Is there a grace period for getting new auto insurance afterthe old one expires?

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2011

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Is there a grace period for getting new auto insurance afterthe old one expires?

My insurance expired on 03/01/11. I got a ticket for no insurance on 03/21/11. I got new insurance 03/23/11. I was paying $281 a month with my old insurance. To get insurance with my old company again would cost me $340 a month. So I was looking for a new company. I found one where I pay $178 a month. I was wondering if there is a grace period for me to acquire new insurance once my old one expired. Since I wasn’t going to use my old insurance I needed time to find a new company.

Asked on March 29, 2011 under Insurance Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no grace period, so (1) you will be in violation of the law for driving without insurance (and could, if caught at it, have your license suspended or taken for doing so, as well as pay fines or penalties); and also (2) if you're in an accident while uninsured, YOU will have to pay any judgments or costs--there'll be no insurance to cover you. Once auto insurance expires, the insurer has no obligations to keep protecting you, even for a short time.

Generally speaking, the only insurance that offers you a "grace period" is health insurance, in that as a general matter, you usually have to the end of the month to pay the premuim--that is, you're supposed to pay at the beginning, but you can usually get by (at least once or twice, before they cancel you for late payment) with paying it later--always check the terms of your specific policy, however, to be sure.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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