Life can get in the way of important deadlines, even your car insurance payments. If you’ve heard the term “car insurance grace period,” it generally refers to one of two things: making premium payments on time or getting car insurance on a new vehicle.
Reading: Grace period for car insurance
In both cases, you’ll never want to drive without a car insurance policy, whether your plan has expired or you haven’t set it up yet. In this guide, we’ll outline the typical length of a car insurance grace period and how many times you can take advantage of the flexibility of your plan.
Understanding a company’s auto insurance grace period can also be a selling point when choosing a new provider. We’ll outline some of today’s best car insurance providers, so you know which circumstance is right for you. Enter your zip code below or call (844) 246-8209 to start collecting quotes.
in this article:
- what is a car insurance grace period?
- how long is a car insurance grace period?
- what is a grace period when buying a new car?
- what are the dangers of letting your car insurance lapse?
- what happens if you have a car accident during a grace period ?
- our recommendations for a car insurance grace period
- frequently asked questions
what is the grace period of car insurance?
An auto insurance grace period is the amount of time your insurer or state law allows you to delay paying your auto insurance premium without a break in coverage, or the time between purchase of a new car and auto insurance for that vehicle.
Let’s say you’re having a rough month or you just forget to pay your premium. Will the company cancel your plan if you don’t pay your car insurance on time?
it depends. Both individual policies and state laws have specific regulations on how long you can delay payment before your auto insurance coverage is cancelled.
In some cases, your auto insurance company may cancel your plan after a day of non-payment, and your plan will lapse due to non-payment, leaving you uninsured. you may be able to pay a fee to reinstate your plan right away.
If you currently have car insurance for one car, you generally have a grace period of seven to thirty days before you have to report your new car to your insurance company with or without penalty.
state auto policy grace period laws
Some states require auto insurance companies to send a written letter of intent to cancel your plan before doing so. In short, it all comes down to your policy and the laws of your state.
When reading state auto insurance policy laws, look for grace period and cancellation regulations.
Some states require companies to give you 10-20 days to make payments again. In other cases, like Wisconsin, auto insurance companies can cancel your plan the moment you miss the expiration date.
Do all companies offer a grace period on car insurance?
In short, no, but many have auto insurance grace periods to remain competitive, so it’s important to talk to an insurance agent about plan details. Some companies may even allow a specific amount of late payments before applying stricter regulations, such as if you’re late on your payments three months in a row.
Other companies may charge a late fee or set a higher premium the next time you renew your auto insurance.
Most companies don’t want to lose you as a customer because of a late payment. however, since auto insurance plans are built on trust, be sure to do your due diligence to alert your company of any complications.
How long is the grace period for auto insurance?
As we mentioned, grace periods range from 24 hours to a month, a fairly wide range. State auto insurance laws also come into play if your plan lapses.
All but two states (new hampshire and virginia) require some form of car insurance at all times, and even those require confirmation to drive without insurance from the dmv. So, simply put, you can’t just jump into a car without insurance paperwork.
The specific length of a grace period and the steps that must be taken before a gap in coverage occurs comes down to your location and your plan. If possible, get this information in writing from your carrier before you face late payments or create a gap in your coverage.
can you use the grace period every month?
Car insurance companies generally place limits on the number of times they will accept late payments. If your company has no limits on how many times you can take advantage of your grace period, it’s not a good idea to rely on this safety net.
Many providers charge late fees or increase premiums when your contract renews, significantly increasing your overall long-term insurance rates.
what is a grace period when buying a new car?
So what happens to car insurance grace periods when you add a new car to your policy or buy a car without an existing plan? There are three things that come into play in this case:
- car dealer rules
- car insurance laws in your state
- your car insurance provider
For example, some companies will let you drive off the lot with your new car if you have insurance on another vehicle. As long as you call the auto insurance company within a specific number of days (usually up to 30) to request new coverage, you may be covered under the existing plan.
However, many car dealers simply require a driver’s license and proof of insurance to purchase a car. in this case, whatever the dealer says goes.
Above all else, you should also check your state laws about car insurance grace periods. some states may allow you to extend your current coverage from another vehicle to the new car for several days.
If you don’t have any insurance in a state that requires coverage, you typically need to purchase a new policy before driving for the first time.
Keep in mind that even if your state, dealer, and auto insurance company allow a grace period, it’s helpful to get the details of the grace period in writing before you walk away from the dealer. if you get pulled over or get into an accident during this time, it will be easier to prove the grace period regulations to the police.
buy a car from a private seller
Even if you buy a used or new car from a private seller, you must follow state laws and policy regulations before driving home.
We also recommend being careful when testing a car from a private dealer. ask the seller to show proof of insurance before you go around the block to avoid breaking the law.
Please take a look at the required insurance minimums in your state when checking for current insurance, as there are still a significant number of drivers passing by without the required amount.
what happens if you have a car accident during a grace period?
If you have collision coverage with a provider that offers an auto insurance grace period, you are covered under your other car plan during this time.
For example, Progressive offers a 30-day grace period on new cars if you have a plan for another vehicle. if you have an accident during these 30 days, your other car plan will cover you up to the maximums purchased from that plan.
Keep in mind that the costs of your new car may be higher than your old car, so it’s important to get your new plan up and running as soon as possible.
what are the dangers of letting your car insurance lapse?
If your coverage lapses due to non-payment or delay after purchasing a new car, how long can you go without auto insurance? it’s important to stay off the roads until you can pay off your balance or set up a plan. The penalties for not having liability coverage increase the longer you’ve driven without it.
Having an accident can cost you and the other person involved tens of thousands of dollars if you don’t have current auto insurance. In addition to these large expenses, there are also legal consequences for driving without insurance under state law.
Depending on where the accident occurred, you could face:
- license points
- license suspension and registration
- vehicle impounding
- jail time
- restrictions on car insurance in the future
Many companies offer same-day or next-day auto insurance, so make sure you have a plan in place and proof of insurance before you get behind the wheel of a car.
what should you do if you miss a car insurance payment?
Let’s say things don’t quite line up this month and you know you’ll be two or three days late on your payment. We recommend starting with these two steps:
- Check your policy for specifics on late payments.
- Check your state auto insurance grace period laws on your local department of motor vehicles website.
While it’s important to pay your premium as quickly as possible, check out how your grace period works to ease your worries about insurance lapse. Call your lender to alert them to the delay and confirm your findings if you are concerned.
If your auto insurance lapses, call your company as soon as possible to find out how to reinstate your plan or purchase a new plan.
You can also reassess your current policy limits. If full coverage is too expensive, you may be able to get by with minimal coverage to save some money for a while.
our recommendations for a car insurance grace period
In our industry review, we highlight auto insurance providers that put customers first, through comprehensive coverage plans, affordable rates, and assistance during the quote and claims processes. High customer service ratings are also usually a sign that a company will be easy to work with in the event of a payment slip.
here are some of the top candidates for auto insurance. Enter your zip code or call (844) 246-8209 to start comparing free auto insurance quotes in your area.
#1 progressive: 4.6 stars
As one of the nation’s largest providers, Progressive addresses its auto insurance grace period online. Although it does not specify the number of days, it does provide detailed instructions on how to handle late payments. It also highlights that military personnel deployed abroad receive a discount even if the insurance expires during their absence.
here are some other important things to know about progressive:
- received an a+ financial strength rating from am best
- offers usage-based insurance through the snapshot® program
- does not offer the lowest rates in the country , but offers many discounts for specific groups such as students and prudent drivers
read more in our full progressive insurance review.
geico #2: 4.6 stars
geico is also very clear about the grace period for your auto insurance. If you miss a payment, you’ll receive a notice explaining how long you can delay your bill without canceling the plan. Overall, Geico is known as one of the most affordable and customer-focused auto insurance companies in the country.
here are some important things to know about geico:
- has nearly 14% of the US auto insurance industry, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
- offered in all 50 states with some local offices
- received a score of 77.59 out of 100 consumer report readers
read more in our full geico insurance review.
state farm #3: 4.6 stars
state farm does not list the length of your auto insurance grace period online. however, the company allows you to combine your monthly payment plans with your other state farm plans and offers automatic billing or debit reminders.
here are some important things to know about state farm:
- offers extensive coverage, including perks like roadside assistance and car rental coverage
- earned an a++ rating from am best, which is the highest possible rating
- Known for great discounts for new drivers, students, and combo plans
read more in our full review of state farm insurance.
We always recommend getting multiple auto insurance quotes before making a decision. In addition to your premium, make sure your company has a track record of customer service. a strong service team can help you through tough payment months or a new car purchase.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team compiles data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Reputation: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-centric business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state, as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on the types of insurance available, the maximum coverage limits and policy add-ons.
- cost and discounts: our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in each state. Companies with the lowest prices and many discount opportunities on auto insurance receive the highest scores.
- Customer Service: We analyzed customer reviews and feedback studies from expert consumers like j.d. power.
- technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services, and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.
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- Car Insurance for 22 year-old male drivers