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Paying For Surprise Insurance Coverage

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 12/21/2013

Q: I couldn’t afford to pay my car insurance and I thought when I stopped paying my premium that the insurance company would cancel my policy, but they kept it active for 3 months after I stopped paying. When the next renewal came around they billed me the amount not paid from my last term with my renewal amount. I have since placed my insurance with another company because I never asked my old company to keep my policy active after I stopped paying, do I still owe them the money?

A: Thanks for the question, this is a difficult one so I will try and break down.

First, you live in California and the last thing that you want is a lapse in coverage. This also goes for your insurance premiums, because insurance companies will charge you more for your insurance if you have a lapse between companies. So, the insurance company extending your coverage without you wanting them to may actually be a good thing.

Second, you only owe for your insurance coverage with your old company up until the day that you got coverage with your new company. To get them to remove the charges for the time that you had coverage with another company, you will need to provide them with proof of insurance coverage with your new company.

For the remaining balance that you may owe to the old company, talk to your new insurance agent about what you need to do.

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Michele Wilmonen

Michele’s first introduction to insurance was working for a major insurance company as a file clerk and a mailroom supervisor in a regional office. She learned insurance directly from underwriters and claims adjusters from questions and also watching them do their job. Since then, she’s earned a number of insurance certifications from the Insurance Institute of America and also a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho. She blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

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