You didn’t intentionally ignore the bill – it just slipped your mind with everything else you had going on! Now your Rhode Island auto insurance lapsed. Here’s what you need to do to get back on track.
Get New Coverage
Insurance coverage lapses often do not happen intentionally. Your insurance company may drop your coverage due to traffic violations or accidents, you may decide to switch providers and leave a gap between policies, or you may pay late or skip a premium payment.
Whatever the reason, it is very important you regain coverage as soon as possible. Without at least state-required minimum coverage you’re putting yourself and others are at risk. Insurance companies measure the lapse from when coverage ends until you:
- Obtain new coverage or reinstate your old policy
- Surrender your license plates
- Prove you no longer require insurance
When you let your insurance lapse, you’ll face penalties. The DMV imposes various measures, which may include:
- Suspended driver’s license
- Suspended vehicle registration
- Fines & fees to reinstate your vehicle
- Fee to file SR-22
Of course, if you’re caught driving without insurance you’ll face more serious consequences, especially if you’re in an accident. You could lose your license, pay steep fines, or even serve jail time.
Driving without auto insurance means you’re responsible for all costs associated with an accident or damages. These include the cost to restore or replace property and medical fees. These can quickly amount to thousands of dollars and financial ruin.
Insurance companies could increase your premiums or simply refuse coverage because they now see you as a “high risk driver.” If this occurs, it may be difficult to obtain an auto insurance policy at an affordable rate in the future.
If you discover an unintentional coverage lapse, contact your agent immediately. If you missed renewal by a few days or your coverage lapsed for non-payment of premium, but for less than 7-15 days, they MAY reinstate it without a penalty. Don’t drive until you have a new policy in place, though.
When your insurance company cancels your coverage due frequent non-payments or a poor driving record, you’ll probably need to shop for a new carrier. Unfortunately, cancellation often leads to higher premiums, because carriers consider you a higher risk.
Many drivers believe they can obtain the best rates by shopping around online, but an independent insurance agent can often get you superior coverage at better rates than you’re able to find on your own. They also do all the work for you, especially important if your insurer cancelled your policy. They access far more companies than you would and this reduces the likelihood you’ll need insurance through a state high-risk program. Coverage through a high risk plan means paying more for several years, so you want to avoid it if possible.
Avoiding insurance lapses is much less likely if you stick with one independent insurance agent. If they find you a better deal or your personal circumstances change, they can set up a new policy properly so you’re continually covered.
Instead of bouncing from company to company looking for the best rates, let your independent agent work for you. Just keep your information current with them and they’ll do their part to ensure that you’ve got the best coverage at the best rates.