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After a car crash, some drivers experience a moment of panic, questioning whether their license has somehow expired, their insurance is lapsed or their car registration was ever renewed.  

In Georgia, you renew your car’s registration every year. Before your birthday month, you receive a notice in the mail. After passing emissions inspection and pending proof of insurance on file, you can pay your fee and register your vehicle. While you’re still responsible for fees and fines if you never receive the notification, the state fortunately gives you a grace period of 30 days after your registration is due to handle the paperwork with minimal fines. Same for if you’ve just moved to Georgia from out of state.   

But mistakes happen, life presents challenges and sometimes folks miss that window, leading to an expired registration. What happens if you’re then involved in a crash?

Can I still file a claim if my registration has expired?  

Typically, if you’re involved in a crash and are found to have expired tags, the police will cite you and you’ll pay a fine. (If your registration has been suspended and is not just late, you’ll face harsher penalties.) 

But your expired registration is a separate issue from the crash itself. If you were not at fault in the accident, your registration status shouldn’t affect your ability to receive compensation for your injuries. While insurance companies may hint otherwise, an expired registration should never stop you from filing a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance company. 

However, drivers face serious challenges if they’ve not only let their registration expire but also no longer carry insurance. Georgia requires all drivers to carry a minimum bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident, as well as a minimum property damage liability of $25,000 per incident. 

When your insurance term is up, your insurer is not required to continue coverage. But your insurer also can’t cancel your coverage in the middle of your term just because your registration expires. If you’ve kept up with your monthly premiums and you have a valid license, your insurance should cover you during your term.  

It’s also worth noting that your insurance won’t simply lapse without a lot of notifications and warnings from your insurer. Your insurer will also have to notify the DMV that your coverage has lapsed. Any lapse, however, is serious. The DMV can suspend your registration 30 days out from your insurance coverage lapse.   

If you’re in an accident that’s not your fault and you don’t have valid insurance, you can still be charged with a misdemeanor and face license suspension. If you are at fault, you can be held personally responsible for injuries and property damage.  

So while it’s always smart to keep up with all of your auto paperwork, bills and renewals, a registration lapse shouldn’t cause major problems in your personal injury case. An insurance lapse, however, can lead to serious consequences, even when you’re not at fault.  

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney at The King Firm  

If you’ve been hurt in a crash, we can help. At The King Firm, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results for your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.  


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