How Do I Renew My Auto Insurance Policy?

Last Updated on April 11, 2022

There are many expenses and responsibilities involved in owning a car in any state but in New York City this is even more of an issue for most people. You check the oil, make sure there is gas in the tank, and ensure all the tires are still on. The maintenance costs can add up and it might be tempting to “save money” by letting your insurance lapse.

Why To Never Let Your Policy Lapse

What’s the harm in letting your insurance lapse if your vehicle is just sitting in your garage and you aren’t even planning on driving it you ask? It seems innocent enough, no worries, right? Well, I am here to advise you strongly to not let this happen.

Here is why: According to the New York vehicle and traffic code, you are obligated to turn in your registration and plates before your insurance policy is canceled. If your policy lapses your insurer will notify the Department of Motor Vehicles electronically and your registration will be immediately suspended. This happens even if you are not parked on a public road or storing your vehicle in a garage. Not turning in your plates within 90 days will cost you for each day you wait with a suspended registration. The fees are currently as follows: $8 per day for the first thirty days, $10 per day for the next 30 days, and $12 per day for the final 30 days. On top of this if your registration still remains suspended after 90 days your driver’s license will also be suspended. The cost to reinstate your driver’s license will run you an additional $50.

The State of New York and the insurance companies work closely together. Do not let your insurance lapse, you can’t just quietly hope no one notices. Furthermore, if you decide to unwisely take your vehicle for a spin with the insurance lapsed the insurance will be the least of your worries. Under section 319 of the New York vehicle and traffic code if you are caught driving without insurance you will be cited with a fine between $150 and $1500 or even 15 days in the slammer! To make matters worse your license is revoked for 1 year costing you $750 civil penalty to the DMV when you reinstate it. Suddenly the cost of keeping your insurance up to date is extremely affordable. I won’t even get into what happens if you have an accident while uninsured. Let’s spare you that grief and outline the basic options to renew.

It is clear from the above statements that your insurance is closely tied to your vehicle registration. Proof of insurance ID and declaration documents are needed before you can even renew or apply for your vehicle registration. You must register your vehicle at the DMV within 180 days from the effective date on your proof of insurance ID.

Auto-Renew or In-Person Renew

Your insurance provider mails or emails you your reminder or declaration pages 30 to 40 days ahead of your renewal date. Most policies renew one year from their effective date. Renewal time is an opportunity to change things like address or personal details, what is covered and whether you are set to auto-renew. Do not lose your declaration documents if you do: contact your provider and get a copy sent to you.


It is a good idea to review your policy every time it renews. If your policy auto-renews it would be tempting to do nothing, however, it’s important to review your policy and even talk to your provider to see if there are ways you can negotiate a better deal. Even if your policy auto-renews you still have to provide a copy of your proof of insurance ID to the DMV or email an electronic copy to the DMV. Your provider will not do this for you. To hammer the point home you need a copy of proof of insurance ID in the vehicle in case you are asked for it by State Police. In addition, the DMV gets a copy.

In-Person Renewal

Things to provide when you go in person to your insurance provider to renew.

  • Current declaration documents
  • Driver’s license (most will make a copy or just enter it to check your record)
  • A void cheque for auto payments
  • Documents to support discounts (home policy or proof of ownership, student report card, etc)
  • Current proof of insurance ID

Vehicle Registration Renewal Options

Vehicle Registration is so closely tied to your insurance coverage I will outline briefly the next steps after you get your insurance documents in order.

  • Online
  • By Mail
  • In-Person

The DMV will email you a notice if you have signed up at their website or more commonly send you the notice in the mail before your registration and policy lapses. Before you renew your vehicle registration you will need to get your vehicle inspected unless it is less than 2 years old or over 25 years old or is electric.

Note: You cannot renew online if the DMV doesn’t have an up-to-date address or your registration has been suspended or revoked for any reason.


To renew online you need your renewal notice. Go to the New York DMV Site and enter the following:

  • Vehicles New York Plate number and Class
  • Last Name
  • Zip Code
  • Email Address
  • Credit Card details

You can print a 10-day temporary registration certificate until you receive your registration sticker in the mail.

By Mail

To renew by mail simply send your renewal notice and payment specified to the address on the notice. You should receive your registration stickers by mail within 10 days.


To renew in person simply visit a local DMV office and provide:

Your renewal notice or a form MV-82

Your New York Drivers Licence

Payment, usually listed on your renewal notice

Note:  This is also how you renew if you lose your renewal notice you apply using the form MV-82.

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