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What To Do When Your Car Insurance Lapses in Georgia

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What To Do When Your Car Insurance Lapses in Georgia

Keeping on top of monthly bills can be a struggle, especially if you live on a tight budget, but your car insurance is one bill that you should make sure to take care of every month. Letting your insurance lapse in Georgia is likely to end up costing you more in the long run than just paying the bill. 

Whether you unintentionally forget to pay your car insurance or intentionally don’t pay the bill, the consequences could be a lapse in coverage that will lead to penalties, increased premiums, and even the suspension or revocation of your vehicle registration. 

What Car Insurance Coverage Does Georgia Require?

In Georgia, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance to cover expenses for injuries or property damages incurred by another driver. The minimum liability insurance required in Georgia is as follows: 

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person 
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident 
  • $25,000 property damage. 

It’s illegal to drive without the minimum insurance coverage in Georgia and, if caught, you could be charged with a misdemeanor, fined anywhere from $200 to $1,000, and have your driver’s license suspended for up to 90 days. Worst-case scenario, you could even face up to 12 months in jail. 

Does Georgia Have a Reporting System? 

Even if your insurance agent is the nicest person you’ve ever met, he or she is required by law to report you to the state if your insurance coverage changes or lapses.  

Under Georgia state laws, if you own or lease a vehicle, you are required to maintain at least the minimum liability insurance continuously. Drivers must show proof of insurance to register their vehicle, get their license plates, or transfer their license plates. 

If you are unsure whether your insurance company has filed your proof of insurance with the DMV, you can check the Georgia DRIVES e-Services Registration and Insurance Status website. You should contact your insurance company immediately if the search shows you don’t have coverage, especially if you do have coverage and it’s not in the state database. 

What is Considered a Lapse in Coverage in Georgia?

In Georgia, a lapse in insurance occurs when 10 or more days have passed without coverage. If your policy lapses, you have 30 days from the policy’s expiration date to provide proof that you’ve obtained new insurance. If you provide proof within 10 days, there technically hasn’t been a lapse in the policy, so you won’t face any penalties. 

However, if you provide proof after that 10-day grace period, you will be subject to a $25 lapse fee. That fee has to be paid within 30 days, or else you could receive an additional fine of up to $160. 

What Are The Risks of Driving After Your Car Insurance Lapses?

A lapse in your car insurance coverage could also leave you open to being fined for driving without the minimum coverage required by Georgia state law. 

A lapse in car insurance coverage over 30 days could jeopardize whether your insurance coverage is considered “continuous.” If you don’t provide proof of insurance within that time period, the DMV will send you a notice of pending suspension. Once you receive this notice, you have another 30 days to produce proof of insurance and pay any related fines, or your vehicle’s registration will be revoked. 

The state can suspend or revoke the registration of any vehicle that doesn’t have continuous liability coverage. It’s also not a good idea to let your vehicle registration get suspended or revoked because driving a vehicle on a suspended or revoked registration is a misdemeanor in Georgia. If the vehicle is no longer your car, or is out of service for any reason, cancel your registration yourself to avoid getting tangled up in the legal system. 

What Happens If You Get into an Accident in Georgia After Your Insurance Lapses?

The biggest risk to having your car insurance policy lapse is that you aren’t covered if you get into an accident. Without insurance coverage, the cost for any injuries or property damage from the accident will have to be paid out of your pocket. Your costs could be even higher if the other driver decides to sue you. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average property damage claim from a car accident in 2020 was $4,711, while the average personal injury claim was $20,235. 

How Do You Reinstate a Suspended Vehicle Registration?

Reinstating your vehicle registration in Georgia after it has been suspended due to a lapse in coverage is going to cost you. First and foremost, you still need to obtain the minimum liability insurance coverage, which will cost more since you had a lapse in coverage. Letting your insurance lapse tells the insurance companies that you’re a high risk. Some carriers may refuse to offer you coverage. Those that do agree to cover you will most likely charge you a higher premium. A study by insurance analysis firm Quadrant Information Services shows that a lapse in car insurance coverage could result in at least a 12% increase in insurance premiums in Georgia. 

To reinstate a suspended registration, you’ll also have to pay a $25 lapse fee and a $60 reinstatement fee. If your vehicle registration has been suspended three or more times in five years, you’ll have to pay a higher reinstatement fee of $160. 

Make Sure You Have Insurance Coverage in Georgia To Fit Your Budget.

One way to ensure that you never have a lapse in your car insurance coverage is to get a policy that gives you the best coverage, meets the state minimum requirements, and fits within your budget so you’ll never miss a payment. At Southern Harvest, you can find affordable car insurance that won’t break the bank, even if you are a high-risk driver. 

To get a quote on affordable car insurance, call us at 877-831-4677 or visit us at one of our offices or get a quote online.