMV, you could face penalty fees for a lapse in insurance. In some states, you may receive a suspension of your vehicle registration privileges as well. If you were caught driving without insurance in this car, the state could suspend your driver’s license.

There are a few states where you do not have to turn in the plates if you take insurance off a vehicle you are not using. But in these states, you need to complete paperwork with the DMV regarding the planned non-operation of your vehicle, which says that you will not operate the vehicle again until its insured.

The car insurance you kept on your other two vehicles does not extend to the vehicle that’s not insured.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

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Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

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Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

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Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.