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Q

My current insurance company is not renewing my policy. My policy will expire in May. Is it better to find other coverages to start ASAP or wait until my current policy expires?


A

It would probably be good to start now comparison shopping for auto insurance coverage that would start shortly before your current car insurance company expires or non-renews. Once you find a rate and insurance company that you want then discuss starting the new policy prior to your current policy expiring.

While you may not want to start the new coverage now but instead use the rest of your current policy it can be a good idea to have an overlap of few days since it would guarantee that you will not have a lapse or gap in insurance coverage.

Why an insurance carrier may choose to non-renew a policy differs according to insurance companies' guidelines and state laws.

For example in Florida "Nonrenewal" is defined as the termination of an insurance policy at its normal expiration date. An insurance company that decides not to renew your policy must notify you in writing at least 45 days before the expiration date. The following are examples of reasons for nonrenewal in FL:

  • Accidents — Even not-at-fault accidents can lead to non-renewal if you or another insured on your policy have three within a three-year period. The company may also decide not to renew if you have a series of claims, including towing or comprehensive claims.
  • Traffic violations — An insurer may decide not to renew your policy if you receive a conviction for a major violation, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or leaving the scene of an accident. The company may also decide not to renew your coverage if you receive convictions for several minor violations.
  • Company guidelines — The company may elect not to renew your policy if you no longer meet underwriting guidelines. For example, you may no longer qualify if you attempt to add coverage for a sports car to your policy.

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In Virginia an insurance company that intends to cancel or non-renew your policy must give you 45 days notice in writing stating the termination date and the reason for termination. The notice must also tell you that you have a legal right to appeal to the Insurance Commissioner and obtain insurance through the Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan.

An insurance company may not non-renew your auto policy in VA solely for the following reasons:

  • age, sex, residence, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, marital status or lawful occupation (including military service);
  • lack of driving experience or number of years of driving experience;
  • lack of supporting business (such as a homeowners policy);
  • one or more accidents or violations that occurred more than 48 months before your policy's upcoming anniversary date;
  • one or more uninsured/underinsured motorist claims where the uninsured/underinsured motorist is known or there is physical evidence of contact;
  • a single not-at-fault claim filed under your medical expense benefits coverage;
  • one or more claims filed under the comprehensive coverage or towing coverage of your policy; or
  • two or fewer accidents within three years unless the accident was wholly or partially the fault of the named insured, a resident of the same household, or other customary operator.


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