What do you do when you’re in a car accident and then find out your insurance has lapsed? Is there any chance that your auto insurance company will be on your side and give you a ‘grace period’? Unlikely. According to the California DMV, “A lapse in car insurance coverage means you own a vehicle that no longer has the state-required minimum coverage limits.
The auto insurance industry considers the lapse period to be from the time your coverage stops until:
- You get new car insurance coverage (or your coverage is reinstated).
- You surrender your vehicle plates.
- Your vehicle registration expires.
- Offer proof that your vehicle no longer requires car insurance (e.g., paperwork showing that it was repossessed).
- You’ve purchased the minimum coverage limits in your new state (if you’ve moved).
In other words, you are not covered by your insurance policy and may be exposed to serious liability. Unfortunately, it’s not just the cost of repairs of the other driver’s car that you could end up paying, but medical expenses, lost wages, and other compensatory damages that could affect your finances and tie you up in court for a very long time.
However, like many responsible drivers, you may not have even realized that your insurance policy was due. Your insurance company is required to let you know when a payment hasn’t been made and if it isn’t paid, you’ll lose coverage. If you believe that your insurer did not properly inform you of your potential lapse in coverage, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.
In some instances, your auto insurance company will offer you a grace period, or a period of time before it actually closes your policy. If you’re within that window, and pay your premiums, coverage will continue to be effective. For most Californians, that is not going to be the case. While the insurer many renew your coverage at a later date after you have taken care of the accident, your new coverage will likely not be backdated to cover the time of the accident.
If you get in an accident that was not your fault and you weren’t covered by insurance at the time, you could be in luck. With the help of a savvy auto accident attorney, the other driver, who has insurance, might pay for your damages. If you were at fault, you could end up in a lawsuit and lose your assets without the protection of insurance coverage.
If you were involved in a car accident in Los Angeles and did not have insurance at the time, speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your legal rights. Contact BIKLAW today.