How to reinstate canceled auto insurance

If you are eligible for an auto policy reinstatement then the process is relatively simple. That said, if your policy was canceled due to nonpayment and you lapsed in coverage, reinstatement can be a little more complicated.

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Published April 22, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • If your policy is canceled due to nonpayment, most insurance companies will offer you a grace period to get back on track with your payments

  • If you pay the premiums you owe within your insurer’s grace period, they will reinstate your policy and you will not have a lapse of coverage on your record

  • If you do not pay your premiums within the cancellation grace period, your policy will be canceled and you will no longer be protected. Your insurance company might decide not to reinstate your policy, and if they do they may raise your rates

  • You can reinstate your auto policy by calling your insurance company or contacting them through their website or mobile app

In order to keep your auto insurance policy in-force, you need to pay your car insurance premium monthly, bi-annually or annually. If you miss payments, your auto insurance company will send you a cancelation notice by mail, over the phone, or by e-mail and offer you a grace period to make your payments. If you do not make the payments in time, your auto insurance policy will be canceled and you won’t be protected. All but two states require you to have auto insurance coverage, so if you’re driving without an active policy it could end up costing you thousands of dollars of fines, or even more if you get into an accident without car insurance.

When you purchase an auto insurance policy, you are paying for financial protection when you cause an accident and damage someone else’s vehicle or injure someone else. Auto policies can also protect your own vehicle from damage from an accident or other perils, like falling objects or fire. If your policy is canceled you should get it reinstated as soon as possible so you are protected from damage and perils, and so your liability is covered.

In this article:

What is an auto policy reinstatement?

When you reinstate your auto insurance policy you are restoring your canceled policy. If your auto insurance policy is canceled due to nonpayment, you will need to talk to your insurance company to learn if you are eligible for reinstatement. You have to reinstate your auto insurance policy with the same insurance company that you bought it with — you cannot transfer the same auto insurance policy between companies. Reinstatement policies vary from insurance company to insurance company, and sometimes state by state.

Reinstatement is usually easier than buying a whole new policy because you won’t have to go through the purchasing process again, meaning you won’t have to get a new quote and your coverage limits will stay the same, unless you choose to make changes to your policy. That said, there are factors that can make it more complicated to get a policy reinstated. There are two different scenarios when it comes to car insurance reinstatements: you either need a reinstatement but have not lapsed in coverage or you need a reinstatement but you have lapsed in coverage, the latter being the more complicated of the two.

How to reinstate an auto policy if your coverage hasn’t lapsed

Insurance companies will not cancel your policy immediately after a missed payment. Insurers are required by state law (which varies state by state) to notify you before a policy cancellation. Most insurance companies will offer a 30-day grace period for you to get back on track with your payments. That said, you might have to pay the owed premiums plus interest, depending on your insurance company.

Usually, if you pay within the grace period, your policy will be reinstated and you will not have a lapse in coverage. The reinstatement will not show on your insurance record, nor will a lapse in coverage. Your policy will not change, you will have the same coverage limits and the same policy period. In order to get your policy reinstated you need to contact your insurance company over the phone or online through their website.

You might need to fill out a form or sign a statement of no loss. This is a form that states you did not have a loss during the grace period and will not file a claim. You may also have to pay a reinstatement fee to restore your auto policy.

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How to reinstate an auto policy if your coverage has lapsed

Your insurance company may not reinstate your policy if you’ve let the policy lapse. Many insurance companies will not reinstate a policy if you’ve passed the 30-day mark, in which case you will have to apply for a whole new policy. This means your insurance history will show a lapse in coverage, which can mean higher insurance rates in the future.

That said, your insurance company can reinstate your policy past the grace period — it all really comes down to company policy. If your insurer agrees to reinstate your policy, you will likely first have to pay the premiums you owe upfront and pay a fine before they reactivate your policy. You will still have a lapse in coverage, so make sure you do not drive until your policy is fully reinstated. Your insurance company might raise your rates, too. Your policy period will also change to the new reinstatement start date. All of this will show on your insurance record.

Like we mentioned, in order to get your policy reinstated you will have to sign a no loss statement to certify that you did not experience any losses during this lapse in coverage and that you will not file a claim for any losses during this time. You can get your policy reinstated over the phone or online through your insurers website.

Since reinstatement isn’t guaranteed, it’s risky to try and reinstate your policy more than once. Your insurance company will likely deem you too much of a risk to insure. You’re better off switching insurance companies than trying to get a second policy reinstatement.

How to contact your insurance company

You can contact your insurance company over the phone, through their website, or a mobile app. When reinstating your policy, you should make sure you are calling the correct phone number, many insurance companies have different telephone lines for different purposes.

You should have a few key pieces of information handy.

  • Your policy number
  • Your policy duration period
  • Your notice of policy cancellation
  • The missed payment bills
  • Name of drivers in your household
  • Vehicle information

About the author

Insurance Editor

Kara McGinley

Insurance Editor

Kara McGinley is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius. She previously worked as a freelance writer and a copywriter for various startups. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, Mask Magazine, and more.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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