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Does not paying your auto insurance affect credit? (Missed Payments + Rates)

Here's what you need to know...

  • There are plenty of good reasons to pay your car insurance premiums on time, but it is unlikely to have a direct impact on your credit score
  • Your credit history can come into play as a factor that auto insurance companies evaluate when determining the price of your premium
  • If you fail to pay your auto insurance premiums on time, the auto insurance company could cancel your policy before the end of your policy term, which could make it more difficult for you to find insurance later
  • If you have a history of consistently paying your premiums, this could earn you a discount or lower premium over time from your auto insurance company

Paying a bill late is never ideal. When you set your budget, the goal is to submit all of your payments on time so that you can build your credit and avoid late payment fees.

Sometimes, though, those payments get missed. What happens if you stop paying your car insurance? Does not paying your auto insurance affect credit?

You’re more likely to get a better rate on your auto insurance premium if you have a good credit score. There are lots of good reasons to establish a history of paying your car insurance on time, but it probably won’t have a direct impact on your credit score.

Not paying your auto insurance premium, while not advised, does not affect your credit score. Alternatively, your auto insurance rates could increase by 25% or more for non-payment.

To get cheap quotes regardless of your credit history, enter your ZIP code above to compare rates from the best auto insurance companies at once!

Table of Contents

Does paying your car insurance build credit?

Paying an auto insurance bill late is never ideal. When you set your budget, the goal is to submit all of your payments on time so that you can build your credit and avoid late payment fees.

Unfortunately, you can’t control everything in life. An emergency can lead to lost income and unexpected expenses that can affect your ability to cover your bills for months to come.

When you’re trying to juggle your bills on a limited income, you have to prioritize the invoices. Your cable and home phone aren’t quite as important as your electricity and your car note. You should always try and pay the bills that are reported to your credit first.

When you come across your insurance invoice, you might wonder if paying late will drive your credit score down.

  • Auto insurance is a financial product that you purchase to indemnify yourself if you have a loss. When you enter into an auto insurance contract, you’re agreeing to pay your premiums in exchange for coverage
  • Insurance is much different than a loan. To qualify for a loan, you need to show you’re financially responsible. This is why the payments that you make to your insurer aren’t reported to credit bureaus, but the payments that you make to your creditor are
  • Since auto insurance payments aren’t reported to the credit bureaus, making a late payment to your insurer won’t affect your credit score or your credit history
  • It’s never wise to pay premiums late. Some companies don’t offer any type of grace period. If there’s not a grace period, your coverage will cancel as soon as your payment is considered late
  • Late payments don’t go on your credit file but terminations for non-payment can go on your insurance history report. Most insurers prefer to do business with drivers who have maintained consistent coverage. If you have lapses, it could affect your premiums in the future

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Is your insurance payment history reported to the credit bureaus?

Unfortunately, you can’t control everything in life. An emergency can lead to lost income and unexpected expenses that can affect your ability to cover your bills for months to come. But does an unpaid car insurance bill go on your credit report?

When you come across your insurance invoice, you might wonder if paying late will drive your credit score down. Some of the monthly payments that you make to service providers do not appear on your credit.

It’s essential to differentiate what bills affect credit and which ones don’t. What bills affect your credit score? Does not paying the cable bill affect your credit? Does paying the phone bill increase credit? And does paying bills build credit?

While many consumers think that utility bills, rent, cable, and phone bills are regularly reported, they aren’t.

Insurance premium payments fall into the category of everyday bills that don’t help you build a good credit score. Auto insurance payments don’t affect your credit score, but you should still pay all of your utilities and auto insurance premiums on time.  Auto insurance companies do reference whether you’ve made timely payments in the past. Choosing to pay late or paying for reinstatement for auto insurance may hurt your credit.

Here’s a video explaining how insurance companies see credit history.

How will paying your insurance late impact your policy?

You’re not in the clear just because the missed payment isn’t reported on your credit. Your credit may be salvaged, but that doesn’t mean that the insurer will approve of your decision to postpone your payment for a few days or weeks.

If the insurer doesn’t allow late payments, your coverage could be terminated as soon as 1 minute past the due date.

Insurance companies aren’t always required to give you a grace period. If the state doesn’t require companies to give their clients a grace period or advance notice of a cancellation in writing, then you could see your car insurance canceled for non-payment immediately.

The last thing that you want to do is lose your insurance because you were 1 or 2 days late.

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Do late payments & payment extensions hurt your credit?

The last thing that you want to do is lose your insurance because you were one or two days late. If you think you’ll be late on an auto insurance premium, ask the auto insurance provider for a payment extension.

A payment extension moves a payment to a later date to help policyholders during a temporary time of financial hardship. Don’t make payment extensions a habit, especially during auto insurance renewal.

According to Experian, a payment extension or deferred payment doesn’t hurt or help a person’s credit, it does appear on your credit record. However, it would only apply financial items such as loans.

What happens if I pay my car insurance late?  Auto insurance providers don’t report late payments or payment extensions for auto insurance premiums. Therefore, payment extensions and even late payments won’t hurt your credit. That doesn’t mean late payments won’t cause other problems.

What about late payments on other bills? How much does one late payment affect credit score? If it’s reported to the credit bureau, even one late payment can cause a drop in your credit score.

If you pay your auto insurance bill late, will you be charged a late fee?

If the company is nice enough to offer you a few more days or a few more weeks to pay, you can’t forget that missing your payment will cost you. Not only do you have to catch up your auto insurance premiums, you’ll also likely be charged a late fee on your next month’s invoice, which is still due on its normal due date.

The actual fee for being late depends on the carrier that you’re with. With most companies, the fee is fixed and will range between $15 and $50.

Here’s a video on how you can communicate with your auto insurance provider to maintain your credit and dispute late payments.

The actual fee for being late depends on the carrier. A late car insurance payment with Progressive may be different from missing a payment with State Farm. With most companies, the cost is fixed and will range between $15 and $50.

Some companies will charge a late fee based on the number of days that you’re late. This type of fee can add up quickly and make maintaining your coverage with the same carrier difficult.

What happens if my car insurance is canceled due to nonpayment?

So what if my car insurance payment is late? What happens if you owe car insurance or if your car insurance is canceled due to non-payment?

If you don’t get a grace period or you let the extra time pass, your insurer will set up a cancellation for nonpayment. Nonpayment is one of the few reasons that your company can terminate your coverage when you are still within your policy period

A termination will lead to at least a small lapse in your insurance coverage.

If you have a lapse in coverage, it can affect your registration status and even your driving privilege.

When someone is caught driving without insurance, they can face misdemeanor charges. Multiple offenses can lead to a loss of your license. In most states, your vehicle registration is suspended once the DMV finds out your coverage lapsed.

Can paying car insurance late affect your rates?

If you miss your payment by just a few days, most companies will reinstate your coverage. You only need to make a payment, and the coverage will be activated. Your premiums won’t change, and you won’t have to apply for a new term, which is the easiest option.

When you no longer qualify for coverage, or you’ve let your policy lapse for too long, you’ll have to search for insurance elsewhere.

When you apply, the insurer may check your CLUE report. If the lapse is reported, some insurers will charge you a high-risk premium for failing to keep your coverage active.

How does credit affect your auto insurance?

Did you know that you can save money on auto insurance rates if your credit is excellent or good? Watch this video on how credit scores impact auto insurance rates.

Credit can impact your insurance rates in most states. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), insurers will look at proprietary credit-based insurance scores to determine if a household will file a claim. Those with a lot of debt or a lot of payment defaults will pay a higher premium than people with a better credit history. Not all companies use credit as a rating factor.

Not paying your car insurance can get you in big trouble with law enforcement and the DMV. Make sure you do your best to keep your coverage from lapsing.

If your policy has already lapsed, start shopping around for coverage right away.

Does getting car insurance quotes affect credit score? Not at all. Find a low-cost option by comparing car insurance rates online for free, and then apply for the best product so that you have protection.

Auto Insurance Rates Based on Credit Score

During the quote process, the auto insurance company will determine how much you’ll pay for auto insurance for the next year or the next few months. Your credit score can determine if you’re a high or low risk of a claim. The risk will determine how much you will pay for auto insurance.

Why do auto insurance companies need to know your credit history? Credit experts and insurance agents agree that credit history is a correlation to the risk of the policyholder. In other words, auto insurance companies will assess whether you’re a liability to insure or not. They use credit score statistics to justify this process.

Average Credit Score by State

How are credit scores judged? The most common credit rating system is FICO.

A FICO Score is a three-digit number based on the information in your credit reports.

Rather than a composite credit score, FICO is different from credit scores from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. FICO is used mainly by lenders, but it doesn’t mean an auto insurance company won’t look at the scores. Expect an auto insurance provider to consider all avenues of credit reporting.

Most credit reporting and FICO reporting measures their score from a 300- to 850-point scale. It depends on the scoring system. Lower numbers indicate bad credit, while higher numbers indicate good credit. Here is the scoring range that identifies which numbers are good and bad credit.

Credit Score Ratings
Credit RatingCredit Score
Excellent / Very Good700 to 850
Good680 to 699
Average / OK620 to 679
Low580 to 619
Poor credit score500 to 579
Bad credit score300 to 499
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Auto insurance companies can determine whether you’re a high risk to insure. According to Privacy Guard, the average person in the U.S. has a credit score of 682.

Now that we mention credit score, why not take a look at the FICO score by each state in the U.S. Here are the scores:

Average FICO Scores by State
State2019 FICO Scores2018 FICO Scores
District Of Columbia703700
New Hampshire724722
New Jersey714713
New Mexico686685
New York712710
North Carolina694693
North Dakota727726
Rhode Island713710
South Carolina681680
South Dakota727727
West Virginia687686
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Mississippi had the lowest average FICO score, while Minnesota had the highest average FICO score. That doesn’t mean every person in those states has that particular FICO score, and it just indicates that most people fall within that range.

But how does credit score or FICO score affect auto insurance? Let’s move onto the next sub-section to get an idea of how it affects annual rates.

How Credit History Affects Average Annual Car Insurance Rates

Credit history is a factor for auto insurance. When you get a quote, credit history is one of the inquiries during the process.

The data table below will show the average annual rates based on credit history.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Credit History
Credit HistoryAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates
Good Credit Score$3,166/year
Fair Credit Score$3,687/year
Poor Credit Score$5,151/year
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Individuals with good credit pay the least for auto insurance. Policyholders with fair and poor credit, however, pay much more for auto insurance.

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The Importance of Having Good Credit

When your auto insurance company gives you a quote on a rate they are also evaluating the particular risk that you pose as a driver to insure.

Every auto insurance company has a different way of calculating that risk, which is why it is smart to get quotes from multiple auto insurance companies when you are shopping around for auto insurance.

You may do much better with one company versus another for your auto insurance rate simply because a certain factor is weighted differently in their risk evaluation of you as a driver.

One of the major factors that auto insurance companies consider when quoting you for a rate is your credit score. There is a strong correlation between being a financially responsible consumer and being a safer driver.

Chances are that if you have a good credit score, then you will be less likely to get into an accident and file a claim through your auto insurance policy. This makes you cheaper to insurance and explains why an auto insurance company would quote you at a lower rate than another driver with a lower credit score.

One thing that determines your credit score is whether you pay your bills on time over several years. While it may seem logical that your auto insurance premium is one of those bills that would get reported on your credit score, this is typically not the case.

The reason for this is that an auto insurance company can simply choose not to cover you or refuse to renew your policy if you do not pay your premiums on time.

Remember that your credit score is not really based on the amount of money that you make. Rather, it is meant to evaluate your ability to manage your finances responsibly, which involves paying your bills on time.

When you do not pay your required auto insurance premium, you will likely have your policy canceled by your auto insurance rather than having a report filed against you with any credit reporting agencies.

This is why the answer is that paying your auto insurance premium is not going to have a direct impact on your credit score.

If your auto insurance policy is canceled due to your failure to pay your premium, this information will show up in your insurance report and could be handed over to your state department of insurance. This is because many states require that auto insurance provide official notice when a registered driver changes auto insurance companies or stops carrying an auto insurance policy.

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You will need to act quickly to find alternate auto insurance coverage if your company cancels you for failure to timely pay your auto insurance premiums.

However, maintaining the required auto insurance liability policy under your state laws is an important requirement to meet to be able to drive in your state.

If you are pulled over by a police officer or are involved in an accident and cannot produce current and valid proof of auto insurance, then you will likely be hit with major fines and various penalties, depending on the laws of your state.

If you do not pay the required fines and the government takes action against you, this could eventually have a negative impact on your credit score. The consequences of failing to maintain your auto insurance coverage and pay for it as required can be very costly and time-consuming to bounce back from.

Auto Insurance Discounts for Good Credit

Since paying your auto insurance premium is necessary for being able to maintain the required auto insurance in your state, it makes sense to try to pay as little as possible for sufficient auto insurance coverage for you.

If you are hoping to get the lowest premium possible on your auto insurance, you should ask your auto insurance directly about discounts that may be available to you.

In addition to trying to get as deep of a discount as possible, consider installing anti-theft devices on your car or signing up for driver safety courses if your auto insurance company tells you that those things could make a difference in reducing your premium.

Every auto insurance company offers discounts differently, so it is always best to check with your specific auto insurance company to see what kind of discounts you can get on your auto insurance.

Policyholders are eligible for several discounts. Some providers will give an auto insurance discount based on good credit history. Individuals with good credit are less likely involved in automobile accidents, have little to no claims, and can make timely payments to premiums.

How do auto insurance rates affect annual income?

One of the biggest questions regarding auto insurance: How will auto insurance rates affect my income? Ultimately, consumers want to pursue cost-efficient methods as much as possible. Most of our guides give readers an outlook into how much they can save for auto insurance.

Therefore, we want to continue that with this article by showing everyone who visits this guide on how credit history affects annual income. We gathered some information from Zip Recruiter and summarized the average annual income by each state in the U.S.

In addition to annual salary, we included the average annual rate for auto insurance of each state.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates as a Percent of Income by State
StatesAverage Annual RatesAverage Annual IncomeInsurance as a Percentage of Income
West Virginia$2,595$63,3434.10%
New Hampshire$3,152$63,3094.98%
North Carolina$3,393$65,7665.16%
New Mexico$3,464$72,7714.76%
South Carolina$3,781$62,6326.04%
South Dakota$3,982$63,4486.28%
North Dakota$4,166$66,3146.28%
New York$4,290$66,3146.47%
Rhode Island$5,003$65,5127.64%
New Jersey$5,515$58,6279.41%
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How do you find auto insurance as a percent of income? Simply divide the average annual rate of auto insurance into the annual income. It will look something like this:

  • Average annual rate – $3,200
  • Annual income – $38,000

Divide 3,200 / 38,000. The solution will be 0.0842

  • Auto insurance as a percent of income – 8.42 percent

If your credit history is fair or good, you may be eligible for lower auto insurance rates in addition to other discounts. The lower rates will decrease auto insurance as a percent of income.

Try it with your annual income and your current rate for auto insurance.

Estimated Six-Month Car Insurance Policy Rates

What if auto insurance policies only go for six months? Good question! If you divide our average annual rate data by two, you will see the auto insurance rates for a six-month policy. Here is a summary of each state.

Average Six-Month Auto Insurance Rates by State
StatesAverage Six-Month Rates
West Virginia$433
New Hampshire$525
North Carolina$566
New Mexico$577
South Carolina$630
South Dakota$664
North Dakota$694
New York$715
District of Columbia$740
Rhode Island$834
New Jersey$919
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Michigan is the most expensive state for auto insurance, even though the average annual rates decrease by half. If you extend your policy beyond six months, you may receive a loyalty discount, which will further decrease the auto insurance rate of your policy.

Estimated Monthly Car Insurance Policy Rates

You can take it a step further and estimate monthly rates by dividing the average annual rate for each state by 12. The monthly rate is the premium you’ll pay per month. Let’s review the summary of estimated monthly rates.

Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates by State
StateAverage Monthly Rates
West Virginia$216
New Hampshire$263
North Carolina$283
New Mexico$289
South Carolina$315
South Dakota$332
North Dakota$347
New York$357
District of Columbia$370
Rhode Island$417
New Jersey$460
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These monthly auto insurance rates are general rates that differ from auto insurance quotes from each company. Why? Auto insurance quotes generate rates based on personal information about potential customers. Anonymous quotes or general rates are just a road map to how much you can spend for auto insurance.

The average annual rates in the data are an insight into how much you’ll pay based on location. Enter your zip code into the FREE tool below to find the best car insurance rates for your budget today.

Pay Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Having a good credit score is one of the ways that you can expect to pay less for your auto insurance premium because it shows that you are likely more responsible and a lower risk driver. If you receive judgments against you and are not able to take care of your financial responsibilities, your credit score will take a major hit.

The bigger impact on your credit score would be if you chose to not pay your auto insurance premiums and then were caught driving without insurance.

Could credit checks for auto insurance become illegal?

Advocates for consumers are seeking to outlaw auto insurance companies from using credit history to issue higher rates. Insurance Business Magazine reported U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) introduced a bill that will prevent companies like insurance providers from charging higher rates for poor credit.

This video shows a news report on this bill and Tlaib’s view on credit history and auto insurance.

The bill was introduced in 2019 and has not made any significant strides just yet, but it could resurface in the years to come.

Not paying your car insurance can get you in big trouble with law enforcement and the DMV. Make sure you do your best to keep your coverage from lapsing.

If your policy has already lapsed, start shopping around for coverage right away.

Find a low-cost option by comparing online quotes instantly, and then apply for the best product so that you have protection, regardless of your credit history. Compare auto insurance rates from multiple companies at once for FREE!

Frequently Asked Questions: Will paying for car insurance build credit?

For the final section of the guide, we will go over some questions that you may have about auto insurance. Some of these questions may not relate directly to credit. If you have any questions about our guides, navigate our website, or simply write a comment below to voice any concerns about auto insurance.

#1 – Does paying your car insurance build credit?

The answer is no. Credit bureaus look at any new accounts, loans, and other aspects where you may have a payment history. Unfortunately, making auto insurance payments – or any insurance payments – is not a method you can use to build your credit score. If you’re wondering how to build credit, the best way is to make all of your payments on time, especially on loans and credit cards.

#2 – What if my credit history improves during my policy?

If you had poor credit during the time you enrolled in an auto insurance policy and your credit has recently improved, contact your auto insurance provider as soon as possible to lower your auto insurance rates.

#3 – What is an insurance credit history?

Insurance credit history shows the history of your business with auto insurance providers. This includes claims, payment history, and your previous insurance provider.

#4 – Can high-risk drivers have good credit?

How do you know if you need a high-risk auto insurance company? Some consumers in the U.S. are considered as high-risk despite their driving record. Doctors are some of the U.S. workforce employees that have exceptional credit but higher auto insurance rates because of their profession.

#5 – Will I receive a discount if I don’t have credit?

A few consumers don’t have a credit history at all. Auto insurance companies may be hesitant to offer them a policy. In case they do, they will have other discounts available for their potential customer.

#6 – Do I need full coverage when I lease a car?

It’s strongly recommended to enroll in full coverage auto insurance when you’re leasing a car. Full coverage is the combined coverage liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. Some experts only include collision and comprehensive coverage as a full coverage, but these two coverages are commonly paired with liability.

In addition to the three basic coverages, additional liabilities such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are bundled into the policy. Additional liabilities required by law are allocated to liability.

Other coverages, such as rental reimbursement and roadside assistance, are attached to full coverage.

Full coverage guarantees that the total cost of the car will be covered in case the vehicle is a total loss before the driver has a chance to pay the total balance of the vehicle. As a safety net to ensure the leased vehicle is paid for, lenders will insure the vehicle under force-placed insurance.

#7 – Does getting car insurance quotes affect credit score?

No. Car insurance company credit checks are what are known as soft credit checks. They don’t impact your score.

#8 – Does paying car insurance monthly affect my credit score?

No. As long as you are making the agreed-upon payments on time, it doesn’t matter whether you pay annually or monthly.

#9 – Can I receive a refund after my auto insurance is canceled?

If your auto insurance is canceled for nonpayment, you will not receive a refund. However, if you have prepaid for your auto insurance and want to cancel, you may be entitled to a refund.

#10 – Will not paying your health insurance hurt your credit?

Like auto insurance, paying health insurance premiums does not build your credit. Auto insurance and health insurance don’t lend money but have subscriptions to their services. Unfortunately, these subscriptions don’t affect your overall credit score.


  1. http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-harney-20140810-story.html
  2. http://blog.credit.com/2014/10/most-renters-dont-know-how-their-bills-affect-credit-scores-99742/
  3. https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/lexis-hub/b/commentary/archive/2009/07/26/premium-payment-for-cancelled-insurance-policy-does-not-create-reinstatement-for-time-period-prior-to-receipt-of-the-payment.aspx
  4. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/do-deferred-payments-affect-credit/
  5. http://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_credit_based_insurance_scores.htm
  6. https://www.privacyguard.com/bad-credit-score-explained.html
  7. https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/new-bill-plans-to-outlaw-use-of-credit-scores-for-auto-premiums-162556.aspx

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