Does Car Insurance Have an Expiration Date?

Car insurance typically comes up for renewal every six to 12 months but your policy will only expire if you fail to make a renewal payment.
Written by Hillary Kobayashi
Edited by Sarah Gray
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Technically,
car insurance
expires every six to 12 months, but most policies are set to auto-renew as long as you make a payment. You can find your policy’s expiration date either in the policy itself or on your policy card in the
Jerry
app.

When does car insurance expire? 

Your insurance coverage will expire at the end of your policy term if you don’t make the payment to renew it. You should receive a renewal notice from your car insurance company roughly 30 days before the renewal date and it will include the expiration date of your existing policy.

What happens if my car insurance policy expires? 

If your car insurance expires and you don’t have another policy in place, you are uninsured. This means you will not be protected if you get into an accident and you’ll have an insurance lapse on your record, which will increase your rates in the future. 
You may be able to speak with an insurance agent at your current provider to see if your policy can be reinstated, but that isn’t a guarantee. If you can’t get  reinstated, you’ll need to purchase a new policy as soon as possible.

Will my car insurance expire if I miss a payment? 

If you miss a payment, your car insurance probably won’t expire right away. Most insurance companies offer a payment grace period of between 10 and 30 days for you to make a payment and maintain your coverage.
State laws require insurance providers to inform policyholders before canceling their coverage. You’ll typically receive a cancellation notice by mail that will advise the last day you can make a payment—if you don’t make a payment before this date, your insurer will cancel your policy. 
To avoid missing a payment, set up automatic payments with your insurance company. If you’re a
Jerry
user, you can activate payment reminders in the app to receive a notification three days before your payment due date.
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Will I face penalties if my car insurance policy expires?

If your current insurance policy expires and you don’t have a new one lined up to take its place, you could face several problems due to lapsed coverage.
Since
driving without insurance
is illegal, you could face serious penalties if you’re caught driving an uninsured vehicle, including higher insurance premiums and potential
SR-22 requirements
.
Here are some examples of how your monthly
full-coverage car insurance
rates might increase after a lapse in coverage:
Carrier
Average cost before lapse
Average cost after lapse
Average percent increase
$215
$237
10%
$130
$134
3%
$155
$175
13%
$178
$215
21%
$162
$189
17%
$141
$146
4%
Legal penalties for allowing insurance to lapse on a registered vehicle can include:
  • Fines
  • License and registration suspension
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Jail time.
If you cause an accident while driving uninsured, you’ll be held liable for medical expenses and property damage. 
An insurance lapse will also break your continuous coverage streak, which means you’ll lose access to any continuous coverage discounts you may have had. 

How can I get a new policy? 

If you’re shopping with
Jerry
, you can usually get
same-day coverage
. Jerry will compare car insurance quotes from dozens of providers using your profile and vehicle information—then, you can adjust coverage levels, finalize your new car insurance policy, and access your
proof of insurance
right in the app.
Simply download the Jerry app, enter your information, and you can review auto policies from the
best car insurance companies
—including Progressive, Allstate, and Farmers—in a matter of minutes. 
Before your policy ends, use Jerry to switch from your old policy to a new one. It’s as easy as that. You can also locate your policy’s effective date and expiration date on the policy home page—so you’ll never need to worry about a lapse in coverage again.
Let Jerry help you find the best rate and avoid a lapse in coverage
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FAQ

Are you covered on the day your insurance expires?

The insurance industry commonly stops insurance coverage at 12:00am the day your policy expires. Unless you renew it, you will be left without car insurance.

How do you check if my insurance has expired?

Policy declarations pages
and car insurance renewal notices both include your policy’s expiry date. You can also check your insurance card and policy documents in the Jerry app.

Can I renew my car insurance before it expires?

Yes, you can renew your insurance before it expires. Most insurance providers send renewal notices at least one month before your policy’s expiration date. If you’re happy with your current policy and new rate, you may renew early; if not, you can use that period to shop around for a new company.

What happens if I drive without insurance?

Driving without insurance is illegal in most states and can lead to significant fines, jail time, vehicle impoundment, or license suspension. It also puts you at risk for serious financial liability if you cause an accident.

Am I still insured during a grace period?

Yes, you are still insured during a grace period. You can file insurance claims as usual with your current provider so long as you make a payment before your grace period’s final date.

How can I avoid insurance expiration?

You can avoid insurance expiration by making payments on time and renewing your policy (or setting up a new one) before your term ends. Setting up automatic payments is also a good idea. 

Do I have to speak with my insurance provider to renew my policy?

Some insurance providers offer automatic renewals if you’re enrolled in autopay, so you don’t have to do anything if you’re happy with your rate and car insurance coverage. If you have questions about your policy, however, you should speak with an insurance agent.

Will my insurance get canceled without my knowledge?

No, your insurance will never get canceled without your knowledge. Auto insurance companies are required by law to send you a cancellation notice in advance if you’ve missed a payment or they won’t be renewing your policy.

Is there a fee to cancel my auto insurance?

In most cases, there is no fee to cancel your auto insurance policy. But some insurance providers can charge fees up to $50 or a small percentage of your final premium if you cancel mid-term.

Methodology

To determine average insurance rates, Jerry's experts analyze thousands of policies purchased by our customers. Our data are based on real policy premiums for all customers in a given category. 
Where real customer data are unavailable, Jerry’s editorial team researches average rates using expert sources from Forbes, NerdWallet, ValuePenguin, WalletHub, The Zebra, and CarInsurance.com. Our data shows the average of the data shared by those sources.

Meet our experts

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Hillary Kobayashi
Hillary Kobayashi is an insurance writer and editor specializing in insurance and finance topics. Hillary’s mission is to use her knowledge and love of education to help car owners better understand how they can save time and money on car ownership. The articles Hillary has published for Jerry span topics from state-specific bill of sale requirements to SR-22 insurance information.
Prior to joining Jerry, Hillary spent over ten years in education at Pacific University and the University of Oregon.
avatar
Sarah Gray
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Licensed Insurance Agent — Expert Insurance Writer and Editor
Sarah Gray is an insurance writer with nearly a decade of experience in publishing and writing. Sarah specializes in writing articles that educate car owners and buyers on the full scope of car ownership—from shopping for and buying a new car to scrapping one that’s breathed its last and everything in between. Sarah has authored over 1,500 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from first-time buyer programs to how to get a salvage title for a totaled car.
Prior to joining Jerry, Sarah was a full-time professor of English literature and composition with multiple academic writing publications.

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