Car Insurance with an Expired Policy

Has your car insurance policy expired recently? Here's how to get road-ready quickly and easily.

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How to find car insurance after your policy expires

The logical next step after your car insurance policy expires depends on your insurance company's policies. Typically, it's easiest to simply reinstate your policy at the same coverage levels. But if you’ve waited too long — or if the reinstatement fee is too high — you might face a more complicated set of circumstances. Let’s explore options for car insurance after an expired policy.

  1. How does car insurance reinstatement work?
  2. Uninsured vs. expired car insurance: what's the difference?
  3. How to prevent your car insurance from expiring
  4. More information


How does car insurance reinstatement work?

You’ll need to reinstate your policy if it lapses due to failure to pay your premium. But as we’ve stated, your reinstatement process will depend on which car insurance company you have. Two types of reinstatement exist — reinstatement with a lapse in coverage, and reinstatement without a lapse.

If you reinstate your policy after a lapse, it will be like you never missed a payment. Your renewal date will be the same, as will your coverage options. You might be required to pay a reinstatement fee, and you'll most likely need to pay a prorated premium for the days of coverage missed prior to reinstatement.

For example, say your billing due date was the 1st and you had a grace period to make your payment until the 5th. If you did not make the payment by the 6th, your policy could be cancelled. In order to reinstate your policy without a lapse, you would need to back pay your dues from the 1st until you restarted coverage. You might also be charged a reinstatement fee as a penalty for letting your policy lapse. This depends on your insurer's policies.

A reinstatement after a lapse in coverage is a little different. This can happen if you’ve waited too long to reinstate your policy. As a result you'll basically need to get a new one. In this case, your renewal date will probably change, as you’re creating a brand new auto insurance policy. Moreover, your car insurance rate might change, or you could be placed on a different payment plan. If you need a new policy, enter your zip code below to see comparison quotes on auto insurance.


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Getting a policy when uninsured vs. with expired car insurance

The only difference between having an expired car insurance policy and being uninsured is the ease with which you can reinstate your policy. In both cases, you're vulnerable for the duration of time in which you're uninsured. Even if you get into an accident the day after your policy lapses, you're in the same boat as someone who hasn’t had car insurance coverage in years. If your policy expires before an accident, you'll have a tough time getting a claim paid out for any of the resulting damage. Bottom line: if your policy has expired, get it reinstated as soon as possible.

Another big reason to get your vehicle reinsured is car insurance companies view uninsured drivers as major risk indicators. As you can see with the data below, there is a $100 difference between drivers without an insurance history and drivers with in insurance history — all other metrics constant. 

Insurance History6-Month Premium
6 Months$778
1 Year$760
3 Years$742
5 Years$726

Preventing lapsed car insurance coverage

There isn’t a magic way to prevent car insurance from lapsing, aside from paying your bill. If you’re short on cash and you know you won’t be able to make a payment toward your insurance coverage, call your car insurance company ahead of time. Although they are under no obligation to waive fees, you might be able to get an extension on your policy or have a late fee waived. Some companies are willing to work with you, so be proactive about any upcoming payments you might miss.

Additional resources

If your car insurance coverage has lapsed and you’re looking for a new quote, enter your zip code below to get a new policy. Still have questions? Check out some of our related content below. If you have a policy with any of the insurance companies we work with and you need to reinstate your policy, call us at 888-444-2833 or click below. One of our agents can assist you.

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