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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UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021

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Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

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Important facts to know...

  • Many auto insurance policies automatically renew so that there is not a lapse in coverage.
  • Your premium may increase when your policy renews.
  • Shopping for new rates every six months can help you to avoid overpaying for car insurance.

As an experienced driver, you may be well aware that most states require drivers to maintain a minimum amount of auto insurance, and you can face legal penalties if you are not properly insured. You can also face penalties from your lien holder if you’re financing a vehicle and fail to maintain proper insurance.

You may also be aware that you need to provide proof of active coverage if you are in an accident or pulled over for a traffic violation. However, all car insurance policies have an effective date, and you may be wondering when your current policy expires.

The last thing you want is for your coverage to lapse. After all, it can be devastating to be in an accident and not have the protection of insurance coverage. You also may receive a fine, lose your license, or deal with other issues if you do not comply with state laws regarding auto insurance. You can easily learn more about your insurance coverage’s expiration date by taking a few easy steps.

Learn more about auto insurance below and make sure to use our free insurance comparison tool above! Just enter your zip code and start comparing rates today!

Do you know where your insurance cards are?

The fastest and easiest way to learn about your policy’s expiration date is to review your insurance cards. Your insurance company sends you these cards whenever you renew your policy or sign up for a new one. All car insurance cards have coverage dates. You may keep your insurance cards in your vehicle’s glove compartment, in your wallet, or in another convenient location for safe keeping. These also act as proof of insurance should you ever need them. In states where officers aren’t able to run a license plate and see if a vehicle is insured, using the card proves that you have auto insurance coverage.

However, if you cannot locate your insurance cards, you do still have a few other options available to determine when your car insurance policy expires. You should also keep in mind that whenever significant changes are made to your policy or your coverage is about to end, whether you have cancelled it or it is expiring, your insurance provider will notify you by mail. Have a backup plan, just in case.

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Is calling your provider an option?

Another easy way to learn about your insurance policy’s expiration date is to contact your auto insurance provider directly. Calling the customer service number to speak to any insurance agent, or reaching out directly to your agent’s office during normal business hours can provide you with the information you need.

However, if you need more immediate results and cannot wait until normal business hours to get the information you seek, you do have another option to consider.

Can you look up the expiration date online?

Many drivers have established online access to their car insurance policy account. For example, you may log into your provider’s website to pay your premium or to file a claim.

By logging into your account online, you may be able to check your policy’s expiration date or even print out new insurance cards if needed at any time of day or note. Note that you should have these cards in your possession at all times when operating your vehicle to prove coverage when necessary.

Never allow an insurance lapse to occur; not only is it illegal to drive any period of time without insurance but you would also have to go through filling out a renewal application. Plus, if you’re found driving without coverage, you could face a penalty, the same as if you drive after your license expiration has passed. If it helps, set up some sort of notification, or write on your calendar the specific day that your policy is set to expire. That way you can act ahead of time and not be caught off guard.

Is there a chance that an auto policy could renew automatically?

Most auto insurance policies will renew automatically, so insurance carriers may mail or email you new insurance cards when the renewal date approaches. You may also receive some form of renewal notice, either via mail or email depending on what your preferences are. You simply need to store these new cards safely in your vehicle or wallet.

Auto insurance companies will typically let you know if your policy will not automatically renew for any reasons or if your premium amount is changing at the renewal date.

Many drivers who have been involved in a car accident and who have filed a claim will notice that their premium increases at renewal. However, your premium can also increase even if you did not file a claim. For example, it may also increase because of these factors:

  • Theft and collision statistics in your zip code
  • Moving violations on your driving history
  • General increase in rates by the provider across the board

It can be stressful to deal with an unexpected car insurance rate increase, but keep in mind that you do have some options available to lower your rate. For example, to lower your insurance premium rate, you may:

  • Raise your deductible
  • Adjust your coverage types or limits
  • Try to qualify for a discount, such as by taking a driver’s education or safety course
  • Purchase a vehicle that is more affordable to insure
  • Move to an area with lower insurance rates

Once more however, you want to ensure that you don’t see any lapse of insurance, because the costs could be even higher than a rate increase.

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Why should you take the time to shop around for quotes?

Most consumers are always on the hunt for ways to cut down on expenses, which is completely understandable. Another way to save money on auto insurance rates is to shop for new coverage; any vehicle owner could end up saving money by doing this. You may be unhappy with your current insurance company, which is why it’s wise to compare auto insurance quotes every six months to avoid paying more than necessary for your coverage, and online quotes are fast and easy to obtain. The insurance industry is always changing – being aware of said changes will make you a stronger consumer.

The first step to take if you want to get insurance quotes is to find a few reputable providers. Check the A.M. Best website for informational purposes, to determine which providers are financially sound, and read online reviews to confirm their solid reputation with customers.

You also need to determine the level and type of coverage you want to purchase. For example, while liability insurance is a minimum requirement, many drivers opt for a collision or comprehensive policy to enjoy additional protection from their coverage.

Then, you can request quotes online, or you can ask an insurance broker to obtain quotes for you. Auto insurance rates and discounts vary from provider to provider, so this exercise can yield tremendous savings.

Remember that maintaining a good driving record and keeping your credit scores high can also help you to qualify for lower rates in the future.

Whether your car insurance policy has already expired or you’ve gotten the email notification that it will expire soon, it makes sense to shop around for a better deal on coverage if you’re not happy with your current provider. Finding an affordable rate can be considered a priority; after all, nobody wants to pay more for their coverage than necessary, period.

Though if you’re happy with your current insurer, you can always ask if they have anything like a temporary insurance card that they could send to you while you review your previous policy in order to determine if it was a good fit, and to ensure you have continuous coverage even as you shop around. Remember that a coverage lapse is not a good thing for your driving history.

After you review your policy’s expiration date, spend a few hours comparing quotes to locate the best coverage available. You may find that the form of insurance that you have now isn’t what you need, or as affordable as you first thought.

Don’t miss out on our free insurance comparison tool below! Just enter your zip code and start comparing rates now!