You might have to pay your whole premium up front, instead of financing or making payments along the way, if you have previously had a lapse of coverage. It will depend upon your situation and the underwriting rules of the insurance company you are trying to get insurance with if you will be required to pay in full for your next auto insurance policy.
You may in fact be required by your state to pay in full and have your insurance agent file a financial requirement certificate. Some states require a 6 month paid in full if you have allowed your insurance to lapse. The FR certificate is referred to as an SR22 in most states.
Other factors that will likely play a part in the decision of an insurance company, and if you will have to pay for a full year's policy in advance, would be the length of your insurance lapse after your cancellation due to non-payment and if there were any losses since the cancellation date. For example a company we work with, Direct General, will usually reinstate a policy that has cancelled due to non-payment - as long as the lapse in coverage has been less than 30 days, and there have been no losses.
Get an online auto insurance quote and see if you can get a payment plan that will work for your needs.