When does my insurance policy end?

13 minute read Published on Apr 6, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

When does my insurance policy end?

Navigating the intricacies of car insurance policies can often feel like a journey through a maze of fine print and legal jargon. Understanding the specifics of your policy, including its expiration date, is crucial for maintaining continuous coverage and ensuring your peace of mind on the road. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or a newcomer to the world of auto insurance, our guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to manage your car insurance policy effectively and avoid any lapses in coverage.

When does my car insurance policy expire?

In Canada, car insurance policies usually have a one-year duration, and your coverage will expire at midnight on the date of expiration specified in your policy. The specific policy end date of your auto insurance policy varies depending on when you first got your policy and is typically detailed in your policy documents. This date marks the conclusion of your current coverage period, after which your policy will either need to be renewed or it will lapse, leaving you without coverage for any claims.

Your auto insurance company is obligated to inform you about the end of your policy term 30 days before your contract expires. If you obtained your insurance via a car insurance broker, they are responsible for sending you the renewal notice.

Am I insured on the day my insurance expires?

Yes, you are insured on the day your insurance expires, up until 11:59 p.m. of that expiration date. Your coverage remains active and in full effect until the very last minute of the policy’s end date, as stated in your insurance documents. This means you are covered for any incidents that occur throughout this final day, according to the terms and conditions of your policy. However, once the clock strikes midnight, leading into the day after the expiration date, your coverage ceases unless you have renewed your policy or arranged for new coverage to begin.

How can I renew my car insurance in Canada?

Renewing your car insurance in Canada is a straightforward process, but starting early to review your policy, compare rates, and make any necessary changes is important. Renewing your car insurance is an opportunity to adjust your insurance coverage to match your current needs and potentially save money. Be sure to begin the renewal process several weeks before your policy expires to avoid any lapse in coverage. Here’s how you can renew your car insurance:

Review your renewal notice

Your insurance company will send you a renewal notice several weeks before your current policy expires. This notice will include your premium for the upcoming year, any changes in policy terms, and the renewal deadline. Review this document carefully to understand the changes and decide if the policy still meets your needs.

Assess your coverage needs

Before renewing, assess your current insurance coverage needs. Consider any changes in your driving habits, vehicle use, or personal circumstances that might affect your insurance needs. You may need to adjust your coverage limits and deductibles or add new coverage options.

Shop around

It’s wise to compare quotes from different car insurance companies to ensure you’re getting the best rate and coverage for your needs. You can do this online, over the phone, or through an insurance broker. Comparing quotes can help you find better rates or more suitable car insurance coverage options.

Contact your insurance company or broker

If you’re happy with your current car insurance company and wish to renew your policy, contact them directly to initiate the renewal process. If you’ve worked with a broker, they can handle the renewal process on your behalf. During this step, you can discuss any changes in your coverage needs, ask questions about your policy, or negotiate your premium.

Life changes like moving, changing motor vehicles, or adjusting your commute can affect your insurance needs and premiums, so make sure to tell your insurance company or broker of any changes in your life. Also, don’t forget to ask about any eligible discounts, such as those for multiple vehicles, driving records, or loyalty discounts.

Update your policy information

Ensure all your policy information is up to date. This includes your personal information, vehicle details, and any changes in driving habits. Accurate information is crucial for proper coverage and to avoid issues when making a claim.

Confirm your renewal

Once you’ve agreed to the terms and the premium, confirm your insurance contract agreement renewal with your insurer. You’ll typically need to sign a new policy agreement and arrange for payment. Your insurer may offer various payment options, including monthly installments or a single annual payment.

Receive your new insurance documents

After renewing, you will receive new insurance documents, including a new proof of insurance card, which is typically a pink-coloured card in many provinces. (pink card in many provinces). Review these documents to ensure all the information is correct and keep them in a safe place. Remember to place the new proof of insurance card in your vehicle.

If I have an automatic car insurance renewal set up, do I have to do anything?

Even with automatic renewal in place, which can streamline the renewal process and ensure continuous coverage without the need for manual intervention each renewal period, there are still several important considerations to keep in mind, like reviewing the renewal terms and informing your insurance company of any new changes.

Review your renewal terms

Before the renewal date, your insurance company will typically send you a renewal notice that outlines the terms of your renewed policy, including any changes to your premium, coverage, or policy terms. Reviewing these details carefully is crucial to ensure that the policy continues to meet your needs and that you are aware of any changes from your previous policy term. Adjustments in premiums or coverage details can occur due to various factors, such as changes in your driving record, the insurance company’s rate adjustments, or changes in your personal circumstances.

Update your information

If there have been any changes in your driving habits, personal information, or vehicle usage, you should inform your insurance provider before the renewal takes effect. This includes changes such as a new address, adding or removing drivers from the policy, changes in your vehicle’s use (e.g., for commuting or business purposes), or purchasing a new vehicle. Accurate and up-to-date information is essential for ensuring appropriate coverage and premium calculations.

Ensure payment details are current

Ensure that your payment information is up-to-date so the automatic renewal process can be processed smoothly. If your policy premium is paid through automatic deductions from a bank account or credit card, verify that the account details and expiration dates are current to avoid any issues with payment processing.

Assess your coverage needs

Your insurance needs may evolve over time due to various life changes or adjustments in your risk tolerance. Consider whether your coverage levels are appropriate before your policy automatically renews. This might involve reassessing your deductible amounts and policy limits or adding/removing specific coverages like comprehensive or collision.

Shop around for competitive rates

Even though your policy automatically renews, it’s a good practice to shop around and compare insurance quotes from other providers periodically. This can help ensure you’re still getting the best value for your coverage. If you find a more competitive rate or better coverage options elsewhere, you might consider switching providers before your policy automatically renews.

I accidentally let my car insurance policy expire - can I still renew it?

Yes, but the options available to you may vary based on the car insurance company’s policies and the length of time that has passed since the expiration. Driving without insurance is illegal in most jurisdictions and can result in severe penalties, including fines, driver’s license suspension, and vehicle impoundment. Furthermore, a lapse in auto coverage can lead to higher premiums in the future, as insurance companies often view drivers with a history of lapses as higher risk.

If you find yourself with an expired car insurance policy, the key is not to panic but to take immediate and informed action to address the situation. The longer you wait to address an expired policy, the more difficult and expensive it can become to secure coverage. You’ll want to act quickly to minimize any potential gaps in your auto insurance coverage. If you’ve accidentally let your car insurance policy expire, here’s what to do:

Contact your insurance company immediately

The first step is to contact your insurance company when you realize your policy has expired. Some insurers may offer a grace period after the expiration date, during which you can renew your policy without any interruption in coverage. However, grace periods are not guaranteed and vary by insurer and policy type.

Inquire about reinstatement

If your policy has recently expired, your insurer might allow you to reinstate your policy without a lapse in coverage, possibly subject to certain conditions such as providing a statement that no incidents occurred during the period your policy was expired. Reinstatement might also involve paying any past-due premiums and possibly a reinstatement fee.

Prepare for possible restrictions or penalties

If a grace period is unavailable or you’re beyond it, your insurer may still allow you to renew your policy but with some added restrictions or increased premiums. Auto insurers view lapses in coverage as a risk factor, which can sometimes result in higher insurance rates. Additionally, you may be required to start a new policy rather than renew the old one, potentially with different terms.

Shop around for new insurance

If your original insurer does not allow you to renew or reinstate your policy, or if the new terms are not favourable, shopping around for new car insurance is a good idea. Other insurers may have different auto insurance policies regarding lapsed coverage and might offer you a policy that better suits your needs. If you decide to switch insurance companies, be prepared to explain the reason for your lapse in coverage and understand that even with a new company, you may still face higher premiums due to the lapse.

How does an expired insurance policy affect my insurance premium?

An expired insurance policy can significantly impact your auto insurance rates, often leading to increased rates when you decide to obtain new insurance coverage. The effects of an expired policy on your premiums are multifaceted, stemming from how insurance companies assess risk and determine pricing. Here’s an in-depth look at the potential consequences and why:

Perceived risk increase

Insurance companies view lapses in coverage as an indicator of increased risk. The rationale behind this is twofold: firstly, insurers may consider that a lapse in coverage reflects financial instability or a lack of responsibility, traits associated with higher claims rates. Secondly, there is no record of the driver being insured during the period without insurance, which means the insurer cannot gauge the risk level accurately. As a result, when you seek to obtain new insurance after a lapse, insurers might categorize you as a higher-risk customer, leading to higher premiums or limited options for insurance companies.

Legal and financial consequences

Driving without insurance is illegal in Canada, and getting caught without valid coverage will lead to fines, licencse suspensions, and other penalties. These incidents can negatively impact your insurance record, making you an even higher risk in the eyes of insurers. Furthermore, if you were involved in an accident without insurance, you would likely face significant out-of-pocket expenses for damages and injuries, which could further complicate your financial stability and affect your ability to secure favourable insurance rates.

Loss of discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts for continuous coverage, multi-policy, loyalty, or claim-free periods. When your policy expires and is not renewed promptly, you might lose eligibility for these discounts, resulting in higher base premiums when you seek new coverage or changing the prices on existing policies, such as an increase in a joint auto or home policy after cancellation. The continuous coverage discount is particularly significant, as it directly rewards the absence of any gaps in your insurance history.

Can I cancel my car insurance policy early?

Yes, you can cancel your car insurance policy early, before the end of the policy term. People cancel their car insurance policies early for various reasons, including finding a cheaper rate with another insurer, selling their vehicle, or moving to a location where the current coverage is no longer suitable.

Cancelling your car insurance policy early is your right as a policyholder, but it’s important to handle the process carefully to avoid potential complications. One of the critical considerations when cancelling a car insurance policy early is the potential for a lapse in coverage. Driving without valid car insurance is illegal in Canada and can expose you to severe financial and legal consequences if you are involved in an accident. Therefore, you must secure a new insurance policy that will either begin before or on the same day your existing policy ends. This ensures continuous coverage and avoids any legal issues related to uninsured driving.

How to cancel your insurance policy early

When considering cancelling a car insurance policy before its scheduled expiration date, it’s essential to navigate the process with a comprehensive understanding and careful planning. The process of cancelling a car insurance policy early is governed by your insurance contract’s terms and the regulations of the jurisdiction where the policy was issued. Typically, insurers require formal notification of cancellation from the policyholder, which can often be initiated through a written request or, in some cases, via digital channels provided by the insurer.

Here are the steps to follow when cancelling your policy prematurely:

Review your policy’s cancellation terms

Before initiating the cancellation, review your insurance policy to understand the terms regarding early cancellation. Your insurance policy document is the primary source of information regarding early cancellation. It outlines the necessary steps, any applicable notice period, and whether there are any fees or penalties for early cancellation. Understanding these terms is crucial to ensure that you are fully informed about any financial implications of your decision.

Contact your insurance provider or broker

Once you’ve decided to cancel your insurance policy, the next step is to contact your insurer directly. This engagement serves multiple purposes: it notifies the insurer of your intent, allows you to clarify any details about the cancellation process, and provides an opportunity to discuss any potential fees or refunds of premium payments.

Ideally, communication with your insurer should be documented to maintain a record of your interactions and the information provided. If you’ve purchased your insurance through a broker, they can contact your insurance company on your behalf and will inform you of any potential fees or refunds.

Pay any outstanding premiums

If there are any unpaid premiums at the time of cancellation, you must pay these outstanding amounts. Car insurance providers calculate premiums based on the risk they assume for a specified period. If you cancel your policy before this period ends, the insurer may adjust your final premium payment to reflect when your policy was active.

Cancellation fees and refunds

Some insurance providers may impose a cancellation fee for terminating a policy early. These fees can vary significantly between companies and may depend on how much of the policy term has elapsed. Additionally, you may be eligible for a refund of a portion of your paid premium, especially if you paid your premium upfront. The refund calculation typically considers the unused portion of your premium minus any administrative fees incurred by the insurer due to an early cancellation date.

Receive confirmation of cancellation

Obtaining written confirmation from your insurer that your policy has been cancelled is an essential step. This confirmation serves as proof that you have terminated your policy and can be crucial if there are any disputes or misunderstandings in the future regarding your insurance coverage during the now-cancelled policy period.

Avoid lapse in coverage consequences

Before cancelling your car insurance, ensure you have a new policy in place if you continue driving. Driving without insurance in Canada is illegal and can result in severe penalties, including fines, licence suspension, and increased future insurance premiums due to the gap in coverage. Also, if your vehicle is financed or leased, don’t forget to notify your lienholder or leasing company of the change in insurance, as they require proof of insurance as part of the financing agreement.


Understanding the end date of your insurance policy is crucial for maintaining continuous coverage and ensuring you’re protected against unforeseen events. This date marks the conclusion of your current insurance agreement. It signifies the need for action—whether that’s renewing your existing policy, exploring new options, or making adjustments to your coverage. By keeping track of this date, you safeguard against the risks of lapsing coverage and position yourself to manage your insurance needs proactively. Remember, being informed about your policy’s expiration allows you to make timely decisions, avoid potential legal and financial repercussions, and enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re fully covered on the road ahead.

Get an auto insurance quote [phone]


What is the expiration date of an insurance policy?

The expiration date is the same as the end date; it marks when your insurance policy ceases to provide coverage.

What is the policy end date?

The policy end date is when your insurance agreement concludes, after which coverage will no longer be in effect unless renewed.

Am I insured on the day my insurance expires?

Yes, you are insured up until 11:59 p.m. on the expiration day of your policy. This is the standard for all insurance policies.

Can you cancel your insurance on the day of renewal?

Yes, you can cancel your insurance on the day of renewal, but it’s advisable to notify your insurer in advance to avoid any charges for the new term.

What is the insured date?

The insured date typically refers to the effective date, which is when your insurance coverage begins.

What is an example of a coverage period?

An example of a coverage period would be January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024, indicating that your insurance policy provides coverage throughout that specific year.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.