Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • You have to pay your car insurance premiums for the carrier to cover you when you have a covered loss
  • When you buy auto insurance, you must make your payment first before the start date or the application isn’t official
  • You can either pay the total premium you were quoted or set up an installment and pay a portion
  • You can’t get an extension to make your car insurance payments when you’re applying for car insurance
  • If you’ve already paid your first payment and need extra time in the future, the company may have a grace period

When you don’t pay your auto insurance, your auto insurance policy cancels.

Auto insurance contracts may be full of legalese and policy language that’s difficult to understand, but one thing that every policyholder needs to know is that they’re required to pay their premiums before their insurer will ever agree to insure them after they have a loss.

You don’t pay your payments on-time, you don’t have coverage.

Everyone needs a break from their bills. If something unexpected comes up or you’re not getting enough hours at work to cover all of your bills, you’ll have to sift through the billing statements to decide which bills are a priority and which ones can wait.

If your car insurance payment is about to be due, here’s what to know about extending the due date.

Before that, if you are looking to compare for better auto insurance rates, start comparison shopping today by entering your ZIP code above!

You Must Pay to Start Your Policy


One time that you must pay your premiums on time is when you’re starting a policy.

Anyone who gets quotes and then fills out an application for coverage will be expected to submit a payment with their application.

The payment is considered consideration under the personal auto policy contract. It is the only thing that makes the contract officials.

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How much do you have to pay to start a new policy?

Paying in full is a great way to avoid having to make additional payments for the next six months or 12 months.

Unfortunately, not everyone is in a financial situation where they can pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars all at once. Since the payment is due by the effective date of the policy, you have to decide which option fits your budget.

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If you can’t pay in full and you don’t want to pay your premiums on credit so you’re stuck paying interest, you’ll have to choose an installment option.

Most insurers offer their clients the option to pay installments when they are starting their policies.

You may have to pay more upfront as a down payment, but here are some of these options:

  • Monthly (equal installments)
  • Two months down monthly (larger deposit and then equal monthly installments)
  • Automatic EFT monthly
  • Quarterly (equal payments every three months)
  • Semi-annually (two equal payments for 12-month policies)

How do you know when your installments are due?

Your installments will have a set due date. Usually, the due date is dictated by the date that you start your policy.

If you start your payment on the 15th of the month, the payments coming up will all be due on the 15th as well.

For monthly payments, you have to pay on the 15th of the month. For quarterly payments, you’ll pay on the 15th of every third month.

Can you extend the due date of an installment payment?

If your payments are due on the 15th and you don’t get paid until the 20th, you might be in a panic trying to figure out how you’re going to pay to keep your policy active.

Some insurance companies have a feature that allows customers to extend their due date for up to 10 days.

Currently, Progressive and Geico are known for having this feature.

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How do you extend your due date?


Some companies let you manage your policy and change your billing information by logging into your account online.

If you can access your account only, you may be able to select the extension online. You can select the date you want the next payment to draft from your account and then submit the request.

Some companies don’t give their customers online access. If there’s no online feature that lets you request the extension via the Internet, you can call the insurance company and speak with a representative to request it.

If you’re granted an extension, you don’t have to pay a late fee for paying late.

Some Companies Will Just Offer You a Grace Period


Not all carriers are geared to setting policies that improve customer satisfaction.

When a carrier doesn’t do extensions, they might still offer grace periods.

A grace period gives you extra time to pay your premiums before the policy cancels for non-payment. If you have a 10 to 30 days grace period, just know that you could be charged a fee.

Letting your insurance cancel is very risky. If you are caught driving without insurance or you have an accident, you could be dealing with the mistake for years.

Always carry at least what’s required by the state.

Use an online quote system to compare quotes, find a quote that you can afford, and start your coverage right away.

Start comparison shopping today for auto insurance rates with our FREE online quote tool! Enter your ZIP code below to get started!