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Woman phone in front of car accidentMaintaining auto insurance is essential. A period of time when you do not have coverage can make it harder to get new coverage.

Auto insurance can lapse for many reasons. Perhaps the most common one is nonpayment. If you do not have coverage, you are at a high risk of exposure. You could face more risk and penalties if you try to drive without coverage. Avoiding car insurance lapses is essential, and it does not have to be difficult to do.

What Happens If You Lapse?

Something happens. You fail to make your car insurance payment. Now what?

Most auto insurance companies will give you a period of time to make a payment. After all, many understand that accidents happen. However, don't let it become a habit. If you are making monthly payments, getting back on track is important. Your insurer may be willing to reinstate the coverage if you pay your bill in full plus any fines. Some may require more payment – even payment in full for the policy time frame.

If you cannot catch up payments, your policy often is no longer in place. The insurer cancels it. You no longer have protection. If you are in an accident now, you do not have insurance protection. This means you may be responsible for all damage you cause. You may not have help paying for repairs to your car either. This can be very worrisome even for those who do not drive often. Additionally, most states require this insurance to be in place for all drivers. Going uninsured could be in breach of the law.

Getting a New Policy

It is also important to know that getting new auto insurance coverage is often not easy. Insurers want to work with people who have constant coverage. This shows they are reliable at making payments. It also shows they have the ability to maintain their policy. There are no hidden accidents or claims during the non-covered period, either. Some insurers will not provide a new policy to you if you have a lapse on your record. You may pay a higher rate of coverage as well when you do get insured.

To avoid this, take steps to make payments on time. Pay your entire coverage period in one payment instead of making monthly payments. Set up automatic payments from your checking account. This ensures your payment is not late. It also can help you to avoid costly fees associated with late payments. Taking these steps can help protect you in the long term.

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