Slow Payments Cost you Money

Written by admin on April 22nd, 2011

When it comes to mortgages and credit cards, as long as you pay by the end of the grace period, you aren’t charged late fees, and your interest rate isn’t adversely affected, though you are often considered a “slow pay” customer. When it comes to insurance, however, there is no grace period, and paying your premium even one day late can cause your policy to be canceled, and reinstatement may not be automatic. In addition, if you have to start a new policy, you may end up paying more – if you can find new insurance at all!

While the laws governing when insurance companies are allowed to drop your policy vary from state to state, they are usually able to cancel your policy in the middle of the term rather than waiting for the renewal date, and not renewing your policy. More specifically:

The due date is the date by which your premium must be received by the company. Having it postmarked by that date isn’t enough.

While most auto insurers will let you slide if you’re only a few days late, if you habitually pay late they will likely cancel your policy.

If you are paying monthly, and are late, your insurance company may require that you pay the total premium in order to keep or reinstate your coverage.

If you are canceled, don’t complain to your state insurance regulator, as they will be unlikely to help you once it is discovered that you were not making payments on time.

After a cancellation, shopping for new coverage can be trying. You must disclose if you have had your insurance canceled, and this may make you an undesirable client even if your driving record is pristine. You may not be allowed to have monthly payments, and you may have to pay higher premiums, designed for people who are greater risks. As well, some insurance companies report late payments to credit reporting bureaus, so your credit score may be adversely affected.

At the very worst, you may have to go to a high-risk carrier, or buy “pool” insurance, which is mandated by your state, and available to those who are extremely risky clients.

If all this sounds scary – and it should – be aware that there is some good news. If you call your agent before your payment is late, they may be able to work with you to keep your policy in force, either by allowing smaller payments more frequently, putting you on an automatic payment plan, or changing the due date of your premium.

There is no grace period for auto insurance premiums, but there are gracious people in the industry who will try to help you.

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