Skip to main content

Is it legal that an insurance company renews your policy automatically after its expiration without authorization?

Mountain View, CA |

My previous car insurance company renewed my policy automatically without my authorization. It was expired on 8/16. They gave a cancellation date, 9/9, if they don't get paid. Since I didn't want to stick with them, I ignored. However, when that date passed I got a bill for the period 8/16 - 9/9. Can they do that? I bought a policy from another company on 8/29. The previous company asks me to provide the new policy document to them for fee adjustment. I don't know if they even have the right to see other companies' documents. Regardless the part I had a gap between 8/16 and 8/29 and I should pay the previous company for that, were they really legal to renew somebody's policy by default and charge the fees? Please help me. I think it may happen to many people so I want to bring it u

Thank you very much for your answers. Based on your opinions, I paid the previous company for the coverage period from 08/16 - 08/29. Now I know it's legal for an auto insurance company to renew your policy unless you provide the proof of the new policy.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


Some policies are renewed automatically if they're not affirmatively cancelled by the policyholder. I'm pretty sure you'd be complaining about the opposite result if they didn't renew your policy and you had no coverage and got into an accident and needed the coverage.

Review your policy to see what it says about renewing it and cancelling it. This policy is the contract between you and the carrier and that policy governs the parties' respective rights and remedies.

Of course you need to prove you had another policy in effect to get the fee adjustment - do you expect them to take your word for it?

Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


You had insurance through the prior company through 9/9 according to their notice to you. Therefore it is not unreasonable for them to be paid for that coverage period. If you did not want that coverage after receiving notice, you should have let them know.

The practice of auto renewal is not unlawful. In this case it was not as much auto renewal as extension of an additional period of coverage to allow you to be covered after non-payment. That will not be considered unlawful.

I wish you the best of luck.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


Contracts can lawfully have an "evergreen clause" -- something to the effect that the contract has a term of one year but it will renew automatically unless a party notifies the other in writing of cancellation by a certain date before expiration. Often used in situation where a lapse could have a serious downside if no one is paying close attention. Read your contract of insurance carefully. I wouldn't be surprised.

This answer is made available by the above lawyer for educational purposes only. It is also offered as a public service to give you general information and a general understanding of the law. This answer is not intended to give you specific legal advice. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. And, no attorney-client relationship has been formed. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance. Only when a complete interview takes place is it reasonable to rely on legal advice.