While the concept of "policies in force" is applicable to all types of insurance -- including health, auto and disability -- it is most commonly used in regard to life insurance. From the perspective of a person who takes out an insurance policy, "in force" simply means the policy is active at a given point in time. If payments are missed, the policy will enter into a grace period -- typically 30 days -- during which it will remain active. If the required payments are made before the grace period expires, the policy will remain in force as it was originally written.
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Lapsed Policies Are No Longer "In Force"
If the required payments are not made before the grace period expires, the policy will lapse. Should you decide you still want the coverage, you will need to apply for reinstatement. At this point, most companies will require that you submit a new application. For life insurance, you will have to fill out a new health questionnaire and, depending on your specific situation, get a new physical exam. If you are approved for reinstatement, your payments will likely be higher than they had been. You also will be required to pay the premiums that were due from the end of the grace period to when your policy is reinstated. For this reason, many people choose to apply for an entirely new policy with another insurer.