Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2019

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Car insurance can lapse for a number of reasons but the last thing you want to do is let an auto insurance policy lapse.

Depending on the reason for lapse your car insurance rates can become extremely expensive and you could even be faced with a limited number of car insurance companies willing to insure you.

If your current auto insurance policy lapses there are ways to still obtain insurance but you better do it quick. Most states require car insurance companies to report any lapse to the department of motor vehicles.

The key thing to remember is if your auto insurance coverage lapses then you are driving with NO Insurance!

Driving with no car insurance can have severe consequences.

Not just the penalties, fines and exposure to personal liability but if convicted of driving with no car insurance you will immediately be classified as a high risk driver and your auto insurance rates will be up to 200% higher more when you try to obtain coverage.

Use our FREE quote tool to compare auto insurance rates today!

Can I just re-instate my car insurance policy?

The most common reason for an auto insurance policy to lapse is simply non-payment of premiums. When this happens its important to recognize that auto insurance companies have no obligation to reinstate your policy.

If they do consider it as a gift from the insurance Gods since non-payment of premiums is something all auto insurance companies frown upon.

The first thing you should do is always call your car insurance company. Depending on your risk profile, claims history and a few other factors the company may offer to reinstate your coverage.

However, there are many stories around of auto insurance companies not re-instating coverage so don’t be surprised if they say no.

How much will a policy lapse increase my auto insurance rates?

This really depends on how much time has passed and whether or not they ask the question “have you ever had a policy lapse for non-payment”. Many car insurance companies ask this question and if you answer yes (which you have to) then they may deny you coverage or simply charge higher premiums.

The exact cost of car insurance due to non-payment on your record will vary between auto insurance companies.

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What if you let a car insurance policy lapse because you didn’t own a car and now need insurance again?

This is a very strange component of auto insurance as generally if you go without car insurance for more than 6 months all your good driving record will automatically disappear and insurance companies will classify you the same as a young driver.

Whether or not you own a car its always a good idea to keep some kind of auto insurance in-force and this can also prove to have many benefits if you get in an accident driving someone else’s car (see non-owner car insurance coverage)

How do I Compare Auto Insurance Companies

When a lapse in car insurance occurs its normal to start shopping around for auto insurance and there is no better time to start learning about car insurance then now.

Odds are you probably had the same insurance company for a long time and need to refresh your knowledge of how auto insurance works.

From the many ways to save money with car insurance discounts to the long list of providers its important to learn as much as you can about auto insurance. This can save time and money when searching for new coverage and may just advise you of a few things that you never knew before.

Car insurance comparison can quickly be done online but remember that most auto insurance comparison sites simply connect you with providers or offers quotes which may or may not offer equal coverage.

The policy details are just as important as the company you choose so always make sure any quotes are based on the same coverage.

While its easy to save money on car insurance don’t be surprised if you have a difficult time obtaining insurance or receive higher quotes with a policy lapse on record. At the end of the day you should have paid your bill and you can’t fault insurance companies for your mistake.

Simply focus on finding the most affordable rates given your current profile as the cost of having no insurance is much higher than the penalty for letting a policy lapse.

Use our FREE quote tool to compare auto insurance rates today!