The Insurance Lapsed–Now What?
By JD Glass
The insurance lapsed--now what? Well, if you drive, you need car insurance, it’s that plain and simple. Illinois, like most states, requires drivers to be covered, and it’s up to you to keep your enrolled status. So what happens if your coverage is cancelled? How does that happen? And are there penalties?
Drivers without active insurance coverage can be penalized. So why would coverage lapse?
1: Non Payment.
Insurance isn’t free. When you get your policy, you get a bill that is your monthly premium--an amount that varies from driver to driver. You can choose what time frame to pay in, whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. But no matter what, you DO have to pay on time.
Fact is, if you don’t, the insurer can and most likely will cancel your policy. Generally, they do give you time and notice, but if you don’t follow up and follow through, your coverage will almost definitely terminate. Take a moment to ask your company what are the options available to you that will help make paying your premium easier, whether it be automatic payments from your bank, an email reminder so you can pay online, or even setting a regular date in your calendar app on your phone.
From tying a string around your finger, to training a parrot to repeat “pay your car insurance!” just be certain to get your payment in before the due date.
2: Lapsed Renewal
Your car insurance policy only lasts for certain amount of time; it’s set up that way so that when you periodically renew, you can also review what your coverage is, to be sure that you always have enough coverage.
The majority of folks choose yearly, which means every twelve months, they renew and review. But, others renew every six months, and some even go from month to month.
Work with your company to determine which is the best time frame for you--and if you’re not sure about “when,” then call or email your insurer before the deadline and ask--someone will be happy to help you. It can even be set up automatically, and you won’t have to worry about it.
3: Too High Risk
Every person who gets a policy is evaluated for risk, or how likely you--or someone under the policy--is likely to file a claim on it, and yes, higher risks tend to pay higher prices. All sorts of factors go into determining this, from your driving record to the value of the car.
But sometimes, some drivers are too much of a risk. This can be because there’s been too many claims on your policy, and the company might actually sustain too much of a loss by covering you (and yes, this could mean cancelled coverage).
Still though, if things come to that, your insurance company does have to notify you ahead of time, giving you time to look for and find a new policy, so that you won’t be uninsured. But...be a safe driver, and avoid this scenario.
What Happens If I Drive Without Insurance?
Since every state (with the exception of Vermont, who does require you prove you can financially cover an accident if it happens), there are definite long-term negatives, from:
The insurance company learns that this happened, and decides you’re too high risk, which means your policy cost may increase.
Law enforcement can ticket, suspend your licence, or levy fees from the state, and these increase in amount as the number of offenses increase. Too much and too far can and will result in jail time.
SR22 Requirement: this is a form that the state requires that lets them know you actually do have live and active coverage--and it’s the insurance agency who provides it and files it with your state. This necessity usually lasts for a few years and you must have active coverage the entire time. Of course, since you have to have an SR22, this signals to the insurance company that you’re a higher risk, so there’s a good chance you’ll pay a higher premium.
As an upstanding member of society who cares not only about themselves, but also others, it is absolutely essential that you have the appropriate auto insurance. At the end, it personally benefits you, because it will protect you when you need it. Contact your insurance company, and make sure you’re covered.
Get your quote here!