A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2021

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Important facts to know...

  • Standard auto insurance policies are valid for specified terms that will last for six months or a year
  • When you pay for your coverage in full, you’ll have insurance until at least the expiration date on your policy
  • When the expiration date approaches, the company is able to review reports to decide if they want to raise your rates
  • At the expiration of your policy, the policy must be set to renew if you want to continue your coverage
  • If you need coverage and you receive a renewal notice, you can extend coverage for a month by paying monthly

For as long as you own a car you’re going to need car insurance. Car insurance is one of those few products that the state requires you to carry, but it’s also a product that you should buy even if it wasn’t required.

If you can get away with passing the burden of paying for losses onto a huge company in exchange for a small premium, why wouldn’t you do it?

You never know how long you’re going to own your car. Life changing moments could change your dependence on your fine piece of machinery. A new car sale could tempt you into buying a new car. Marriage could eliminate your need for separate policies.

All types of life events can change your need for your policy. This is why you need to know your rights and whether or not there’s the option to extend your policy past the end of the term.

Compare car insurance quotes today by entering your zip code above.

Know How Long Your Coverage Will Remain Valid

If you know you only need coverage for a vehicle you’re buying or selling for a week to a month, you can buy a temporary policy through a specialty provider. This is the best option for policyholders with a unique need.

If you want to buy standard protection on a car that you own, it’s best to know how long your coverage will be valid from the start.

A term is the period of time that a car insurance policy remains in force. If you have current insurance, you can find out how long your term is by looking at the effective and expiration dates on your policy and doing the math.

All standard policies last for either six months at a time or 12 months at a time. Any other option is considered a specialty plan.

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Make Sure to Check Your Payment Schedule to Keep Your Coverage Up

There are several payment schedules you can choose from when you’re starting your policy. The only way to have peace of mind in knowing you’ll have active coverage until your expiration date is to pay your policy in full.

If you set up an installment plan, knowing when your payments will come due is a much to keep your coverage paid up. Some of your options include:

  • Monthly or Automatic EFT
  • Quarterly payments due once every three months
  • Semi-annually payments due once every six months

What happens when your policy expires?

Your policy doesn’t just terminate right away on your expiration date. When your policy is about to expire, the company will spend money underwriting you as a risk again. When the company runs the reports and checks to see if you’re more of a risk, it’s called a renewal.

When the company agrees to offer you coverage for another term, you’ll get renewal documents in the mail.

Your renewal documents will include virtually the same papers that you receive when you bought the policy at first. You’ll get a page that shows your new rate and when the new rate will take effect.

If you don’t make a payment when the policy renews or you tell the company you don’t want to renew your coverage, the policy will expire.

Can you extend your car insurance for a month after the renewal?

If you know that you’re not going to need your coverage past your expiration date but you’re not going to need it for the entire upcoming term, you do have the option to extend your coverage. Extending your coverage will require a payment.

You won’t want to pay your premiums in full all at once because you know you’re going to cancel the policy shortly after the renewal. Instead of paying the premium in full, set up a monthly installment option so that you’re only paying for what you need.

The only time you won’t be eligible to extend your policy is when your insurer sets your policy up for non-renewal. This means that the company isn’t going to continue doing business with you because of your record, driving history, or claims history.

It’s best for you to extend coverage for a month if you want to keep your discounts. If you’re not happy with your rates or you’re not able to renew your policy, start to get instant auto quotes for coverage elsewhere.

Take your old declarations page, enter your information, and then compare your rates. Try our free comparison tool right away.


  1. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-an-insurance-renewal-527419
  2. https://www.thebalance.com/can-i-get-temporary-car-insurance-in-california-527034
  3. http://www.rmiia.org/auto/steering_through_your_auto_policy/Glossary_of_Auto_Terms.asp
  4. http://www.consumer-action.org/index.php/alerts/articles/insurance_premium_installment_fees
  5. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-policy-period-527306
  6. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-non-renewal-527436
  7. https://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/d/declarations.aspx