Once in a while, I’ll get a panicked call from a friend who was in an accident but realized his insurance policy may have lapsed.
First things first. You are supposed to have your insurance information readily accessible in your car. But sometimes these documents get misplaced (especially when your kids fish through your glove box)!
If you’re in an accident and realize your insurance card is not available (which is usually the type of calls I get), don’t panic. After exchanging information with the other driver, a quick call to your insurance company will get you the information you need. Many companies can email you your policy number right then and there.
But what if your policy truly did lapse?
Most policies have a grace period. The insurance company will send you notifications that your policy will lapse if you don’t pay the premiums by a certain date.
If you receive this type of notification, pay your premium! With most companies, you can do this by credit card and set your settings to make automatic monthly, quarterly, or annual payments.
If it turns out that you actually did stop paying your premiums, and your policy did lapse, you might be in trouble in the event of an accident.
It’s illegal to not carry at least $15,000.00 in liability coverage for each of your cars. Nevertheless, millions of drivers in California break this law virtually every day.
About twenty years ago, California adopted Proposition 213. Essentially, the law limits the amount of money you can recover if you’re in an accident but don’t have auto insurance.
The law allows you to recover for your medical expenses, but that’s it. No pain and suffering or anything else.
The only exception to this rule is if the at-fault driver was under the influence, and convicted of this crime.
With the daily grind of life, it’s easy to forget about paying your auto insurance premiums. But not doing so can cause serious financial consequences down the line. It’s also illegal. Make your payments on time to avoid heartbreak in the future. It’s the responsible thing to do.
For questions about your insurance coverage or your case, please do not hesitate to give the Rabbi Lawyer a call.