My husband lost his job and we've been struggling to make ends meet. I had to pay our car insurance payment a few weeks late and now they say my policy is canceled. Aren't insurance companies required to give a 30-day grace period?
It's a common misconception that there is a 30-day grace period for paying your car insurance premiums. Oregon law requires 30 days notice of cancellation except for non-payment of premium. Ten days notice is required for non-payment, and typically this is printed on your bill rather than sent as a separate notice. Some companies may choose to allow additional time, but they are not required to do so. Some companies may be willing to reinstate your policy without a lapse of coverage, but again, they are not required to do so.
If your policy cancels for non-payment of premium, and your company is unwilling to reinstate the policy, you may be subject to underwriting. That means your company may review your driving record, credit and other factors to determine whether they will issue a new policy and to determine how much you will be charged.
Sometimes consumers will make partial payments. Partial payments will not generally keep your insurance in force. The policy may be canceled and the partial premium returned to you, sometimes with a deduction for a cancellation fee. Sometimes consumers use automated systems or bring a payment to their agent. If it's a late payment or a partial payment, you still may not have coverage. The worst calls we receive are from consumers who are involved in an accident and find that their policy was canceled for non-payment and they do not have insurance to protect them.
We suggest you review your policy for the cancellation provisions, talk to your agent or company
to find out how they handle late payments, and carefully review any billing notice or other notice
you receive from your company.
Consumer advocates are available at the Oregon Insurance Division at (888) 877-4894, or you can e-mail your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org