UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Sometimes, you need car insurance right up to the minute it expires. Maybe it’s the end of the month. Maybe you’re shopping for new insurance. Or maybe you’ve missed a payment.
Whatever the reason may be, you need to know what time your car insurance expires. Keep reading to find out.
Most Insurance Policies End at 12:01am on your Expiration Date
The vast majority of car insurance policies will be terminated at 12:01am.
That means at one minute past midnight on your expiration date, your car insurance will expire.
Yes, that means your car insurance provides just one minute of coverage on its expiration date. If you get into an accident at 12:02am on your expiration date, then you may not be covered.
Make Sure You Avoid a Gap in Coverage
Insurance policy termination times can be confusing. Many people make mistakes.
Unfortunately, these mistakes can lead to serious consequences. Some drivers spend a full day driving without insurance unaware, for example. If you get into a serious accident or injure another person, then you could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars.
It’s crucial that you avoid a gap between insurance policies.
If you purchased new insurance, then you need that insurance to overlap with your current insurance plan. You need your new insurance to start on the same day your old insurance expires.
If your old insurance is set to expire on June 15, for example, then your new insurance needs to start on June 15. That’s because at 12:01am on June 15, your old insurance will expire. If your new insurance kicks into effect on June 16, then you’re spending 23 hours and 59 minutes of June 15 with a gap in insurance.
When in doubt, buy instant auto insurance online to ensure you stay covered. Or, better yet, avoid driving for that day.
Most States Don’t have a Grace Period
There have been plenty of unlucky drivers that have been involved in accidents while driving home just minutes after their insurance expires.
If your insurance expired at 12:01am, and you get into a collision at 12:02am, then you will not be covered. There is no grace period for insurance coverage.
Insurance Companies Are Required to Send Cancellation Notices
Most states require car insurance companies to send out a cancellation notice before canceling your policy.
If you miss a payment, for example, then your car insurance company might send you a letter warning you that your car insurance will expire if they don’t receive payment before a certain date. That date might just be 10 or 15 days after the letter is initially sent.
In any case, that cancellation notice should clearly state the expiration time of your insurance policy.
Talk to Your Insurance Company If You’re Unsure
Ultimately, most insurance policies have a 6 month or 12 month term. Most insurance policies also end at 12:01am on the expiration date.
However, this isn’t the case for all car insurance plans. Some insurance companies work differently. Some companies use a more straightforward time system. They might provide coverage up to 11:59pm on your expiration date, for example.
That’s why it’s important to talk to your insurance company or check your policy to make sure you’re covered. Check the declarations page of your policy. The declarations page needs to list the duration of your policy, the date at which your policy is effective, and the date at which it expires.
If your policy just lists an expiration date – but not a time (most don’t list a time) – then you can assume that your insurance policy ends at 12:01am on the expiration date.
Most auto insurance policies will automatically renew at the end of your term, which means you don’t need to worry about the time your car insurance expires.
However, if you missed a payment, or if you’re switching to a new policy, then the time of expiration is extremely important. Typically, your insurance expires at 12:01am on the expiration date – but talk to your insurance agent to make sure you understand the terms of your policy and the time at which it expires. You don’t want to leave a gap in coverage.