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

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Not paying your car insurance can result in a lapse in coverage
  • Some car insurance carriers offer grace periods after the due date
  • If you chronically can’t afford your car insurance, you should consider changing insurance companies and/or policies
  • A car insurance comparison tool can help you find a new car insurance policy that you can afford on a monthly basis

If you cannot pay your car insurance this month, there are things you can do to prevent your insurance from lapsing.

However, if not being able to afford your auto insurance on a monthly basis is a recurring problem, you may want to locate a cheaper insurance policy by using a car insurance comparison tool.

Compare today with our free quote tool!

What to Do When You Cannot Afford Your Car Insurance

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If you realize you do not have enough money to pay your car insurance before or on the due date, you should call your car insurance agent immediately and let him or her know your circumstances.

Some car insurance companies have a grace period, but it depends on your state and your insurance carrier.

For example, Illinois state does not mandate that insurance companies give drivers grace periods on their car insurance. However, they do define a grace period as a period of time after the payment is due when your policy is still valid.

If your car insurance company does not offer grace periods, your auto insurance policy could be canceled at 12:01 A.M. the day after your car insurance payment is late.

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Lapses in Car Insurance

If you cannot pay your car insurance and you miss making the payment by the end of any available grace period, you could find yourself with a lapse in your car insurance. A lapse occurs when your policy is canceled or expires and you do not have another policy in place.

If you let your policy lapse by not paying your premiums, you could be in store for significant fines and have your plates and registration suspended by your local DMV.

In New York, a car insurance policy lapse could also lead to your driver’s license being suspended, and you will not be able to renew your car’s registration until you get a new auto insurance policy.

What to Do if Your Car Insurance is Chronically Unaffordable

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If you find yourself struggling to pay your car insurance premiums on time every month, your auto insurance may be too high for your current budget. Thankfully, there are things you can do to make your policy less expensive.

  • Raise Your Deductible – If you have a car insurance policy that contains a deductible, consider raising your deductible to lower your monthly car insurance payments.
  • Check to See if You Are Eligible for Discounts – Many car insurance companies offer discounts for certain built-in safety features on your vehicle, being a safe driver and having more than one insurance policy with the same carrier.
  • Lower Your Insurance – If raising your deductible and adding discounts doesn’t lower your premiums enough, consider dropping some coverage, like collision and comprehensive. By law, you are only required to carry liability insurance.

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Get a New, More Affordable Policy

When all else fails, you can shop around for a new policy with a different insurance carrier.

If you’ve had your car insurance for awhile or don’t shop for car insurance very often, there’s a good chance that another insurance company has a more affordable policy than your current policy.

This variation in rates is because car insurance companies use a mathematical formula to calculate risk, and not every insurance company uses the same formula.

Since different insurance carriers use different benchmarks to calculate risk and underwrite policies, you may be able to find a more affordable policy with a different insurance carrier.

To find a new policy quickly, you should consider using a comparison tool.

FREE Car Insurance Comparison

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How to Get a Car Insurance Policy You Can Afford

To get another car insurance policy that you can afford, you should determine how much auto insurance coverage is best for you, then consider using the services of a car insurance comparison tool to quickly find a new policy.

These tools search all the available policies in your area and return the results that best match your circumstances and desires.

When you receive your results, simply read through every policy, paying attention to the premiums amounts, coverage amounts, and exclusions. Once you find one that fits your budget and your driving needs, go ahead and purchase it directly online.

Compare car insurance options today using our free comparison tool.