When choosing an insurance plan, it pays to cross your t’s and dot your i’s before making a selection. And let’s face it — insurance usually involves a lot of fine print. You want a plan that protects your business and provides coverage when you need it. One of the most critical things to understand when purchasing insurance is the “policy period” definition, which is the timeframe during which your insurance policy is in effect.

Here’s a scenario that explains why it’s crucial to know your policy period: Let’s say you’re a DJ, and a guest at a party you’re working at accidentally spilled their martini on one of your new high-end speakers. The business equipment protection you purchased is still in force, right? Well, it depends. If your policy period ended a week before the incident occurred, then your new speakers are likely not insured.

This scenario shows how important it is for you to understand your policy period.

What is the definition of a policy period in insurance?

In insurance, a policy period is a timeframe during which the insurance plan you purchased is active and valid. In other words, if your policy period starts on January 1, the effective date, and ends December 31, the expiration date, you won’t be insured as of January 1 of the following year unless you renew your policy or purchase a new one.

Now, how long is a policy period in insurance? Depending on the type of coverage you are purchasing, not all policy periods are standard, so it’s not like insurance plans are only valid from January 1 to December 31, and that’s it. This is one of the great parts about buying insurance with Thimble — you can choose your policy period down to the hour as well as more standard plans, like monthly or annual policies.

Based on the plan you choose, your policy period is confirmed after you make your purchase. With Thimble, all you have to do is request a quote by answering a few questions in the Thimble app, and you can purchase your coverage in less than one minute. Yep, it’s that easy. Pretty cool, right?

How do you find your insurance policy period?

If your palms started sweating once you realized you didn’t know your policy period, don’t worry. It’s super easy to check. Your policy declarations page (or the first page of your policy) will have it displayed prominently. It will also be clearly indicated on your confirmation screen once you make a purchase from Thimble, and your Thimble home screen when you log in to your account.

Your insurance policy period will be listed as a date range, showing both the effective date and the expiration date. The time between those two dates, inclusive, represents your policy period.

Is the insurance issue date different from the policy period?

Sometimes, yes, the insurance issue date differs from the policy period. This is where the policy period insurance definition can be easily confused with other terms. The insurance issue date is the date you have been approved by the insurance company for a specific policy, and the policy document has been prepared and is issued to you. Unless you’ve specified during the purchase process that the plan is to go into effect immediately, you will not be covered by the insurance policy until the policy period begins, otherwise known as the effective date.

Here’s a way to see the difference. You set out to purchase Thimble’s Dog Walker Insurance for a six-month period. You’ve been given the green light; that’s your insurance issue date. But your policy period marks when your insurance policy actually takes effect. Let’s say your new plan starts on the first day of the next month. In this case, your insurance issue date is not part of the policy period.

If, however, when you purchase insurance you specify that you want it to go into effect immediately, then your issue date coincides with your policy period.

Take control of your insurance plan

Buying insurance can sometimes be confusing, with unfamiliar terms and legal language that can easily be confused for one another. Get to know the nitty-gritty details of your plan, so you know when you’re covered and when you need to renew your plan or purchase a new one.

The policy period insurance definition — the date window that determines when you’re actively insured by your chosen insurance plan — is a key detail that you’ll want to keep top of mind for full peace of mind which, ultimately, is one of the great things about insurance, right? Click “Get a Quote” today to find your zen.

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.