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Lapsed Car Insurance - What To Do?

By Vikas Chandra Das
21 July 2022, 11:46 AM

Violating a mandate of law is never advisable as the repercussions are harsh and driving around the city with a lapsed car insurance policy spells nothing but legal trouble. It is an offense as per the Motor Vehicles Act. You may be imprisoned or fined for driving in the absence of a valid car insurance policy.

Therefore, it becomes imperative that one does not delay in renewing one’s policy when the expiry date is drawing close or resort to purchasing a new policy at the earliest.

What is a Lapse in a Car Insurance Policy?

A car insurance policy is an annual contract that requires renewal on a periodic basis for the policyholder to avail of the benefits that the insurer has to offer. An insurance lapse is when the policyholder does not renew the policy by or on the predetermined due date.

What Should You do When You Have a Lapsed Insurance Policy?

A lapsed insurance policy implies three things for the policyholder – loss of accrued No Claim Bonus, rigorous inspection by the insurer, and higher premium the next time one purchases a car insurance plan. Not only this, driving around with an uninsured car will result in dire legal consequences.

Contact your insurance agent or insurance company

Avail of the expertise of your insurer or agent to prevent paying any penalties or higher premiums due to non-renewal of the policy on time. Also, if your policy has already expired, you can still contact your insurance agent or insurer to know if you still have the option of renewing the old policy as most companies offer a grace period of 15/30 days from the date of lapse of the original policy.

Do not drive till you have a valid policy

An accident by its very definition is unforeseen – do not put your life in danger by driving around in the absence of your financial armour i.e. a valid car insurance policy. Just like what happened with Praveen when he got caught with an invalid car insurance policy. As he broke the law hence he had to pay a heavy fine of INR 2,000 and also got a warning from the Traffic officials. In worst cases, imprisonment of 3-month is also imposed on a policyholder, in case he/she got caught without a valid insurance policy.    

Choose the right policy you want

This is the right time to explore all the options that one has at his or her disposal. For example, one might consider switching over to an online policy that offers attractive discounts and lower premium rates for the same coverage.

Prepare your documents

It is best to have all car-related documents in one place to submit it to the insurer at the earliest date possible and to make the process as smooth and speedy as possible. Some of the documents that one must have in his or her possession are – driving license, registration certificate of the vehicle, PUC certificate, copy of the previous car insurance policy, identity proof of the car owner, etc.

Set up an appointment for a vehicle survey

Some car insurance companies offer the option of self-inspection. But if your insurer does not have such an option, then you must set an appointment with the surveyor at the earliest date. Doing this efficiently is important as the surveyor will decide if your car qualifies for the insurance cover or not. Keep the damages on your car to a minimum. Also, fix up the deductible amount with the surveyor after careful consideration of all the aspects associated with the insurance policy.

Purchase the policy

Once the inspection is complete, the purchase of the policy must be completed within a period of 24 hours. Online policies offer one the flexibility and speed to stick to this deadline. The entire process can be finished within a matter of a few minutes.

How can You Renew the Insurance Policy Online?

The renewal process online is easy and nearly instantaneous as the data of the policyholder is already present with the insurer. A four-step process to complete this is as follows –

  • Enter policy details, details of the policyholder, and other required information in the renewal section of the website of insurer.
  • Choose the insurance plan along with the add-ons that you wish to purchase for your car.
  • The readjusted premium amount will appear on the screen and payment can be made through credit card, debit card, or net banking.
  • If the transaction is successful, you will receive the renewed policy document in your email or inbox within a few days. Download for reference purposes and keep a printout of it in your car.


A lapse in your car insurance policy is best avoided as uninsured vehicles could put you at a financial risk that will be hard to recover from should there be an unforeseen mishap.

Considering how a car insurance policy is no longer an option but a mandate of law, it is a prudent step to have a valid insurance policy at all times. The time of renewal of the policy is also a good time to re-evaluate one’s choice and upgrade to a better and more comprehensive policy.

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