Okay, so you have a situation: the car insurance didn’t get paid. Maybe you forgot. Maybe money was a bit tight this month and you couldn’t pay it. And now your Atlanta car insurance has lapsed…and you’re a little anxious. Your main question is what do I do if my car insurance lapsed? And what could happen now that your auto insurance has lapsed? We’re going to answer those questions by explaining what to do if your car insurance lapsed…and why it’s important to get coverage in place.
What do I do if my car insurance lapsed?
Well, the first thing is to stop driving the car if you don’t have insurance. Mooch rides from friends, take public transportation, use a ride-share service…just don’t drive. There are a lot of potential consequences to driving without insurance (and we’ll go over that in more detail in just a second.)
Okay. Moving on.
You need to call your agent or your car insurance company. You might be able to reinstate your policy without too much trouble if you’re not too late with the payment – particularly if you’ve got a good driving record and if you don’t make a habit of paying your car insurance bill late. Your insurance company might forgive a “whoops” moment, and you may just end up paying a surcharge. But if it’s more than just a “whoops” situation, that could be a problem. You’ll have to talk to your agent and see what options they have.
It can be difficult to get reasonably priced insurance if you’ve been cancelled for nonpayment. An insurance company is probably going to be pretty leery of insuring you because they see you as being a risk. To be blunt – they want to get paid.
So, long story short: if your car insurance lapsed, call your insurance agent to find out what your options are.
Pro tip: Set up automatic payments for car insurance. Then the bill will always get paid because it’ll be automatically be deducted from your bank account.
What happens if I drive without car insurance?
Well, that could get problematic.
In Georgia, you’re legally required to carry liability insurance to drive on the roads. You need $25,000 bodily injury liability insurance per person and $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident. You also need $25,000 of property damage liability. Those are the Georgia state minimums for car insurance. If you’re not covered by those levels of insurance and you get into an accident or get pulled over, that’s big trouble. Like we said, it’s illegal to drive without the right insurance. (Also, the Georgia DMV can find out that you don’t have the required coverage.)
Pro tip: Carry your insurance card with you when you drive. You could get in trouble if you don’t have it with you and you get pulled over.
But wait – there’s more.
If your car insurance lapsed, you may be on your own if you’re at fault in an accident.
That means you could have to shoulder the cost of things like…
- The medical bills/expenses of the driver and their passengers.
- Repairing/replacing the other driver’s car.
- Repairing/replacing your car.
- Legal fees and expenses if the other driver sues you.
- The court-ordered judgment that you have to pay to the other driver.
These expenses could be coming out of your pocket. Sure, your insurance premium might seem expensive…but not as expensive as the fallout from an at-fault accident. You don’t want to have to cover those expenses on your own.
What if I have a car payment and my car insurance lapses?
If you’ve got a car payment and you’re paying off a loan to a lienholder or leasing company, you will probably be required to carry not only liability insurance (as per Georgia law) but collision and comprehensive coverage as well. (These are the coverages that will repair or replace your car if it’s damaged by a covered loss.) Your lender wants to protect their investment in the vehicle, and if they’re made aware of the fact that your car insurance lapsed they could respond by putting force-placed insurance on your car.
Basically, force-placed insurance means they’re going to get insurance for your car…and then get you to pay for it.
So. This is why it’s important to keep valid Atlanta car insurance. Though you may feel auto insurance is very expensive, consider it an investment in your financial security. No one wants to think about worst-case scenarios, but driving comes with a lot of risks. It’s essential to protect yourself financially. If you’re concerned that car insurance is going to be too expensive, reach out to your agent and ask about payment plans, discounts, and coverage options.
And your Atlanta Insurance agent can help you shop for your rates so that you can compare coverage options and pricing – and save money on your car insurance. Get started with your Atlanta car insurance quotes by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call.