Insurance advice needed for friend

I don’t think this belongs in IMHO, because I am looking for actual answers, not advice or opinions.

I got IMed this morning by a friend who lives in Virginia.

She mailed her auto insurance premium late. Only a day, but late nonetheless. It was due the 15th. She gets paid the 15th, so she called them and asked if she could send them a check on the 16th. She was told no problem. Apparently, this is a regular thing for her; she’s done it before, and she’s never had a problem.

But yesterday, she was involved in a collision. She admits it was her fault, fortunately no one was injured, and there’s more damage to her own vehicle than the other one. She inquired at her bank, and found the check for the premium hadn’t cleared yet, and when she talked to her insurance company, the man said her information said the account was suspended, or some such.

I believe most companies allow a grace period before cancelling, do they not? Four days would fall within such a grace period, no? If the correspondence is postmarked the 16th, won’t that show her good faith intention, even though the check hasn’t cleared? And if the insurance company hadn’t sent a notice of cancellation, she should still be covered, shouldn’t she?

I told her I’d look into it, and everyone knows you guys are the brightest and the best.

Little help here?

Thanks, on behalf of my friend.

I am fairly sure that a car insurance co. can’t cancel you for being late for your original payment due date. That is, if her payment was due the 15th and they didn’t receive a check by the 15th, the insurance co. sends out a letter saying that due to non-payment of premium, the policy will be canceled on X (which is usually a couple of weeks, at least, later). Then you have until X to make the payments needed to bring the account current. If you friend missed the payment on the 15th, I don’t think she has anything to worry about. If she missed “X” then I think she’s SOL.

Did she ask the insurance co. person what her account being suspended means, exactly?

As far as the postmark indicating a good-faith intention, I don’t think she’s got a leg to stand on. If it were postmarked BEFORE the 15th, maybe, although I doubt it, just knowing how insurance companies work. A postmark after the 15th doesn’t really indicate good faith at all: it indicates a late payment.

10 years ago I had a shiny red sports car that I took out of storage and brought to Boston. I called the insurance co., got the app for theft insurance, told the agent I was getting it, filled everything out, and mailed the check. Three days later my car was stolen. The fact that my check was postmarked well before the theft meant absolutely nothing. The insurance co. hadn’t received it yet (I sent it certified, so I knew for a fact they weren’t lying about it). They happily returned it to me once they did receive it and said good luck with your problem.

I hope this works out for your friend though.