Be it a third party motor insurance or a comprehensive insurance policy, the fact is that the importance of a motor insurance can not be underestimated. As a matter of fact any car that comes on to road must have an insurance (one can be penalised if found driving a car without insurance; in the harshest of case it is a criminal offence). Once the vehicle has been insured it is equally important to see to it that the regular premiums are paid on time. For example if a motor insurance policy gets passed due to non payment of premium and an accident takes place, the owner can not ask for any kind of damage claim or expenses from the company. The worst part, authorities can still penalise you for not having insurance, as a policy getting lapsed is considered as equal to having no insurance. Further if the policy is not renewed within 90 days from the date of expiry one can not claim the NCB benefits either.
Given the importance of a motor insurance it makes sense to renew the insurance even after it has lapsed. The previous insurer (though under no obligation) may agree to reinstate the policy (upon payment of the due amount) if the lapse has been only for a few days (on and above the grace period). Insurers too understand that a lapse can occur due to a number of reasons are hence are willing to work with existing customers who want to get back on track by providing coverage .
If it has been quiet some time that your policy has lapsed and you are still to renew it then contact the insurance company and ask them about the procedure for getting the coverage after the lapse , know whether they are willing to renew the former policy or is it necessary that you must reapply for coverage. You can reapply with the same insurer or you can choose to hunt for a new one. In either case do inquire about the possible payment options. To get the coverage at the earliest make the premium payment (along with penalty if any) right away either by paying through credit cards, online money transfer or any other mode that you deem to be mutually convenient. The insurer on their part will inform the DMV ( department of motor vehicles ) about the lapse, the DMV will ask you to respond to the report about lapse. If you fail to provide the proof of insurance within the stipulated time you will have to surrender the plates.