Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Aug 10, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Most states don’t require insurance companies to offer grace periods for auto policies.
  • Some insurance companies do offer grace periods even when they aren’t legally obligated.
  • If your insurance carrier allows you to change the due date for your policy whenever you want, try to move the date if you can’t make the payment on your current due date.

Whether your car insurance policy offers a grace period of not depends on two factors: your state and your carrier.

Each state has the authority to set laws that control the behavior of insurance companies in an effort to protect consumers, and that includes the potential for an insurance grace period.

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Which states don’t have grace periods?

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Most states don’t take that opportunity when it comes to car insurance grace periods, but there are some exceptions.

For instance, the following states make it clear that they don’t require car insurance companies to offer grace periods:

All of these states, plus many others, allow insurance companies to cancel your auto policy if payment isn’t received on the due date. This could mean that you no longer have coverage at 12:01 a.m. on the day following your due date and many states don’t require your carrier to warn you of these terms.

Other states require the insurance company to provide notification before your coverage completely lapses.

For instance, California law requires an insurance carrier to mail or hand deliver a 10-day notice of cancellation for nonpayment of premium.

You still maintain coverage during that 10-day period, so you have some time to start looking for a new policy.

If you call your insurance company promptly, they may reinstate your policy if you’re able to pay your insurance premiums immediately.

Remember, in most states, insurance is legally required. If you get pulled over by law enforcement and can’t show proof of insurance, penalties might include fines, license suspensions, and even jail time.

Some insurance carriers, including GEICO, Progressive, and State Farm, advertise a 30-day grace period, but you should still speak to a customer service agent about your billing issues rather than just assuming you can pay late without consequences.

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How can you check the rules for your state and policy?

Are you discouraged now that you know most states don’t require auto insurance carriers to extend grace periods?

Before you panic, note that some states do require grace periods with certain restrictions.

For instance, Arizona law requires auto insurance carriers to provide a grace period of at least seven days after the policyholder makes the initial payment on a policy.

This applies to all auto insurance companies offering policies to Arizona drivers even if the same companies don’t offer grace periods to drivers living in other states.

There are multiple ways that you can determine whether your policy offers an extended billing period:

  • Look at the due date field and backside of a recent bill. Some companies may include the grace period on the bill, but don’t assume that you don’t have one if it isn’t listed near the due date field.
  • Obtain a copy of your policy and read the Declarations Page and Insuring Agreement. If you’re unfamiliar with the legal terminology used in the policy, look words up in a dictionary or find someone with insurance experience to help you out.

Your Insurance Company Wants to Work with You

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This is a truth that many consumers find difficult to believe, but you should accept it with an open mind.

Auto insurance is a competitive field, and carriers spend a lot of money marketing to the same consumers every year.

When your policy is up for renewal, there are competing companies hoping that you will compare rates online and make a switch.

This is why they offer accident forgiveness and rebates for safe drivers.

If you normally pay your bill on time and don’t file a lot of claims, your insurance company doesn’t want to lose you.

If you fall on hard times and know that you can’t make an upcoming premium payment on time, call your insurance company before the due date.

They will tell you if your policy has a grace period.

If it doesn’t, they may still work with you in one of the following ways:

  • One-time due date change
  • Permanent due date change
  • Extended payment terms

If your insurance company allows you to change your due date whenever needed, simply change the date online or by phone before the payment is due. You may also be able to change the due date on your insurance provider’s mobile app.

This will give you an extension without telling the company that you’re having trouble paying the premium.

This may not work if you routinely struggle to make your payments, but it may work for a one-time late-payment solution.

If you can’t change your due date independently, you must call your insurance agent or the company’s customer service line as soon as you know that you can’t make a payment on time.

This gives them the opportunity to offer a temporary solution so that you don’t lose your policy. When you lose, the company loses as well, so make the call with a positive mindset. If you end up with a lapse in coverage over an unpaid premium, it can be more difficult to get insured again.

How can you avoid needing a grace period?

Many consumers must pay their mortgage or home rental fees within the first week of every month, so they benefit from an insurance due date later in the month.

If you always struggle to pay and changing the due date won’t make a difference, consider paying your premium in full every six months rather than accepting installments.

If you go this route, your state may require your insurance company to send a reminder before your renewal date.

Pay attention to this date if you don’t have a grace period because it’s easy to forget bi-annual payments.

If you have difficulty remembering when to pay, you may wish to set up automatic payments so your premium is paid without any effort on your part.

If your current policy doesn’t offer a grace period, consider shopping for a new auto insurance policy when it’s time to renew.

Select a date that doesn’t correspond with due dates for other large bills. Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!