A lapse in auto insurance coverage is a period of time when you are uninsured. In most states, you are not legally allowed to drive without the state-required minimum auto coverage. After a lapse in auto insurance coverage, there are insurers who will offer you a new insurance policy for your vehicle. The insurance premiums may be slightly higher for individuals who do not currently have insurance. However, some insurance companies will not extend auto insurance to you if you have been uninsured for a while.
Consult with your insurance provider to determine whether you are allowed to reinstate your previous policy. Your ability to reinstate your car insurance policy varies with different insurance companies. If your auto insurance has expired or has been cancelled due to nonpayment, the insurance company may be willing to reinstate the policy rather than require you to apply for a new policy. Reinstatement is usually available to a policy holder, if there is a short time frame between the policy cancellation and reinstatement. You should receive the same policy number and the same coverage, unless you request a different level of coverage.
Pay the delinquent balance and penalty fees. If your policy was cancelled within one or two months, the insurance company may only require you to pay the delinquent balance and additional reinstatement fees. The insurer can also require you to pay a nonpayment premium or risk premium as a penalty fee for allowing your policy to lapse. This penalty fee is typically a higher rate than the amount you paid to activate the original policy. The monthly premiums may also be higher when your policy is reinstated if the insurance company considers insuring you and your vehicle under a higher-risk policy.
Compare insurance quotes with different insurance carriers, if you are searching for a new policy. When you apply for a new auto insurance policy, you will be required to disclose whether you currently have insurance. During a lapse in coverage, you must provide the last date of your last active insurance policy. The insurance quotes with different companies may vary as each company rates applicants differently. Many insurance companies place uninsured applicants in a high-risk category, while other insurers specialize in providing coverage for applicants who fall under a high-risk category.
Search for auto insurance through an independent insurance agent as an option. Various insurance companies sell auto insurance through independent insurance agents. An independent insurance agent can search for the best rate plans with different insurance carriers and help you locate an insurer that offers reasonable insurance rates for uninsured applicants.
Marie Huntington has been a legal and business writer since 2002 with articles appearing on various websites. She also provides travel-related content online and holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School.