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