Not renewing dental insurance

I have dental insurance, premiums paid quarterly; most recent payment covers Oct-Dec 2014.

If I want to end this coverage, must I notify the insurance company, or is it sufficient to simply not make the next payment, which would cover Jan-March 2015?

I’ve tried to ask the insurance co, but their phone service is poor–long waits, dropped calls, etc.

You could do either.

However, if you simply stop paying, they will cancel your policy for non-payment, and that will go on your permanent record.

Simply not paying is a bad idea. It can, for instance, affect your credit score. Just send them a note, and you’re fine.

How can not pre-paying for a service affect your credit score? Your assumption is wrong. Non-renewal of a service will not impact your credit score. It will result in the OP not having dental coverage…that’s about it.

This is correct. I’ve never heard of insurance coverage that is not paid in advance, there’s no credit involved.

There may be other negative impacts, though, depending on whether the policy periods are the same as the payment periods. It would be unusual to see a policy that is renewed on a quarterly basis.

Pretty much all insurance is pre-paid. You don’t pay, you don’t have coverage.

Right, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can just stop paying in the middle of a policy and call it a day.

Yes you can. The policy is cancelled for the period of non-payment. This works whether it is health insurance, car insurance or homeowners insurance.

There is no requirement to pay for insurance you no longer want.

An insurance policy is still a binding contract. If you don’t make a payment when it is due, then you’re a non-performing debtor, even though the insurance company will take it as grounds to suspend coverage rather than collect the overdue payment.

No you’re not. They haven’t performed any service for which you owe them. And if you don’t pay, then you have no coverage. This is not a credit issue.

If you no longer want insurance, then you can terminate the policy, giving as much notice as your contract requires you to give. Then you’re done; this is exactly what I recommended the OP to do. If you don’t terminate the policy, then the contract will continue to run, and not making a premium payment when it is due means you’re not performing a financial obligation.

So you’re saying an insurance policy is not a contract?

You do know this is GQ, right?

Your contract is for the term of the policy that is already paid.

I can call my broker and ask him to sign me up for dental insurance, auto insurance, life insurance and never pay a dime. I have no requirement to pay. The insurance provider also has no obligation to provide any type of coverage, until I pay a premium. That is when the contract is made.

And as far a the GQ forum comment, yes I’m giving factual answers on how insurance works, not some sort of suggestion on what might be a good idea.

This website suggests otherwise. And this one. And this question asked by someone on a message board.

That’s an insurance company, an answer page that disavows any accuracy in their answers, and another message board. Hardly a reason to believe your credit would be affected by non-payment of insurance. Every state has different insurance regulations but it sounds incredible that you can be obligated to an insurance company to continue an insurance policy. Anything can be written into a contract but that doesn’t make it enforceable.

They are not demanding that you sell them a moon rocket for a dollar. They are demanding (and as a matter of fact most insurers don’t) that you honor a contract that is written for a period certain, which is generally going to be a year. Such a provision is certainly enforceable.

In any event, is an insurance broker, not an insurer. It makes no difference at all to them if you pay or not.

No, you’re making things up. The contract is formed when you sign the policy. The insurance provider’s obligations frequently begin once an offer of coverage has been extended and accepted regardless of whether payment is made - though this differs between jurisdiction and policy types. In any case, the OP is not “calling a broker”. The OP is (apparently) in the middle of an existing policy. The fact that it is payable in installments do not mean that either party’s obligations are limited to the installment period. Your cellphone bill is also payable in installments, but that doesn’t mean you can stop paying and tell them to fuck off at the end of any given month.

ETA: It looks like people are still discussing the credit score issue. It is absolutely untrue that your credit score will be affected by insurance payments because insurance is not purchased on credit and payment histories are not reported by insurers.

I have purchased 7 homes, 12 cars, insuring each; obtained term life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, multiple times in my lifetime. I have never signed a policy. In each instance, I spoke with my broker, discussed deductibles, coverages, etc. They sent me a premium notice and I normally paid it. On the times when I changed my mind, I didn’t pay the premium and the policy never went into effect.

ETA: I have also audited hazard insurance companies, and been responsible for corporate hazard coverages in billion $ companies; I have also served in health benefit committees.

If you want to call me a liar, I would suggest that you take it to the pit.