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 cancellation 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. You should get your car insurance policy reinstated as soon as it is canceled so you are protected from damage and perils, and so your liability is covered.
What is an auto insurance 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. The rules around reinstatement 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.
How to reinstate an auto insurance policy
Reinstating your policy is much simpler if your coverage hasn’t lapsed yet. But if you’ve gone too long without making your car insurance payments and you’ve let your car insurance policy lapse, the process is more complicated than just catching up on late payments.
1. If your coverage hasn’t lapsed
Insurance companies will not cancel your policy immediately after a missed payment. Insurers are usually required by state law 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 car insurance 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 insurance policy.
2. 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, and 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.
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