Skipping or delaying your car insurance payment can cause your policy to lapse. Good news is, if you’re not able to make the payment due to financial constraints, you will usually get a grace period depending on the agreement with your provider. We list down the five must-know consequences of not paying your auto insurance premium. Read this article to find out more!
There may come a time in your life where you aren't able to pay your car insurance premium. Maybe you could no longer afford the premium payments due to being retrenched or other unfortunate events, or you were short of cash due to an emergency. Or maybe, you simply forgot because you were too busy.
Whatever the reason, willingly or otherwise, not paying your car insurance premium is a costly mistake that can have damaging and lasting consequences. We highly advise you to pay your car insurance on time.
Simply put, don’t take your car insurance lightly! Here’s a list of problems that could arise if you don’t pay your car insurance on time:
1. You cannot renew your road tax
Your car’s road tax and car insurance are designed to work in tandem. So without car insurance, you won’t be able to renew your road tax through the Road Transport Department (JPJ). And without your road tax, you won’t be allowed to drive on Malaysian roads legally. If you get caught driving without a road tax, you will be fined up to RM3,000, according to Section 14(4) of the Road Transport Act (RTA) 1987.
Interestingly, both documents usually expire at the same time, this gives you more reasons to renew it concurrently. The point here is: if you don’t renew or have a valid car insurance, you are not able to renew your car road tax.
To make matters more complicated, if you get summoned by the JPJ, you cannot pay for it at JPJ branches, instead, you will be required to go to court. Apart from JPJ, you can also be summoned by the police if you are found driving with an invalid road tax.
2. Your provider will cancel your policy
Skipping or making late payments could result in your car insurance being canceled, and when that happens, your vehicle may no longer be insured.
Without car insurance, you won’t be protected against the financial impact of car damage or loss caused by an accident or any unfortunate incident. That means you won’t be able to make a claim with the insurance company.
For instance, If your vehicle caused a crash, you’ll have to be liable for car repairs, medical bills, and other expenses out of your pocket, which can cost a lot. The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) estimated that road accidents cost Malaysia RM9.21 billion in 2016. The lesson here is simply that you can easily avoid the huge financial burden with car insurance.
On top of not being protected, you also won’t be able to drive your car if the accident caused significant damage to your car, and you can’t afford the repair cost. Worse, the cost would be bigger if the vehicle is used for non-personal use like for work or for your business.
The worst scenario is being fined or jailed for causing an accident that either injured or killed someone or caused damage to their property, and to make matters worse - not having enough money to pay for the damages.
3. Your insurance will lapse
When you don’t renew your car insurance or make late payments, this will cause your insurance to lapse. When you have a lapse in coverage, you will not have coverage for a period of time.
The good news is that your policy will not lapse immediately even if you happen to miss a payment as insurance companies often give policyholders a grace period to pay their premium before it officially lapses.
Typically, the grace period is 30 days from the date your policy expires, though it may vary according to the provider, so be sure to check and confirm that information with your own provider.
If you’re not sure what a grace period is, it’s essentially a period immediately after the deadline for an obligation that may be met without penalty or cancellation. So even if you missed a deadline, you won’t be penalised for making a late payment as long as it’s within the grace period.
For example, if your policy premium payment is due on 2 February, and you have a grace period of five days, you technically won’t be penalised until 8 February. After that period, if you have yet to make your payment, your policy will likely be terminated and coverage will cease.
A lapse can happen due to several circumstances: you forget or don’t renew your car insurance, your car insurance provider cancels your insurance, or the insurance company goes out of business.
4. Your new premium could increase
If you thought you could save up on cash by skipping or making late payments for your premium, you were gravely mistaken!
If possible, avoid making late payments or skipping it because you might end up paying a higher premium on your next policy.
You will also risk building an unfavourable reputation among lenders if they find out you have a history of skipping or late payments to your insurance provider. The last thing you want is to be labelled as a high-risk client, which is essentially someone who can't be trusted to make full and timely payments.
5. It could affect your credit score
If you didn’t really already know, your credit score is sort of a big deal. It’s essentially a number between 300-850 which represents your creditworthiness and how likely you are to repay debt. If you needed more deets on the topic of credit score, check out this article we did.
Delaying or skipping your car insurance payments could be bad for your credit score because, that’s the sort of information that would be collected into the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), a system controlled by Bank Negara Malaysia to generate a credit report, which credit bureaus would later use to compute a credit score.
Related: Ultimate Guide To Credit Scores
Some of the information or financial indicators that would be collected to create this report include your outstanding loans, applications for loan or credit cards, any pending utility bills and insurance premium, and the banking records you have.
Thus, any late or missed payments could negatively impact your credit score. And a poor credit score is bad because it will be difficult for you to get your financing requests approved. This makes it harder for you to get a loan, credit card, home, or another car in the future.
The big lesson: you will not have coverage, and that leaves you susceptible to financial loss
Without car insurance or when your insurance lapses, you will no longer be insured or protected. This leaves you more susceptible to financial loss if you get into an accident when you are uninsured.
Besides having to bear all the costs on your own, you might also be liable for the other party’s car repair costs as well. If the accident involves severe damage or death, the absence of car insurance could turn the situation into a legal case where you will be brought to court.
All in all, there are more significant downsides to not having a valid car insurance, and most troubling is how it can cause a major dent to your finances.
Our final tip for you is to be smart with your plans, and to keep close track of your car insurance and road tax to ensure that it is valid at all times, and renewed before it expires.