Help! I lost my drivers license! What do you next? For starters, stop freaking out. It’s not the end of the world and it’s not as bad as you think it. Thousands of people lose their licenses each day…either along with their entire wallet or it just slips out on its own. It can be an accident or perhaps it got stolen.
Regardless of how you lost it, there is a specific course of action to follow to avoid any problems.
If you lost your license, the best course of action is to look for it before you resort to anything else. If your entire wallet is missing, check all of your clothes and jacket pockets, look around the house, check outside to see if you dropped it. If you were out recently, retrace your steps. Call up any stores or restaurants you may have visited since you last had your wallet.
You don’t want to wait to long in case the license falls into the wrong hands, so after you’ve checked all possible places, it’s time to resort to the next step.
If your entire wallet is gone, try your best to remember what was in there besides your drivers license…credit cards, other ID, social security card, bank cards, health insurance cards, etc. One by one, call up those companies and tell them you lost your card so they can put a stop on them and issue you need cards right away.
Lost Drivers License – Who Do You Notify?
Assuming you’ve taken care of your credit, bank and other personal cards, you’ll want to notify the police that you’ve lost your drivers license. You can file a police report over the phone or in person, and even online in some cases. It might be easier to call and if need be you can go down to the station to report a lost driver’s license.
Filing a report is helpful to you as if anything happens with your license or your cards, there is a record that those items were not in your possession at the time. Take a copy of your report for your records, and make sure it has the detailed information that you provided.
The police will likely go over your next steps with you, but in case they don’t, you should contact your state DMV and say I lost my drivers license. They will then walk your through the steps to get a replacement.
You may be able to do it all online without a visit to the DMV depending on what state you are in. And you may be better off renewing rather than replacing if you are close to your expiration date.
Keep in mind that certain states, like New York, now offer two advanced drivers license options: Enhanced (EDL) and Federal Real ID, in addition to the standard driving licenses that you’ve had since you started driving. Starting on October 1st, 2020 you will no longer be able to board a domestic flight with a standard license, so it might make sense to replace a lost drivers license with one of the new ones if they are in fact available in your state. Note that it will require a visit to the DMV to prove your identity.
I Applied to Replace My Lost Drivers License…Now What?
You’ll typically get a temporary drivers license whether you are replacing a lost or stolen license online, by mail or in person at the DMV. You can use that until your replacement arrives, which is typically within 10-14 days. Just make sure you have the temporary license with you when you drive, as driving without a license is not a smart idea.
It might be a good idea to look into an identity theft protection company such as LifeLock, IdentityForce or ID Shield, if you’re not already utilizing those services. They can help protect you in case someone tries to use your license to steal your identity.
Chances are if you just lost your driver’s license it won’t end up in the wrong hands. If it was stolen, however, the chances of someone using it in nefarious ways increases significantly.
Regardless of how you lost it, once you have notified the police and filed a report, contacted the DMV and requested to replace a lost driving licence, and perhaps investigated an identity theft company, there’s really nothing more for you to do.
You can keep in contact with the police department to see if there are any updates, but unless you simply lost it and a good samaritan turns it in, chances are it will not show up. But you’ll already have a replacement on the way so it doesn’t really matter. You’ve notified everyone you have to and you can move on with your life.
So now you know what to do if you lose your driver’s license and how to replace it if it does happen. Remember, don’t panic. Just follow the steps above and you’ll be just fine.