How to Check If Your Auto Insurance Is Active

Last Updated on September 4, 2022

Plenty of Americans drive around normally, assuming they have insurance coverage, only to find out their coverage has lapsed, been canceled, or is inactive for another reason. Simply securing an auto insurance policy does not mean it is active. You must pay your auto insurance monthly premiums as mandated by the insurance provider for your policy to be active. Furthermore, there is also the chance that your insurance policy has reached its end date. As long as your auto insurance is not expired and you are paying your monthly premiums on time and in full, your insurance should be active.

Check Your Proof of Insurance Card

active auto insuranceYour proof of insurance card, or “insurance card” for short, is the most easily accessible source of information about your insurance coverage’s active dates.  Ideally, this card will be in your vehicle at all times. However, you might have put the card in your wallet or purse. Check each of these areas to locate your proof of insurance card.  The card will list the policy dates along with the name of the insurance provider, your policy number, and possibly even the insurance agent’s name.

There might also be a primary phone number for the insurance provider to boot.  These numbers will come in handy if you cannot determine if you have the latest version of your card.  When in doubt, reach out to the insurer’s main phone number to determine if they can examine their internal records and give you an update regarding whether your insurance is active, expired, canceled, or in another status.

Can’t Find Your Auto Insurance Documents?  Here’s What to Do

You might not be able to find your auto insurance policy documents when attempting to determine if your policy is active.  If this is the case, reach out to your insurance provider or insurance agent to check your coverage status. It might also help to take a look at your email for policy information, as there is a good chance you signed up for electronic billing.  The statements you are looking for just might be in your email inbox.

When in doubt, double-check to ensure your auto insurance is still active.  Otherwise, you will be in violation of state laws that mandate active auto insurance to drive your vehicle.  The failure to comply with this law has the potential to be fairly significant, so do not hesitate to pursue this matter right away.  The clock is ticking. If you are stopped for speeding, running a stop sign, or happen to get into an accident, the lack of auto insurance will make your life a nightmare.

How to Proceed if Your Auto Insurance is Inactive

If your auto insurer informs you your insurance policy is no longer active, remain calm.  The most important thing you can do is determine why the insurance policy is inactive.  If the insurer failed to renew the policy due to insufficient payment or the failure to pay, make the appropriate arrangements to update your payment and reinstate the insurance. However, there is also a chance the auto insurance provider elected not to renew the policy due to an abundance of accidents, an excess of traffic tickets, or even because of claims filed through the prior policy.  If this is the case, it is time to get to work on acquiring auto insurance from a different provider.

Always Carry at Least the Minimum Level of Auto Insurance

If you find out your auto insurance is no longer active, it is in your interest to obtain at least the minimum level of insurance.  The last thing you should have to worry about is a potential accident while out and about that proves egregiously expensive. You should not have to pay out-of-pocket for the expenses resulting from such an accident.  Furthermore, the drama and annoyance of dealing with a police officer will also make life that much more difficult.

Though carrying the minimum levels of auto insurance coverage has the potential to put a dent in your budget, paying this monthly premium is cheaper than shelling out your hard-earned money to cover the entirety of expenses stemming from an auto accident.  Those who are determined to be at fault for auto accidents yet lack auto insurance are likely to be sued by the victim’s personal injury attorney. You may lose your savings and other assets if it is determined your negligence caused a collision while driving without auto insurance.

Do not assume you will have to pay an exorbitant amount for the bare minimum auto insurance coverage. Even if you have a history of auto accidents or tickets, it is still possible to obtain affordable auto insurance that ensures you are in full compliance with the law. Shop around, get several quotes, and you will eventually find a monthly auto insurance premium that makes sense for your unique budget.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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