Despite the best of intentions, you may find yourself in a situation where your car insurance lapses. You might be facing changes in your personal circumstances and wondering if it’s worth it to keep your car insurance. You may be wondering, What happens if my car insurance lapses? Our Tampa car accident attorneys want you to know what to expect if your car insurance lapses.
What Does It Mean When Your Insurance Lapses?
What it means when your insurance lapses is that you don’t have an insurance policy in effect for some time. Your insurance may lapse because you don’t pay your bill. It can also occur because you choose not to renew your policy.
When your insurance lapses, it means that you don’t have insurance benefits if something should happen during a period where you don’t have coverage. An insurance lapse is a situation where you do not have an insurance policy active and in force at any given time.
What Does It Mean for an Insurance Policy to Lapse?
What it means for an insurance policy to lapse is that you don’t have active, valid insurance coverage. If you suffer damage, there’s no insurance policy to pay it. You have to pay for your own damages directly, and you’re personally liable to another party if you cause damage to their person or property.
When an insurance policy lapses, it is canceled for one of several reasons. What it means for an insurance policy to lapse is that the policyholder no longer has an insurance policy in force because the insurance contract has been terminated.
My Car Insurance Lapsed, and I Had an Accident
If your car insurance lapsed and you had an accident, you’re personally liable for the damages. When the insurance policy could have covered your losses, you have to pay your damages out of pocket. Also, if the other side has a claim against you, they may seek payment from your personal assets rather than from the insurance policy.
However, even when your car insurance lapses and you have an accident, traditional rules of car accident fault and liability still apply. You can fight that you’re at fault for the accident, and you can even claim compensation from a third party.
One Day Lapse in Car Insurance
Even a one day lapse in car insurance can create complications for a driver. When there is a lapse in car insurance coverage, even for one day, it can be more expensive to purchase insurance. Of course, you may not be lacking insurance because you can’t pay your policy or because you’re a bad driver. For example, you may just have lived in a situation where you didn’t need a car for some time.
Even so, a one day lapse in car insurance can make it more expensive to purchase a policy. However, it’s vital to secure car insurance right away when you plan to own a vehicle. Even though it’s more complicated to get car insurance after a one-day lapse, securing insurance can protect you from liability in the event of an accident, and you don’t face fines and other penalties for driving without insurance.
What to Expect If Your Car Insurance Lapses
Here are some of the things that can happen if your car insurance lapses:
You pay for your own damages entirely out of pocket – When a minor car accident happens, Florida law requires both parties to go straight to their own insurance to pay for their damages. Unless you have severe or permanent injuries, your car insurance is your first and last resort for coverage in the event of an accident. When your car insurance lapses, you have to cover your losses out of your own pocket.
You’re personally on the hook if you’re responsible for another person’s damages – Perhaps the most significant risk that you take when your car insurance lapses is that you’re going to be personally liable for someone else’s losses in the event of an accident. Florida no-fault law allows for third-party claims if there are severe injuries. Of course, serious injuries come with serious damages. With a lapse in car insurance, the other party may seek to recover from your personal assets. Property, bank accounts, and personal items are all on the line.
It’s more expensive to buy insurance – While it might seem unfair, it’s less expensive to purchase car insurance if you already have it. When your car insurance lapses, you can expect to pay extra when you go to buy a policy. Usually, it’s legal for insurance companies to discriminate in pricing for people who don’t have current insurance.
You violate state law – Florida law requires all drivers to have car insurance. If you don’t, you face receiving a citation from law enforcement. Your license plate may be canceled until you can show that you have insurance in place. There are escalating fines for repeat offenders.
It can be a breach of the car lease agreement – When you lease your car, there’s almost always a requirement that you maintain car insurance. Of course, if your policy lapses, you’re breaking your car lease agreement. If the leasing company finds out, they may try to repossess your vehicle.
What to Do If Your Insurance Lapses
If your insurance lapses, you should not drive a motor vehicle. You should make other arrangements until you can secure insurance. Remember, you need to have only the required insurance minimums for your state.
There are many types of insurance coverage that are beneficial. However, if you’re in a bind, you simply need to comply with the required insurance minimums to be able to drive. Be sure to purchase your insurance from an insurer who has the proper license to do business in your state.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
If you’re in an accident without insurance, it’s important to work with an experienced car accident attorney. You need to defend against the fact that you don’t have insurance. However, accident liability is still determined by fault. An attorney can help you assess the entire situation, minimize your legal responsibility, and pursue financial compensation that you may deserve.
Contact Our Tampa Car Accident Attorneys If You Are Worried About a Lapse in Your Insurance
Did your car insurance lapse? Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys for a free, confidential consultation about your rights.