What Is It?
Your personal auto policy (PAP) is in effect only during a specific amount of time called the policy period. The policy period, which is listed on the Declarations Page of your PAP, has a specific effective date and expiration date (e.g., July 1 of Year 1 to June 30 of Year 2). When you purchase a PAP, only those accidents that occur within the stated policy period are covered.
Caution: It's important to know exactly when your PAP expires to avoid having coverage denied by your insurer.
The Effective Date
The date your PAP goes into effect is called the effective date. This is a very specific point in time that can be crucial in determining whether you are covered under your PAP. It's expressed as a specific date and time (e.g., December 15 of Year 1 at 12:01 A.M.).
The Expiration Date
The expiration date is the specific date and time when the auto policy expires. The expiration date is equally as important as the effective date for determining whether you are covered under your PAP.
Example(s): Hal has a PAP that has an expiration date of December 1 of Year 1 at 11:59 P.M. If he has not renewed his policy, and has an accident on December 2 of Year 1 at 12:01 A.M., Hal is not covered under the policy. Prior to the expiration date of the PAP, your insurance company will send the policy renewal form (or notice of nonrenewal) automatically.
How Long Can It Be?
Your policy period can be any amount of time. The typical policy period is one year. Six-month and two-year policies are also common. Regardless of the policy period, you can cancel your policy (or be canceled by the insurer subject to state statutory limitations) anytime.
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