As long as your payment is received on time, insurance companies do allow you to pay your premiums with paper checks, cashier's checks, and electronic checks. While using a check to pay for your car insurance may allow you to keep track of your finances more easily, it could take longer than other options — and may put you in danger of a missed or late payment.
Another downside? You’ll likely miss out on discounts geared toward policyholders who enroll in automatic electronic payments. If you want to pay with a personal or cashier's check and avoid missing out on potential savings, you could pay your annual premiums in full when it's time to enroll or renew your policy.
Paper checks, electronic checks, and cashier’s checks are all acceptable forms of payment at most major car insurance companies.
To avoid delivery delays, mail your check right after you receive your billing statement or as soon as your finances allow.
Most insurance companies also take payments via a credit card, debit card, autopay, or money order.
Can you make a car insurance payment with a check?
Yes, most car insurance companies allow you to make a payment with a check. You can also usually choose between using a personal, cashier's, or electronic check.
To send a paper check, detach the payment stub from your billing statement and mail your check along with the stub using the return envelope provided or one of your own. The mailing address may be printed on the billing statement or available on your insurance company’s website.
Some insurance companies allow policyholders to sign up for paperless billing and receive a discount. When you decide to go paperless, you will get your billing statement via email or through your insurer's app. If you go paperless to lower your insurance rates, you can still make payments with a check. The electronic statement will include a mailing address and directions for sending a check to your insurance provider, just as a physical copy would.
How do you pay for car insurance with a cashier's or electronic check?
If you don’t have paper checks, another option is to use an electronic or cashier's check. While you’ll still need to make sure you get your payment in on time, these types of checks take less time to process than personal checks.
Electronic checks are like paper checks, but are deposited over an automated clearing house (ACH) network. To pay, you provide your insurer with your account number and routing information online. Your funds will then be pulled from your account on or before the due date. You can usually save your banking information to expedite future payments, too.
Cashier's checks are different. Before you can be issued a cashier’s check, your bank needs to confirm you have the requested amount available in your account. A teller from the bank will authorize and print your check, and you'll simply mail it to your auto insurance company the way you would a personal one.
How often do you have to pay for car insurance?
Auto insurance companies generally sell policies that last for six months or one year. Insurers will give you the option of paying monthly or every six months if you have year-long coverage. If you can pay your entire premium at once, you could qualify for a discount.
If you prefer to pay for insurance with a check, paying in full at the start of your billing cycle is a great way to lower your auto insurance premiums. Qualifying for your insurance company's paid-in-full discount allows those who want to pay with a check to make up for missing out on an autopay discount.
Pros and cons of paying car insurance with a check
Just because you can pay for car insurance with a check doesn’t mean you should. While a physical checkbook can make it easier to track your finances, paying for insurance with checks can carry a few downsides.
Easier to balance a checkbook
High risk of missed payments
Multiple ways to pay with a check
Takes more time to process
May get a discount for paying in full
Can't qualify for autopay discount
It can take as much as 10 days for a check to be received and processed. Even electronic checks can take a few business days to finalize. If you prefer to pay your car insurance with a check, make sure to notify your insurance provider if the check will be late. Otherwise, your insurer could treat it as a late payment, charging you a daily fee and eventually canceling your policy.
→ Learn more about what happens if you miss a car insurance payment
You could also miss out on discounts and see higher rates if you decide to pay with a check. You won’t be able to enroll in your insurer's autopay option when you pay with a paper check — though some companies do allow you to store your banking information when using electronic checks.
Paying your car insurance with a check could make it tougher to keep track of upcoming payments, too. Depending on the length of your policy, you'll have to remember to make a payment every month or six months to avoid late fees.
Other insurance payment methods
You can pay for car insurance with a check, but you don't have to. Most insurance providers allow you to choose from a range of payment methods, including using an electronic funds transfer (EFT), a credit or debit card online or over the phone, PayPal, or other mobile payment services.
Comparing multiple car insurance companies is a great way to find one that allows the payment method that's best for you. Just as insurers charge different rates and offer different services, they also may support slightly different forms of payment — and may even give better discounts to policyholders who use a certain method.
Not sure where to start? Our team of licensed insurance agents at Policygenius can help you compare policies based on rates, discounts, and payment options to find the best one for you. They’ll even do all of the paperwork for you if you decide to switch carriers — all for free.
Electronic funds transfer
Electronic funds transfers allow you to transfer money from one account to another. When you sign up to pay for car insurance with an EFT, your insurance provider withdraws money from your bank account at each billing cycle.
Because electronic funds transfers are automatic and prescheduled, you don't have to worry about submitting payment on time like you would with a check. There's also no need to worry about the time it takes for a check to clear, since the transfer is arranged ahead of time.
Credit or debit card payments
Like with an electronic funds transfer, choosing to pay with a credit or debit card instead of a check lets you schedule your payments ahead of time. While paying with a card usually allows you to qualify for your insurance provider's autopay discount, you could also earn money each time you pay if you use a credit card with cashback rewards.
Most insurance companies also allow policyholders to use their credit cards to pay by phone. Instead of inputting your card payment online, you’d call your provider and read your account and card information before each billing cycle’s due date.
→ Read more on whether it's a good idea to pay for insurance with a credit card
Mobile payment services
Some insurance providers let you pay premiums using a mobile payment service, such as PayPal. While it's not an option with every provider, paying for your car insurance with PayPal or another service could allow you to get the same benefits as other forms of electronic payment — including discounts for automatic payments and the convenience of not having to worry about mailing a check each month.
Can you pay for car insurance with cash?
It's not common for companies to allow policyholders to pay for car insurance with cash. If your insurer does allow cash payments, it's best to visit an approved office and pay in person. Sending cash through the mail risks the money getting lost or stolen, potentially resulting in a late or missed payment.
Frequently asked questions
How do you pay your car insurance premium online?
There are multiple ways to pay your car insurance online. Typically, once you sign into your insurer's app or online account, you'll see a statement balance for the upcoming billing cycle. Policyholders can then input their financial information — including banking or credit card information — and schedule a payment date, if they're not already signed up for autopay.
What is the best way to pay for car insurance?
You should pay for car insurance with the method that works best for you. For example, if you have a credit card that offers cash back or miles for money spent, choosing to pay with a card could be a better option than paying with a check. If you like keeping paper copies of your spending habits and are used to mailing in your payments, paying with a check is fine.
Do car insurance companies offer installment plans?
Yes, some insurance companies will allow you to pay for your coverage in installments over the lifetime of your policy. Insurers may have monthly, semi-monthly, or quarterly options, depending on the length of your coverage. However, companies usually charge extra fees for those paying in installments.