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Keeping track of your bills is a must. If you’re not on top of your bills, you could end up with no insurance at all.
Since auto insurance is one of the few insurance products that you’re required by law to purchase, the last thing you want to do is have a lapse. Cancellations leave you vulnerable and at risk of being penalized by law enforcement.
If you don’t know where to find your payment due date, it’s time to learn where you should look. Putting off the task of looking up your due date for just a few days could result in the termination of your coverage.
Here’s your guide to auto insurance billing and payment due dates:
Understanding How Your Premiums Are Billed
To truly understand how important it is to make your payments on time, you need to understand how you’re billed for your coverage. Unlike some of your other bills, you pay for your insurance coverage before you use it instead of after.
Since insurance is something you don’t use on a regular basis, charging you for premiums before the coverage is afforded is the only way the insurer can be protected.
This doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to pay for coverage you don’t need if you sell your car or move. When you cancel your insurance, you’re entitled to get your unearned premiums back.
When are premiums typically due?
Whenever you start an insurance policy, you have to submit your initial payment right away. The payment is what binds your coverage and starts your contract. The installment plan that you choose is what will dictate how much you’ll pay and your payment frequency.
Here are some common installment options:
- Monthly – payments are due on the same day each month
- Quarterly – payments are due once every three months, typically on the same day of the month
- Semi-annually – payments are due twice per year
- Annually – payments are due once each term at the annual renewal
What happens if you don’t pay your insurance by the due date?
Failing to make a payment for your insurance won’t affect your credit. Since auto insurance has no impact on your creditworthiness, you don’t have to worry about your score going down because you were late on your payments once or twice.
While this might be a relief, what can happen is worse than watching your score drop a few points.
If you don’t make a payment by your due date, you may have a grace period that will kick in. The grace period is a short period of time that you have to get your payment in before the company terminates your coverage. The time period can last between a day and 30 days.
If your payment isn’t made on the last day of your grace period, your policy will lapse.
Find an Old Invoice to Locate Your Due Date
One way to find out when your policy is due is to pull out your latest invoice. Unless you’ve opted out of receiving invoices by mail, you should get an updated installment invoice each time a payment approaches.
Some companies will send you your billing schedule with your policy documents at the beginning of the term.
Contact Your Insurer or Access Your Policy Online
If you can’t find your invoices or renewal documents, you can call your insurer directly and ask them when your payment is due next.
If you have an installment plan, you can ask for the billing schedule to be sent to you. For people who prefer to do business online, it’s more convenient to pull up your billing information by accessing your account online.
If you miss your due date, there are consequences. You may be charged a late fee, your premiums could go up, or your coverage could lapse entirely.
If you don’t have insurance and you can’t reinstate your policy, it’s important to buy coverage right away. To compare premiums, use an online rate comparison tool to find a policy you can afford to purchase and maintain.