Can I Get Backdated Auto Insurance?

Backdated auto insurance usually is not permitted by auto insurance companies. The provider won’t offer this liability coverage as they would lose money on drivers with retroactive car insurance. Since backdating insurance after an accident to cover a claim or if you're pulled over by the police isn’t possible, it’s time to learn about your options. In some circumstances, backdating auto insurance may be considered fraud, which can come with criminal penalties. Avoid the hassle by maintaining continuous car insurance coverage so you aren’t one of the 13 percent of drivers without insurance.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

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. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • In 2017, the number of auto accidents was more than 6 million, with two years prior reporting 13 percent of drivers were not insured.
  • The average amount of uninsured/underinsured driver coverage was in the $25,000 to $50,000 range.

Backdated auto insurance is tricky, but understanding auto insurance is made easy with this guide. It’s a legal requirement in most states for all drivers to have auto insurance to cover the costs of any damage they cause in an accident.

This may cause you to wonder, can I get backdated auto insurance? We’re going to go over everything you need to know about backdated auto insurance, so keep reading.

Before learning more about getting backdated car insurance, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool to find affordable auto insurance in your area.

What does it mean to backdate your auto insurance policy?

The concept of backdating insurance is a simple one. Basically, the idea is that you would purchase insurance for a date in the past. For some situations, this is relatively benign, such as backdating coverage to prevent a gap in your insurance.

Other situations aren’t so simple, such as attempting to backdate coverage because you were in an accident with no insurance.

In the vast majority of cases, insurance companies will not allow you to backdate your auto insurance policy.

Insurance policies almost always go into effect on the date of purchase, though it is also possible to buy a policy before you need it and request that it go into effect on a specific date in the future. A backdated auto insurance policy is rare.

Why would I need my auto insurance backdated?

There are a few different scenarios where an individual might find themselves needing backdated auto insurance. For example, if you find that your previous policy expired but you were not aware of it, then you might want to take out insurance to prevent having a gap in coverage.

Or perhaps you purchased a used car directly from another person rather than a dealership and you were in an accident before you added the car to your policy.

So in these circumstances, what can you do? Can auto insurance be backdated?

Can I backdate auto insurance?

Unfortunately, the answer is usually no. While it would be very useful for the driver and the victim of an accident to be able to get backdated insurance, the problem is that this would in no way benefit the auto insurance companies.

Why won’t auto insurance companies agree to backdate policies?

Auto insurance companies need to make money just like any other business, which means they calculate your rates very carefully to make sure they are taking in more than they are paying out so that losses for the insurance company don’t occur.

The fewer accidents insurance companies pay for, the greater their profit margins are likely to be. This is why it’s often easier to get cheaper auto insurance if you have a blemish-free driving record.

Getting insurance right after an accident and backdating it so you were covered during that time means you’re guaranteeing the company will have to pay a claim.

It isn’t just the start date of your insurance policy you need to worry about, either. Most insurance companies also will not allow backdating insurance cancellations because you’re paying for coverage during a specific period of time, regardless of whether or not you file a claim.

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What are the legal issues with backdated auto insurance?

There are also legal issues with backdating insurance. Keep reading for more.

Why do you need continuous auto insurance on your vehicle?

The whole idea of insurance is to make drivers safer on the road by giving them the financial ability to pay for damages in an accident. Because of the importance of being financially responsible for any damage you cause, it is illegal to drive without insurance.

This table shows the penalties for driving without insurance by state.

Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance by State
StatesPrimary Fine for First Driving Uninsured OffenseOther Penalties for First Driving Uninsured Offense
AlabamaUp to $500Registration suspension with $200 reinstatement fee
AlaskaN/ALicense suspension for 90 days
Arizona$500 (or more)License/registration/license plate suspension for three months
Arkansas$50 to $250Suspended registration/no plates until proof of car insurance coverage plus $20 reinstatement fee; court may order impoundment
California$100-$200 plus penalty assessmentsCourt may order impoundment
Colorado$500 minimum fine4 points against your license; license suspension until you can show proof to the DMV that you are insured. Courts may add up to 40 hours community service
Connecticut$100-$1000Suspended registration/license for one month (show proof of insurance) with $175 reinstatement fee
Delaware$1,500 minimum fineLicense/privilege suspension for six months
FloridaN/ASuspension of license and registration until reinstatement fee is paid and non-cancelable coverage is secured; $150 fee for first reinstatement
GeorgiaN/ASuspended registration with $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee. Pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes due
Hawaii$500 fine or community service granted by judgeEither license suspension for three months or a required nonrefundable car insurance policy in force for six months
Idaho$75License suspension until financial proof. No reinstatement fee.
Illinois$500 minimumLicense plate suspension until $100 reinstatement fee and insurance proof
IndianaN/ALicense/registration suspension for 90 days to one year
Iowa$500 if in accident; Otherwise, fine: $250Community service in lieu of fine. Possible citation/warning if pulled over plus removal of plates and registration possible when pulled over without insurance and reissued upon payment of fine or completed community service, proof of insurance, and $15 fee; possible impoundment when pulled over
Kansas$300 to $1,000 Fine and/or confinement in jail up to six months; license/registration suspension; reinstatement fee: $100
Kentucky$500 to $1,000Fine and/or sentenced up to 90 days in jail; license plates and registration revoked for one year or until proof of insurance is shown
Louisiana$500 to $1,000If in car accident, fine plus registration revoked and driving privileges suspended for 180 days
Maine$100 to $500Suspension of license and registration until proof of insurance
MarylandN/ALose license plates and motor vehicle registration privileges; pay uninsured motorist penalty fees for each lapse of insurance — $150 for the first 30 days, $7 for each day thereafter; Pay a restoration fee of up to $25 for a vehicle's registration
Massachusetts$500 to $5,000Fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less
Michigan$200 to $500 Fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less; license suspension for 30 days or until proof of insurance; $25 service fee to Secretary of State
Minnesota$200 to $1,000 Fine (or community service) and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days; License and registration revoked for no more than 12 months
Mississippi$1,000Driving privileges suspended for one year or until proof of insurance
MissouriN/AFour points against driving record; driver may be supervised; suspended until proof of insurance with $20 reinstatement fee
Montana$250 to $500 Fine and/or imprisonment for no more than 10 days
NebraskaN/ALicense and registration suspension; reinstatement fee of $50 for each; proof of insurance to remain on file for three years
Nevada$250 to $1,000Registration suspension — until payment of reinstatement fee and, depending on circumstances, an SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) if lapsed more than 90 days; reinstatement fee: $250
New HampshireN/ANot a mandatory insurance state. Proof of insurance may be required as the result of a conviction, crash involvement, or administrative action. If you are required to file proof of insurance and vehicles are registered in your name, you will be required to file an Owner’s SR-22 Certificate of Insurance.
New Jersey$300 to $1,000License suspension for one year; pay surcharges for three years in the amount of $250 per year
New MexicoUp to $300 Fine and/or imprisoned for 90 days; license suspension
New YorkUp to $1,500 if involved in accident plus $750 civil penaltyLicense and registration suspension – revoked for one year; suspension of license if without
insurance for 90 days; suspension lasts as long as registration suspension; Suspension of registration: equal to time without insurance or pays $8/day up to thirty days for which financial security was not in effect, $10/day from the thirty-first to the sixtieth day $12/day from the sixtieth to the ninetieth day and proof of security is provided. Or for the same time as the motor vehicle was operated without insurance.
North Carolina$50Registration suspension until proof of financial responsibility but 30-day suspension if in car accident or knowingly driving without insurance; $50 restoration fee plus license plate fee
North DakotaUp to $1,500 Fine and/or 30 days in prison; 14 points against license plus suspension; Proof of insurance must be provided for one year; license with a
notation requiring that person keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department. The fee for this license is $50, and the fee to remove
this notation is $50.
OhioN/ALicense/plates/registration suspension until requirements are met and $100 reinstatement fee is paid; maintain special high-risk coverage on file with the BMV for three to five years; If involved in accident without insurance: all above penalties and a security suspension for two plus years and an indefinite judgment suspension (until all damages are satisfied)
Oklahoma$250Jail time up to 30 days; license suspension with $275 reinstatement fee. Police can seize license plates and assign temporary plates and liability insurance — in effect for 10 days and can also impound the vehicle. The cost of the temporary coverage is added to the administrative fee and any fines paid for plates to be returned. If the car isimpounded, the owner must also pay towing and storage fees.
Oregon$130-$1000 ($260 is the presumptive fine)If involved in accident — at least a one year license suspension; proof of financial responsibility required for three years
PennsylvaniaN/ARegistration suspended for three months (unless lapse was for less than 31 days and vehicle not operated during that time); $88 restoration fee plus proof of insurance required to get it back; $500 civil penalty fee is optional in lieu of registration suspension plus $88 restoration fee — can only use this option once within a 12-month period
Rhode Island$100 to $500License and registration suspension up to three months; reinstatement fee: $30 to $50
South Carolina$100-$200 Fine or 30-day imprisonment; failure to surrender registration and plates when insurance lapses; license/registration suspended until proof of insurance plus $200 reinstatement fee
South Dakota$100Fine and/or 30 days imprisonment; license suspension for 30 days to one year; filing proof of insurance (SR-22) with the state for three years from date of conviction. Failure to file proof will result in suspension of vehicle registration, license plates, and driver license.
TennesseeN/APay $25 coverage failure fee within 30 days of notice; if not paid, then an additional $100 coverage failure fee with suspension or revocation of registration plus reinstatement fee of no more than $25
Texas$175 to $350 Pay up to a $250 surcharge every year for three years (may be reduced with certain requirements)
Utah$400License suspension until proof of insurance (maintained for three years) and $100 reinstatement fee
VermontUp to $500License suspended until proof of insurance
VirginiaMay pay $500 Uninsured Motorists Vehicle fee to drive without insurance at your own risk. If this fee is not paid in lieu of insurance, all driving and vehicle registration privileges will be suspended until a $500 statutory fee is paid, proof of insurance is filed for three years, and a reinstatement fee (if applicable) is paid
WashingtonUp to $250 or moreN/A
West Virginia$200 to $5,000License suspended for 30 days with reinstatement fees, unless there's proof of insurance and $200 penalty fee
WisconsinUp to $500N/A
WyomingUp to $750Up to six months in jail
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If you could get backdated insurance it would be hard for authorities to identify those driving without legal insurance coverage. In short, it would make it much easier for drivers to commit fraud and to get away with driving without insurance by quickly taking out backdated policies when they needed it.

What is considered to be auto insurance fraud?

Backdating insurance in most situations is considered auto insurance fraud and you should understand what that means.

According to the FBI, insurance fraud currently costs insurance companies upwards of $40 billion dollars, which adds somewhere between $400 and $700 to the average driver’s annual insurance rates.

What should you do if there’s a gap in your auto insurance?

Some websites will allow you to backdate your auto insurance simply due to the way that they are designed. However, this is not encouraged and if you attempt to do this, you may find yourself in legal trouble.

The best thing to do then is to try and pay for the damages yourself. In order to do that, you’ll need to speak to a financial expert and possibly a lawyer to make sure you’re doing everything correctly.

You should also get an insurance policy put in place immediately, even if the company won’t backdate your coverage. A gap in your coverage will impact your rates, but once you’ve had insurance in place for a given period (typically one year), that increase will go away and you’ll be back to normal rates.

Auto Insurance Rate Increases After a Lapse In Coverage
Insurance Companies Average Rate with No Lapse
in Coverage
(6 Month Rates)
Average Rate After Lapse
in Coverage
(6 Month Rates)
Average Rate Increase
Liberty Mutual$696.00$810.0016.38%
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Keep in mind that your rates are based on a variety of factors, so you can help keep your insurance costs low by keeping your commute short and maintaining a clean driving record, even if you do have a gap in your coverage.

What happens when an auto insurance policy is backdated?

In some rare instances, it’s possible to backdate your insurance coverage. Even these situations are not guaranteed, however, so do your very best to get coverage in place from the moment you purchase a vehicle.

When can you backdate coverage? What happens when an insurance policy is backdated? Let’s look at some examples of backdated auto insurance coverage.

Can you backdate coverage if you already own a policy?

So, what’s the alternative to having a gap in coverage? What are your options?

Backdating an insurance policy occurs when you purchase a new car and you already have an active insurance policy in place.

How far can you backdate auto insurance?

Typically, you have less than seven days, but sometimes as much as a month, during which your insurer will cover your vehicle. even though it hasn’t been added to your policy. Expect to be charged for the backdated time when you do add the vehicle to your policy.

Can you backdate your policy if it was terminated for non-payment?

If your auto insurance policy was canceled due to non-payment and you have had no accidents in the meantime, you might still be able to pay for the time in between and reinstate your policy.

This will prevent there from being any gaps in your coverage, but you’ll need to sign a no-loss form to state that there were no losses or accidents during the time your policy was not in place. This is usually only possible when the lapse in coverage has been less than 30 days.

How long will it take for insurance to be canceled after you stop paying your bill? It can vary, but usually between 10-30 days.

What does backdated liability insurance typically cover?

Realistically, nothing is covered by backdated liability insurance. The purpose of backdating a policy is generally just to prevent a gap in coverage.

In fact, most insurance companies will require you to sign a no-loss form guaranteeing that you had no accidents or other claims during the time in which you want your coverage backdated.

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What is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage often referred to as UM, is a coverage you can buy to protect yourself in the event that you’re hit by a driver who has no insurance or only carries the minimum insurance required by law.

It’s a way to protect yourself financially, but don’t assume that it’s a perfect solution. Insurance companies will fight vigorously to prevent paying out on a UM claim and drivers who cause accidents while uninsured should know that an insurance company can sue you to recoup costs that it paid out on UM coverage.

Backdated Auto Insurance: The Bottom Line

Backdated auto insurance, sometimes referred to as retroactive car insurance, is not impossible, but it’s incredibly unlikely and will never pay for bodily injury or property damage caused while you were uninsured.

Avoid the need to backdate your auto insurance by making sure you have the right insurance plan for you. Get started by entering your ZIP code into our free tool to get car insurance quotes without having to backdate your auto insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions: Can I get backdated auto insurance?

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding backdated insurance.

#1 – Can I backdate auto insurance coverage through GEICO? Through Progressive? Through The General Insurance?

Each company will have its own rules about when they will backdate coverage and for how long. You can contact them directly to find out if your situation is one in which they allow you to backdate your coverage.

#2 – How do I backdate health insurance?

This article is about auto insurance and cannot speak to the specifics of the health insurance industry. That being said, you should expect to see many of the same restrictions in backdating coverage for many of the same reasons.

Reach out to your health insurance provider if you have questions regarding health care insurance backpay.

#3 – What is a No Known Loss Letter for retroactive auto insurance?

It’s the no-loss form we mentioned earlier, which indicates that there were no losses or accidents during the time your policy lapsed. Typically, this form of backdating is only available if your lapse in coverage was less than 30 days.

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