Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. Benji is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Written by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

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Reviewed by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2021

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To Sum It Up

  • The “Patriot Penalty” is an upcharge of auto insurance rates after a soldier returns from deployment
  • Veterans have reported that they paid at least $155 more for auto insurance
  • GEICO military discounts have been negated due to the “patriot penalty”
  • Avoiding a lapse in coverage may prevent the “patriot penalty”

When your auto insurance policy lapses while you’re deployed, you’ll face something called a “patriot penalty” – which is an upcharge in auto insurance rates after your policy lapses.

But how can veteran avoid policy lapses while deployed? Read through this guide to learn how to avoid a lapse in auto insurance coverage while deployed and where you can find affordable auto insurance for military veterans.

If you want to skip over how to avoid a lapse in auto insurance coverage while deployed and find another company, enter your ZIP code in the free comparison tool above to compare the best companies near you.

How do you avoid a lapse in auto insurance coverage while deployed?

If you’re about to deploy for military service, paying for your car insurance policy may become complicated. Soldiers with families may have to leave the bill to family members.

But what if that’s not an option? Here are three ways you can manage your auto insurance coverage before you’re deployed.

Set Up Automatic Payments to Keep Auto Insurance Coverage From Lapsing While Deployed

If you need auto insurance coverage, you can keep your policy going through automatic payments from your bank account.

Some car insurance providers provide a two to five percent discount when you set up an electronic fund transfer (EFT).

Cancel Your Auto Insurance Policy Before You’re Deployed

An auto insurance policy close to the renewal date may not be worth setting up automatic payments.

This allows you to shop around for affordable car insurance for military families. However, you’ll need to cancel your current policy.

To cancel your auto insurance policy, call your agent or customer service and let them know you want to cancel.

Picking a specific date gives you time to find another policy. Also, you may be able to avoid a cancellation fee.

Suspend Your Auto Insurance Coverage so it Won’t Lapse While You’re Deployed

If you want to keep your coverage but cannot make payments, you can suspend the policy. Car insurance for active-duty military members is cheaper, but some circumstances require them to cut certain expenses.

Consider suspending your auto insurance if you’re deploying overseas. Some families move with deployed veterans, so it would make sense to suspend or cancel car insurance for veterans.

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What’s the cost of auto insurance after the “Patriot Penalty?”

USAA has the cheapest military auto insurance, but the “patriot penalty” could raise your monthly rates. The best way to find the best military car insurance is to compare the best companies.

Let’s look at the price of auto insurance by comparing the best companies and how they could respond to the “patriot penalty.”

  • USAA – $211/mo
  • GEICO – $268/mo
  • State Farm – $427/mo
  • American Family – $442/mo
  • Nationwide – $443/mo
  • Progressive – $336/mo
  • Farmers – $505/mo
  • Travelers – $525/mo
  • Allstate – $407/mo
  • Liberty Mutual – $506/mo

The “patriot penalty” adds at least $155 to an auto insurance premium. Despite the increase, USAA remains the cheapest auto insurance company in the United States.

However, veterans in Louisiana won’t have to worry about the “patriot penalty.”

According to the Office of the Governor (Louisiana), Governor Edwards signed a bill that outlaws auto insurance companies from increasing premiums after a veteran has been deployed.

For more information about USAA, read our USAA car insurance review.

What companies provide discounts for deployed veterans?

There are a few companies that provide discounts to military veterans that park their vehicles while deployed. Here’s a list of the top companies that provide veteran deployment discounts.

  • Allstate
  • Esurance
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Progressive
  • USAA

You probably noticed how these companies didn’t see an increase from the “patriot penalty.” That’s because you’re likely to save money with these companies when you’re deployed.

Avoiding a Lapse in Auto Insurance Coverage While Deployed: What’s the bottom line?

Unfortunately, the “patriot penalty” is very common among auto insurance companies. As more people become aware of this, government officials are taking a stand against insurance providers.

However, it may take a while for these responses to take effect. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to cancel a policy that’s too expensive and go with a cheaper company.

Now that you know more about how to avoid a lapse in auto insurance coverage while deployed, use our free online quote tool to compare multiple companies in your local area and get cheaper coverage.