Can I Pay Car Insurance Late?

Auto insurers may cancel policyholders' coverage for making late payments.
Auto insurers may cancel policyholders' coverage for making late payments. (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You take a risk if you pay your auto insurance late. Some insurance companies are less tolerant of late payments than others. A late payment could immediately lead to the cancellation of your auto coverage. Furthermore, it's often difficult for policyholders to replace their auto coverage after an insurer has canceled it. So, auto insurance can be paid late if you're willing to assume the associated risks.

Policy Terms

The terms of your policy outline the conditions under which your auto insurer can cancel your coverage. According to, your insurer probably has the right to cancel your auto policy even if your payment is just a day late. Some insurers notify their customers when their coverage is at risk of being canceled to give them time to send a payment to keep their policies active. Other insurers may not reinstate a policyholder's coverage after a cancellation even if they receive an overdue payment.

Payment History

Auto insurers are less likely to drop policyholders when they make a late payment if they usually pay on time, especially if a payment is just a few days late. Yet indicates that some insurance companies may want to get frequent late payers off their rolls. Therefore, they may cancel those customers' policies after receiving several late payments. Some insurance companies may cancel an auto policy for a late payment and require the policyholder to pay off the remaining balance to reinstate coverage.

Replacing Coverage

People who pay auto insurance policies late may have a tough time trying to get coverage in the future if their policies are canceled. Insurance companies check up on new applicants to find out if their previous insurers canceled their policies for nonpayment. Some insurers won't provide coverage for applicants whose previous coverage was canceled for nonpayment, even if they have excellent driving records. Other auto insurers provide coverage for people with past payment problems if those applicants pay for a year's worth of coverage in one payment.


Auto insurance applications usually require people to explain why a previous policy was canceled. It's important to provide factual information if a previous policy was canceled for nonpayment or some other reason. Insurance companies in many states have up to 60 days to check up on new applicants to determine whether they submitted truthful information. In such cases, a policy can be canceled up to 60 days after it's issued if an auto insurer discovers that an applicant provided false information.

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