How to Get Car Insurance Again After You Let Your Policy Lapse

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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So you’ve let your car insurance lapse. Maybe you missed a payment. Maybe you forgot to renew your policy. Or maybe you just deliberately let your car insurance expire – say, while you were out of the country or not driving for an extended period of time.

Whatever the reason may be, your car insurance has lapsed and you need to get it back. How do you get car insurance again after you let your policy lapse? Keep reading to find out.

Call your Insurance Company and Ask to Be Reinstated

get car insurance after policy lapseGetting car insurance after you let your policy lapse is straightforward. Typically, you can just call your car insurance company or agent, then request your policy be reinstated.

If you genuinely forgot to pay your bill and you have an otherwise good reputation with your insurance company, then the entire incident might be ignored.

However, if you have filed multiple claims and missed payments before, then your reinstatement request may be denied. The insurance company might see you as a high-risk driver, and you may be forced to work with a different company – like a high-risk car insurance company.

Some insurance companies will charge a surcharge for lapsing on your policy, while others will not.

Your insurance company isn’t required to reinstate your policy. There’s no law requiring the insurer to renew your coverage. Most insurance companies have a grace period, but after that period is over, the insurance company may refuse to renew your policy.

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Ask to Be Listed on a Friend or Family Member’s Policy

Having a lapse in insurance is a bad idea. Your insurance company calculates rates based on your years of continuous coverage. If you have a lapse of a few months, then you might lose all of the goodwill you’ve built with an insurance company.

If you want to avoid this – even if you don’t have a vehicle – then consider asking to be listed on a friend or family member’s insurance policy. As long as you’re listed as a driver on some insurance policy, you won’t be treated as high-risk when getting insurance in your own name in the future.

Common Reasons for Car Insurance Lapses

People let their car insurance lapse for a number of different reasons. Some of the most common reasons include:

Risks of an Auto Insurance Lapse

You’ve probably heard people tell you to never let your car insurance lapse. It’s true! Letting your car insurance lapse is always a bad idea.

Lapsed car insurance is a particularly bad idea if you’re driving while your policy is lapsed. In this situation, you could be personally held liable in an accident. You might pay out-of-pocket for any damage you cause to people, vehicles, or property.

If you get pulled over while driving with a lapsed policy, then you might be charged an enormous fine. Your car might also be towed immediately.

Another risk of driving with a lapsed insurance policy is that you could be treated as a high-risk driver the next time you purchase insurance. You might pay nearly double your current insurance rate, for example, because the insurance company sees you as a high-risk driver.

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People let their car insurance lapse for a number of different reasons. Some people let their insurance lapse because they forgot to pay their bill – or they don’t have money to pay their bill. Others let their car insurance lapse after their single car was an accident, or their only car broke down.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to avoid a lapse whenever possible. But if you do let your car insurance lapse, it’s not the end of the world. Follow the guide above to reinstate your car insurance after a lapse in policy. In most cases, reinstating your policy is as simple as calling your insurance company or insurance agent and asking to be reinstated. You may pay a small fine, or you may pay nothing.

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