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Can I get car insurance premium forgiveness during the coronavirus outbreak?
Extending your due date or lowering your premium may help during financial hardship.
Car insurance companies are opening the door for customers who need financial help, although most aren’t waiving or suspending premiums. Most companies also offer a grace period to notify you before canceling your policy. If you think you’re going to miss a payment, call your insurer to see if you can work out a plan.
What's in this guide?
- Will my car insurance company let me skip a payment?
- How do I delay my car insurance premium?
- What should I do if I can’t get a premium extension?
- How long are car insurance grace periods?
- What happens if I can’t pay my insurance premiums?
- Switch car insurance online
- Bottom line
- Questions about car insurance premium forgiveness
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. In many instances, companies will let you extend your payment due date, but not every company is offering premium forgiveness.
State orders: California is one of the first states to order a 60-day grace period on payments for many types of insurance, including car policies. More states will likely follow as the world responds to COVID-19.
Learn how your insurance company is responding, including how to get in contact with a rep.
|Company||Coronavirus response||Contact information|
|Allstate||May allow customers facing financial problems to skip two payments without fees||MyAccount login or mobile app|
Your local agent
|Auto-Owners||Offers payment extensions, changing due dates and deferring the minimum amount due for customers experiencing financial difficulty||Call 800-288-8740|
|Geico||The company is postponing policy cancellations for nonpayment until April 30, 2020. Encourages customers with financial hardship to reach out for help.||Geico app or geico.com account|
|Liberty Mutual||The insurance giant is extending payment deadlines and waiving late fees for customers financially affected by COVID-19.||Liberty Mutual app or online account|
|Nationwide||Is reviewing customer’s requests for financial hardship case by case||Your nationwide.com account|
Call 800-882-2822, ext. 249-6985
|Progressive||Encourages customers going through financial difficulty to walk through payment options with a representative||Chat through the Progressive app or online account|
|Root||Encourages customers to review their coverage in the app or contact with questions.||Root app|
|State Farm||State Farm says it’s committed to helping customers during the coronavirus. Customers should contact their local agent for payment advice if facing financial hardship.||Your local agent|
|Travelers||Offers billing assistance for customers impacted financially||Call 800-842-5075|
|Farmers||Offers to extend customers’ payment due dates. Policyholders who need more time to make their payment can call the dedicated hotline to discuss their options.||Call 888-327-6335|
|USAA||USAA says its mission is to care for members, especially during difficult times.|
The company is automatically waiving late fees and postponing policy cancellations until June 17, 2020 — no action needed on the customer’s part. It’s also offering special payment arrangements for customers facing financial challenges.
|Mobile app or usaa.com account|
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 may see more calls due to the 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 due to the coronavirus. 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 hardship 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 with a low mileage discount.
- Shop for a lower premium. Shopping around for a cheaper car insurance 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’ll 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 limits on your coverage or nix some coverage not required by your state. 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 policy 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 of 30 days.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 state 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 long are car insurance grace periods?
Most car insurance grace periods range from 10 to 20 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 state. You can typically find out your state’s grace period from the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Revenue website.
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 work with you on an extension or to make payments manageable.
What to expect if you miss payments:
- You’ll get notified. Your car insurance company is required 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. 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 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.
Switch car insurance online
Many companies nationwide are offering grace through payment extensions during the coronavirus outbreak, including car insurance companies. But if payments still cost more than you’d like, you could switch car insurance policies if you can find a better rate elsewhere.
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