If you’ve missed an insurance payment, you might be facing a lapse in coverage or a canceled policy. You want to reinstate your insurance as soon as possible, as it’s illegal to drive without it. In addition, a lapse in coverage can raise your premiums in the future. If your missed payment falls within your insurer’s grace period, you can usually pay the missing amount to continue your coverage. If that’s not an option, explore other ways to reinstate your insurance after a cancellation, below.
What Is a Car Insurance Reinstatement?
Reinstating your car insurance policy means reestablishing your policy with the same carrier after it was canceled due to a missed payment. Many insurers give their customers a grace period of 14 to 30 days after a missed payment, and some insurers have extended their grace periods during the pandemic, so you might be able to make the payment before your insurance lapses. If you miss the grace period, some insurers will charge you a reinstatement fee, raise your rates, or refuse to cover you again.
Lapsed vs. Non-Lapsed Insurance
Your coverage will lapse if you can’t pay your premium within the grace period. If this happens, you’ll receive a notice of cancellation from your insurer and a date when your coverage ends—usually 10 to 20 days after cancellation. It’s illegal to drive at this point, as you are no longer considered insured.
Your insurance is non-lapsed if the missed payment is within your company’s grace period and your coverage is still active.
Reinstating Your Car Insurance After a Lapse
You can usually prevent your policy from officially lapsing by making the payment before your grace period ends. You might get hit with a late payment fee, but you’ll avoid a lapse in coverage on your record and any increased rates. Check with your provider to see if you’re still within your grace period after a missed payment.
If you can’t pay within the grace period and your coverage lapses, your ability to reinstate your policy will depend on a few factors, such as the length of time that’s passed, your history with lapsed insurance, and your insurance provider. It’s usually easier to reinstate your policy than change providers, as you’re already familiar with the specifics of your coverage and your agent at this carrier. If your insurer has competitive rates, good customer service, and you’re happy with your coverage, you might want to stick with them after the lapse.
Check with your insurer to see if you’re allowed to reinstate your policy. If you are, you’ll need to pay the missed premium along with any reinstatement fees. Most insurers will have you sign a no-loss statement to ensure you won’t make a claim from the lapsed period. Since the lapse is on your insurance record, your carrier might reassign you to the high-risk driver category and increase your premium. If your insurer doesn’t cover high-risk drivers, you might need to find another company that does.
What If You Can’t Make a Payment on Time?
If you can’t afford an upcoming payment, some insurers will let you postpone the payment or extend the due date until you’re able to pay. Check to see if you can delay a payment through your carrier’s website, mobile app, or by speaking with a representative. If you’re struggling to pay your premium on time or if you’ve missed a payment, make sure to communicate with your carrier and come to an arrangement that works for both of you.
If you’re looking for insurance, you’ve come to the right place. The General has a proven track record of providing 5‑star coverage to everyday Americans for 60 years. We have a range of different policies for every driver, including drivers with lapses in coverage. If you’ve had insurance in the last five years, you’re eligible for a discount from the General. You can get an insurance quote in under two minutes or visit our blog to learn more about auto insurance.