Buying Auto Insurance After A Lapse In Coverage

The law requires that every driver on the road has a certain level of auto insurance coverage for their vehicle. However, sometimes life gets in the way and this coverage lapses. Buying auto insurance after a lapse in coverage is not impossible, but it might create a few unexpected challenges. If you need to purchase insurance after a break in coverage, learn what you might face.

Increased Down Payment

Generally, insurance companies will require a down payment on any new insurance policy. For people with excellent credit histories and a record of continuous insurance coverage, the amount of the down payment is sometimes less than the equivalent of one month's coverage on a six-month policy.

However, for people that don't fall into this category, including people with coverage lapses on their record, the down payment can be substantial — even as much as the entire cost of a six-month policy — especially if the reason for the lapse was non-payment of the premium. As you begin to search for a new policy, it's wise to put a little extra money to the side in case you have to pay a large down payment. 

Denied Coverage

Insurance companies use risk assessments to determine how much a policy premium will be, and even to determine who they will extend coverage to. If the reason for your lapse in coverage was due to you being dropped from your previous policy due to a cancellation on the part of the insurance company, you might discover that some insurance companies can deny you coverage.

This type of situation is rare and is generally the result of something serious, such as providing false information to the insurance company or filing a fraudulent claim. Whatever the case, you will know well in advance if the insurance company has deemed you non-insurable. 

Higher Costs

In addition to an increased down payment, after a lapse in coverage, you could pay more for your insurance premiums going forward. Insurance companies base coverage costs on the risk level of the insured, and a person with breaks in their coverage is often perceived to be a greater risk than someone who does not have this type of record. 

It's important to note that the increase in cost is only temporary. After you establish a good payment history with the insurance company and create a record of continued coverage, your rates will decrease over time.

If you need coverage after a lapse, an agent can help. Let an agent know about your situation so that they work around your needs to get you the coverage you need.