Auto Insurance Obstacles: How to Get Coverage If Yours Has Lapsed

Do you have a nagging feeling that you’re forgetting something? It might be your auto insurance policy. Auto insurance is required under state laws. It’s also an important protection in case you get into an accident. Despite this, many people let their car insurance lapse for various reasons. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to take steps to correct the problem immediately – before things go from bad to worse.

State Insurance Requirements

Each state establishes its own laws for auto insurance. Drivers are typically required to carry liability insurance that covers both bodily injury and property damage, although the minimum coverage amounts vary from state to state. In some states, drivers are also required to carry person injury protection (PIP). Other coverage types, including comprehensive and collision insurance, may be required by auto lenders.

Many states also recommend uninsured motorist coverage. Even though auto insurance is required, a significant number of drivers break the law and risk going without insurance. In 2015, 13 percent of drivers were uninsured. In Florida, 26.7 percent of drivers were uninsured. Uninsured drivers are a serious problem – which is why it’s important to maintain coverage.

Consequences for Letting Insurance Lapse

Many drivers go without insurance, but that doesn’t make it OK. Even if you’re a very safe driver who doesn’t get into accidents or get pulled over, you could still get in trouble for driving without insurance. This is because your insurance company will notify the DMV of a lapse in coverage. 

If you get caught driving without insurance, you could face severe consequences, including penalties and even license suspension.

For example, in New York, if you drive a vehicle with lapsed insurance, you could be ticketed, your registration and driver’s license could be revoked, and your vehicle could be impounded. It is even possible that you could be arrested.

You may face other problems, as well. For example, when you finally do get insurance again, you may be charged higher rates.

And that’s assuming you don’t get into a car crash. If you do, you may face additional penalties under the law. You could also be sued for any injuries and property damage that occurs. Since you won’t have insurance coverage, any personal assets you have could be at risk.

Fixing a Lapsed Insurance Policy

If you’ve let your insurance policy lapse, you should address the problem immediately.

Talk to your insurance agent. You may be able to have your insurance reinstated, especially if it hasn’t been lapsed for long and you haven’t had any incidents in the meantime. For example, maybe your credit card expired, and you forget to update the information for your automated payments. Talk to your insurer about what happened and see what they can do to help you. The sooner you take action, the better.

However, you will not be able to retroactively buy insurance to cover an accident you’ve already been in. Get insurance BEFORE you get into a crash. Once you’ve been in a crash, it’s too late to get coverage for it.

If you need auto insurance, contact an agent at Insurance Line One. Request a quote here.

Sources
  • https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists

  • https://dmv.ny.gov/insurance/insurance-lapses

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