Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 8, 2019

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Insurance companies are required to notify you in writing before your policy ends
  • The exact number of days depends on your state and insurance company’s policies
  • If you need a new insurance policy, a comparison tool can help you quickly find and purchase a new policy so that you can avoid lapses in your coverage

Compare car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Most car insurance policies are written for either six months or a year, but they can be canceled sooner for non-payment and certain other qualifying events, including lying on your insurance application and having your driver’s license suspended or revoked during the policy period.

How Long Do Insurance Policies Last?

Most insurance policies are written for six months. In rare instances, a policy may be written for as little as one month or as long as one year. It depends on your insurance company and your needs. When you purchase a new policy, make sure to note the beginning date and the end date. This will help you minimize your risks of having a lapse in car insurance.

If you are worried about your auto insurance policy lapsing, you can use a comparison tool to find alternative insurance policies that offer better coverage for better rates.

Comparison tools are designed to quickly sort through the insurance policies of numerous carriers so that you can choose the one that best fits your budget and insurance needs.

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Reasons Your Insurance Policy Would Be Canceled Before Your Policy End Date

Every state lists the reasons your insurance company can legally cancel your car insurance policy. The Illinois Department of Insurance lists several factors that could lead to a canceled, revoked or rescinded insurance policy:

  • You are still within your probationary period- Every state allows for an insurance probationary period. This is a set number of days where your insurance company can cancel you at any time. In Illinois, the probationary period is 60 days.
  • You failed to pay your premium on time- This is the number one reason most insurance policies get canceled. If your payment is due on the first of every month, and you fail to pay your premium by 12:01 a.m. on the second, your insurance company may be legally allowed to cancel you at 12:02 a.m. Some states and insurance companies do allow for a grace period, but it is imperative that you contact your insurance company and speak with them prior to your due date if you cannot make the payment.
  • Your license was suspended or revoked during the policy period- Individuals with suspended and revoked driver’s licenses can get car insurance. However, these are typically considered high-risk policies and not every insurance company offers high-risk policies. If your current insurance company cannot rewrite your standard policy as a high-risk policy, they may cancel your insurance.
  • You lied on your insurance application- Lying on your insurance application is considered fraud, and if your insurance company finds out, your policy could be canceled immediately.

If you find yourself in a position where your current insurance company is canceling your policy or electing not to renew your policy, you can use a comparison tool to quickly get insurance quotes and purchase a new, more affordable policy.

Notifications for Renewals, Nonrenewals, and Cancellations from Insurance Carriers

Your current car insurance carrier must provide you with notification in writing, by either mailing you a notice or delivering it personally, a certain number of days prior to the end of your policy. Each state has its own rules and regulations for notifications.

In most states, you must be given at least 30 days notice, but some states require more notice.

In Wisconsin, insurance companies must give you 60 days notice for a renewal or nonrenewal. If the renewal includes a rate increase and it was not mailed to you 60 days before the end of your policy, the insurance company cannot raise your rates until 60 days have elapsed from the time the notice was sent.

If the insurance company in Wisconsin wishes to cancel your policy before the end date, they must give you at least 10 days from the time you received the cancellation notice. The notice is designed to allow you to find and purchase a new insurance policy, which can be easily accomplished by using a comparison tool.

  • Your insurance company must provide you with written notification prior to your renewal date
  • Your notification can state that your policy is being renewed, not renewed or canceled
  • A comparison tool can help you locate a new car insurance policy

Actions to Take if You Get a Nonrenewal or Cancellation Notice from Your Insurance Company

If you get a letter of nonrenewal or written cancellation statement from your car insurance company, you should immediately start searching for a new policy. Letting your policy expire before purchasing a new policy can lead to a lapse in your insurance coverage, which can result in penalties and fines. You could even be declared a high-risk driver.

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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How to Purchase Insurance Prior to Your Insurance Policy End Date

  • Enlist the help of a comparison tool- A comparison tool can help you find a new insurance policy that offers better coverage for a more affordable monthly price. Comparison tools are designed to quickly sort through your information and insurance needs and compare them to currently available policies from multiple insurance companies.
  • Submit accurate information- Once you submit all of your information and click submit, several insurance policies will appear. You will need to look at the premium amounts and the details of each policy to determine which policy would be best for your vehicle and driving habits.
  • Purchase, print and check your new policy- Once you have chosen a policy, you can purchase it online. Your new policy information and temporary auto insurance cards will be made available for you to download.

After you purchase your new insurance policy and download your cards, you should make sure the policy is active by calling your new agent or looking at your online account. To compare rates, you should take advantage of the use of comparison tools.

Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to compare car insurance rates now!