April 27, 2020
When you don't have enough money to cover all your bills, the car insurance payment doesn't seem all that urgent—especially, if you're not driving.
Before you do anything rash—like cancel your policy or let it lapse—call your insurance company and see if you qualify for any of their COVID-19 relief programs.
Canceling a policy or letting it lapse, will be costly when it's time to buy coverage again.
"A lapse in a policy is bad to insurance companies. They think of you as a higher risk if you have a gap in coverage," said Penny Gusner at carinsurance.com.
Their data shows that you can expect to pay up to 13 percent more for a new auto policy if your coverage has lapsed.
In Washington, you must have auto insurance any time you drive a vehicle that's required to be registered. Even, if it's just going down the street to the drugstore during this crisis. Driving without proof of insurance is a ticketable offense that can result in a steep fine.
Remember: If your vehicle is leased or still being financed, you must have full insurance coverage, even if you don't drive that vehicle. It's required by your lender.
Checkbook.org has ratings for 26 insurance companies offering coverage in the Puget Sound area. Checkbook is an independent, non-profit, subscriber-based consumer rating and education service. As a courtesy to STAR 101.5 listeners, these ratings are available through this special link until May 25, 2020.