Best Auto Insurance Companies That Don’t Charge You for a Lapse in Insurance (2021)

Auto insurance companies that don't charge you for a lapse in coverage are difficult to find because you're now higher risk to insure. Auto insurance companies that do charge you for a lapse in coverage typically increase your rates when you reinstate your coverage. A grace period (offered by most companies) does mean under limited circumstances (usually for specific reasons and with a small time window for reinstatement), most auto insurance companies don't charge you for a lapse in coverage.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Sep 23, 2021

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Things to Remember

  • A lapse in coverage is a 30-to-60-day gap in which you have no valid auto insurance
  • Car insurance after a gap in coverage is usually more expensive because you’re now considered higher risk
  • Other penalties for a lapse in coverage include suspension of vehicle registration and driving privileges and fines

A lapse in auto insurance coverage is a timeframe of between 30 and 60 days in which you don’t have insurance coverage. Lapses in coverage can result from expired coverage, missing a couple of payments, or a variety of other reasons.

Unfortunately, a lapse in coverage will often cost you. When you reinstate your car insurance after a lapse in coverage, most insurance companies will increase your rates (often significantly) because driving without insurance is usually considered high-risk behavior.

Read this article to find out whether there are auto insurance companies that don’t charge you for a lapse in coverage, the cheapest auto insurance for a lapse in coverage, and more.

Before we get started on this overview of the best car insurance after a lapse in coverage, why not take a moment to enter your ZIP code in our tool to get a free auto insurance quote from a company in your area today?

Are there companies that don’t charge you after a lapse in coverage?

Unfortunately, auto insurance companies that do charge you for a lapse in coverage are much more common than those that do not. Most (if not all) companies charge you after a lapse in coverage because of the increase in your perceived risk.

Companies like GEICO, Progressive, and others offer a grace period for a lapse in coverage (usually applies in the case of a late payment), during which you’ll be able to renew your coverage without any extra charges or rate increases.

However, this grace period is dependent on the company, where you live (state law can dictate how long the grace period is, what qualifies, etc.), the reason for the lapse in coverage, how long your coverage has lapsed, and your personal history with the company.

By contrast, while companies like Safe Auto and The General may still penalize you for a lapse in coverage, they focus specifically on insuring high-risk drivers and, as a result, sometimes offer better rates than companies with a focus on more standard insurance needs.

What other penalties can you expect with a lapse in coverage?

Other penalties for a lapse in coverage, beyond a rates increase, include:

  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Suspension of vehicle registration
  • Traffic tickets
  • Fines from the state (both for being uninsured and for reinstating suspended license and registration)

Exact penalties vary by state. In Illinois, for example, a lapse of more than 30 days will result in a suspension of vehicle registration and a requirement to provide proof of insurance.

If drivers cannot provide proof, reinstatement of the vehicle registration will require proof of newly purchased insurance coverage that meets minimum state requirements and a $100 fee.

If you’re found driving uninsured at a traffic stop, your license plates will be suspended, and you’ll be required to pay a $500 fine for driving uninsured (further fees will be required to reinstate your license plates).

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Why is auto insurance more expensive after a lapse in coverage?

Insurance companies consider a lapse in coverage an indicator of risk and increase your rates accordingly. Rates are adjusted based on your perceived risk, so the higher risk you are, the higher your rates.

Some insurance companies will classify you as a high-risk driver based on a lapse in coverage. This will put you in the same category as drivers with poor credit, at-fault accidents, and even DUIs (though your rates will vary based on your specific circumstances).

High-risk insurance rates can be between 25% higher and nearly double that of low-risk drivers with a clean record.

What are some ways to save on your rates after a lapse in coverage?

Unfortunately, your rates will be higher than your pre-lapse rates, regardless of what you do in most cases. However, ways you can save include shopping around and purchasing six-month or annual car insurance rather than monthly coverage.

Longer-term car insurance is perceived as a lower risk because the likelihood of another lapse is lower. As a result, six-month and annual average rates are lower than average monthly rates.

Shopping around and comparing rates from multiple companies (we recommend at least three) helps ensure you’re getting the best rate for your situation, coverage level, etc.

Best Auto Insurance Companies that Don’t Charge You for a Lapse in Insurance: The Bottom Line

After a lapse in coverage, car insurance rates will likely increase, and most companies do charge you for a lapse in coverage.

However, many companies have a grace period you may qualify for, depending on the circumstances of your lapse, in which there is no penalty when you reinstate your coverage.

Before you leave this overview of companies that won’t charge you for a lapse in insurance, are you ready to start shopping for coverage from insurers in your area? Use your ZIP code in the tool on this page to get a free quote on car insurance coverage right now.

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Best Auto Insurance Companies That Don’t Charge You for a Lapse in Insurance: Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still wondering about ways to save after a lapse in coverage, read through these frequently asked questions for more.

#1 – Are you allowed to stop coverage for a period of time intentionally?

Some insurance companies may permit this, depending on the circumstances. For example, USAA offers active-duty members of the military an insurance coverage suspension option for deployment.

#2 – How do you get insurance coverage if companies refuse to sell you a policy?

Suppose you’re too high risk to be able to purchase coverage through traditional means. In that case, most states have a high-risk insurance program under the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office through which you can apply to buy coverage.

#3 – What else should you look for when shopping for coverage?

Beyond rates, other factors to consider when shopping for coverage include customer service and financial strength. One way to gauge customer service is to look at the number of complaints lodged against a company.

This may be a red flag if a company has a higher-than-average number of complaints (usually expressed as a complaint ratio of greater than one). You can find this data through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

For financial strength, you can look at A.M. Best’s ratings, which reflect the overall financial stability of a company. Companies with strong financials are more likely to be able to pay claims.

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