Do you need to know what to do if your license plate is revoked in North Carolina? First, you need to obtain liability insurance through a North Carolina auto insurance provider. Proof of that insurance needs to be sent to and received by the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles before you pay the fines and penalties associated with lapsed insurance.

If you pay the fines on time and your insurance company submits proof of insurance, you may be able to avoid the need to turn in your plates. Below is a reader question about keeping your car insurance and tags in North Carolina.

Key Highlights

  • You need to keep continual auto insurance coverage in North Carolina to avoid having your plates revoked.
  • Your auto insurance provider is required to report lapses in insurance to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • If you need to know what to do if your license plate is revoked in North Carolina, here are the quick steps: obtain insurance coverage, make sure proof of insurance is sent to the DMV and pay any associated fees and fines.

What do you do if your license plate is revoked in North Carolina?

Question: I live in North Carolina and my auto insurance lapsed. They are telling me my tags are revoked, but I need my car to get to work. I will pay a fine if I need to. Can I keep my license plate?

Answer: North Carolina, like other states, has specific requirements and coverage minimums that drivers need to have when it comes to auto insurance. Registered vehicle owners are expected to meet these minimums and to have current insurance before driving on the road. A lack of car insurance coverage is one reason that license plates can be revoked.

In fact, when you change insurance carriers or have a lapse in your coverage, your insurance provider is required to notify North Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Once the DMV receives this information, they will send the vehicle owner a liability insurance termination notification, or Form FS-5. The owner has 10 days to respond from the date listed on the notification. That means providing proof of insurance and paying fees online.

Failure to respond within those 10 days will result in the loss of your license plates for 30 days. After those 30 days, to get your plates back you must:

  • Provide proof of insurance coverage using Form FS-1. This form needs to be sent to the DMV by your insurance company. Vehicle owners can contact the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Customer Contact Center (919-715-7000) to make sure the form has been received.
  • Provide the license plate number associated with the insurance lapse and the control number on the insurance termination notice.
  • Pay a $50, $100, or $150 civil penalty fee depending on how many lapses you have received in the past three years.
  • Pay a $50 service fee and the appropriate license plate fee.

What’s important to remember is that you need a North Carolina car insurance policy in place before you can get your license plates returned. Keep continuous coverage on your vehicle so that you won’t end up with these issues again in the future.

— Michelle Megna contributed to this story

Resources & Methodology

Sources

North Carolina Department of Transportation. “Insurance Requirements.” Accessed November 2022.

North Carolina Department of Transportation. “Liability Insurance Help.” Accessed November 2022.

North Carolina Department of Transportation. “Registration Service Stops.” Accessed November 2022.