Choosing Insurance Doesn't Have To Be Stressful

What To Do If You Can't Afford Your Auto Insurance Payment

It happens to most people at least once in their lives: A freak home or car repair, or other expense, suddenly pops up and drains your cash right before you receive your auto insurance premium statement. Rather than panic and worry that you might have to start taking the bus everywhere until you get the money to pay the premium, talk to your insurance agent. You have a host of options that can make that premium much easier to pay.

Split Payments

Take a good look at your statement. For premiums that you pay every few months, you may have the option to pay half of the payment now and the other half a month later. If you don't see that option spelled out on your statement, call your agent and ask if the company offers something like that. You may have to pay a small fee if you do this, but it shouldn't add much to the payments.

Changing the Payment Schedule

If you don't have the option to split the payment, or if the split payment is still too large, see if you can switch your payment schedule to monthly payments (assuming you're currently making quarterly, semi-yearly, or annual payments). That will reduce the amount that's immediately due by a substantial amount.

Grace Period

If changing the payment schedule isn't an option, you can ask about a grace period. Many insurance companies offer a period of time after the due date during which you can still pay and keep your insurance. Do not assume you have a grace period, though, until you ask your agent. Grace periods can vary widely.

Reduced Coverage

Reducing your coverage can help as well. Temporarily get rid of rental car coverage, reduce your liability to the legal minimum, and so on. The savings may be only a small amount, but that could be enough of a reduction to make another option, like a split payment, more affordable for you. Also look at who else is on your policy. If you still have your teenagers listed as authorized drivers on your car, for example, and they now have their own cars or have gone off to college, see if removing their names will lower your premiums.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, call your auto insurance agent to discuss these options and more. Your agent wants you to keep your insurance, after all, and he or she will work with you to find the right solution. You may also wish to talk with agents at other insurance companies, like Family Insurance Centers, to see if they can offer you a more affordable rate.