Can I get car insurance premium relief during the coronavirus outbreak?

Extending your due date or lowering your premium may help during financial hardship.

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We’ll continue updating this page with resources and information as new details emerge on how Canadian leaders and businesses are responding to COVID-19.

Car insurance companies are opening the door for customers who need financial help, although most aren’t committing to waiving or suspending premiums for everyone affected by coronavirus. If you think you’re going to miss a payment, call your insurer to see if you can work out a plan.

Will my car insurance company let me skip a payment?

It depends. Most car insurance companies are taking customer’s requests for financial hardship on a case-by-case basis. Companies may let you extend your payment due date, but not every company is offering premium relief.

Get an idea of the type of help offered by auto insurance companies by reviewing the information below. Use the links provided to find out more about each company’s published response to COVID-19 and to find out how to contact company reps.

CompanyInstructions for customersPhone

Allstate Canada

Customers are encouraged to login to myAllstate online or via mobile app to request policy changes, submit claims and make payments.Contact centre:

l 800-255-7828

TD Insurance

Customers are encouraged to login to MyInsurance online or via mobile app to review their policies, make claims and check the status of existing claims.

Agents may still be available to honour preexisting appointments.

Auto insurance claims:

1-866-454-8910

Cooperators

Customers who are experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to call their Cooperators office to discuss payment arrangements.1-800-265-2662

Intact Insurance

Will review customer’s requests for financial hardship case by case, and provide solutions (including flexible payment options) as necessary.24/7 Claims hotline:

1-866-464-2424

SSQ Insurance

Customers are encouraged to submit claims online.Auto insurance customer service:

418-683-0554
or
514-393-3632

How do I delay my car insurance premium?

To delay your car insurance payment, you can:

  • Contact your insurance company. If your company has local agents, consider reaching out to the one closest to you. Companies call centres are much busier due to coronavirus, so local agents may serve you more efficiently.
  • Tell your insurer about your situation. Offer relevant details about how long you expect to have unpaid leave or whether you lost your job. Consider offering a plan that fits your situation, like a suggested extension date or lowered payment.
  • Mark down your extension. Once you and your insurer come to an agreement, put the new premium due date on your calendar.

What should I do if I can’t get a premium extension?

Even if your insurance company won’t work with your financial situation, you can take a different route to lower your bill.

  • Ask for a low-mileage discount. If you’re driving much less than usual, you could see if your insurance company will lower your premium accordingly.
  • Shop for a lower premium. Shopping around for a new policy can net you savings, especially when you’re looking to save money during a crisis. Take into account any life changes that might lead to a lower premium, such as a move or a change in occupation. Because you can expect long wait times if you’re switching by phone, shop for new quotes online until the pandemic lifts. Most major insurers offer an online or app-based quote and application process.
  • Switch to pay-as-you-go insurance. Pay-as-you-go insurance companies offer steep discounts if you’re not driving much and you use safe driving habits. You may need to use an app or black box to track your driving behavior and mileage.
  • Consider less coverage. If you think the risk of an accident is low enough, you could lower payout limits on your coverage or nix some coverage not required by your province or territory. Liability coverage is an exception — consider keeping as much coverage as possible to pay for damage you cause to other people.
  • Switch to a layup policy. Also known as a storage or comprehensive-only policy, some insurers let you buy minimal coverage if you plan to keep your car in storage and not drive at all for the next few months. Typically, comprehensive coverage only protects your car for damage from weather, theft or vandalism. Your insurer may require you to keep the car in storage a minimum amount of time.

However, you can’t legally drive your car with a layup policy because it doesn’t hold liability insurance. Also, you may have to cancel your car’s registration with your province/territory to avoid legal penalties and a registration suspension. This policy may not be allowed in every area, so contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles if you’re unsure. Because getting this coverage can be complicated, you might use this as a last resort if you can’t pay your bills.

How car insurance coverage works

Most car insurance grace periods range from 3 to 30 days. This grace period allows a certain timeframe to pass before your car insurance company cancels your policy, leading to lapsed coverage. The time period varies based on the insurance company and requirements in your province or territory.

What happens if I can’t pay my insurance premiums?

If you expect to miss a car insurance payment, contact your insurance company right away. Many companies understand the economic downturn that’s happening during the coronavirus outbreak. Your insurer may grant you an extension of your payment deadline or allow you to temporarily go on an easier payment plan.

What to expect if you miss payments:

  • You’ll get notified. Your car insurance company has to notify you about canceling your policy. You may get notice by mail or email, stating the date your policy will be canceled.
  • You’re still covered during the grace period. The grace period starts after the payment due date and gives you several days to make a payment. You may get charged a late fee even if you pay before the grace period ends.
  • You may get force-placed insurance (also known as “creditor-placed” or “lender-placed” insurance). If you’re financing your car, your lender probably requires that you keep full coverage car insurance. Your lender legally can put a forced-placed policy in place for you, requiring you to pay a steep premium for low coverage.
  • Your insurance company can deny coverage. If you miss too many payments without talking to your insurer, the company can cancel your policy. You might have to shop for a high-risk insurer if your old company won’t reinstate your coverage afterward.

How do I reinstate my car insurance policy?

If your car insurance lapses, some insurance companies will make an exception to reinstate your coverage. Reinstatement means your insurer will activate your old policy and backdate it, so you won’t have a coverage lapse on record.

You’ll have a better chance of getting reinstated if you call your insurance company soon after your coverage lapses. You will need to make a payment to reinstate your coverage.

Bottom line

Many companies are willing to work on a case-by-case basis with customers who are financially struggling as a result of COVID-19. If you aren’t able to get payment relief, you could switch to a different car insurance policy with better rates and terms.

To learn more about car insurance, check out our detailed guide.

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