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How do I cancel my car insurance policy?

We explain what happens when you cancel your car insurance policy and what costs you may have to pay.

Car insurance is a big commitment, most insurers need you to commit to a minimum of a year. However, there may be times when you need to cancel your car insurance or move your car insurance policy.

There may be costs involved but the important thing to remember is that you can cancel your car insurance.

Cancelling your car insurance – what you need to know

Here is everything you need to know about cancelling your car insurance, car insurance cancellation charges, and the all-important 14-day cooling off period.

Why you may need to cancel your car insurance

Buying car insurance is not just a huge expense, but a big commitment, lasting 12 months, or longer if you have decided to auto renew. 

But things change: 

  • Maybe you found a cheaper car insurance deal elsewhere

  • You want to sell your car

  • You don't want to be tied down to your old car insurance policy 

  • Maybe you’ve shopped around and realised another insurer can give you a better deal

  • Or you've made a claim on your insurance, and you are now worried that the insurer won't let you cancel the policy

It’s always best to shop around for your car insurance and compare quotes to get the best deal.

Is it worth cancelling my car insurance policy?

If you only have a few weeks or a couple of months left on an annual policy and you are looking to swap to a cheaper insurer, then you should read the cancellation conditions and see if the savings of your new deal outweigh the costs of cancelling your current car insurance policy. 

Get a quote and see if it's worth cancelling your car insurance today:

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch

Can I cancel my car insurance?

The first thing you need to know about cancelling car insurance is that it’s possible.

However you need to remember that:

  • Your car must be insured at all times if it’s on the public roads - even if it’s just parked - so you must not leave any gaps between cover

  • You may have to pay a car insurance cancellation fee and possibly some other admin charges

Is there a cheap way to cancel my car insurance?

If you know what the rules are relating to your car insurance cancellation policy, you can avoid paying a hefty fee when you do eventually need to cancel.

Any charges and how much you will have to pay will depend on:

  • Your insurer's policy

  • How much you have already paid for your cover

  • How long you have left on the insurance term

Will I save money if I cancel early into my car insurance policy?

You will also lose your no claims discount (NCD) for that year if you cancel your car insurance policy early.  Any previous years NCD will remain.

Is there any way I can cancel my car insurance without paying anything?

One way to cancel your car insurance early without paying anything is to do it during the cooling-off period. This is within 14 days of taking out the policy.

The car insurance cooling-off period explained

You may have heard of the 14-day cooling off period when researching how to cancel your car insurance policy. Luckily, it can help you cancel your car insurance without having to pay anything, although there might be a catch depending on your insurer.

  • During the cooling-off period you are free to change your mind and cancel your policy for any reason at all 

  • Some insurers will charge an administration fee for cancellations during the cooling off period, but this will still be a lot cheaper than what you will pay if you cancel any time after

  • The cooling off period is a legal requirement for all car insurance policies

  • It is usually applicable for the first 14 days of when the cover starts or when your policy documents are sent to you, whichever is later

  • Some car insurance companies have a longer cooling off period, but as a minimum this period is 14 days and that is generally what most policies have

Can I get a refund after I cancel my car insurance?

If you pay for your car insurance monthly, you are not necessarily paying for the cover month to month. 

If you agree to a monthly payment you are taking a credit agreement allowing you to spread the cost of your 12-month insurance policy over a monthly basis. 

This means:

  • Cancellation charges will not necessarily be the same as someone who paid for the policy upfront

  • Charges will vary depending on your policy and how long you have left on your policy

  • You will probably have to pay an extra penalty to buy yourself out of the credit agreement, which is calculated as a percentage of the total policy price

You are, however, most likely entitled to a refund when you cancel your car insurance regardless of whether you pay monthly or upfront unless you have made a claim that year, more of which later.

However, a few providers - generally the ones who don’t charge interest - do charge month-to-month. Which means you could cancel with no fees. 

Make sure you check the terms and conditions of your policy to see if that’s the case with you.

Can I cancel my car insurance extras?

All of the extra features you are paying for on your car insurance policy, such as breakdown cover and legal expenses cover, are likely to be non-refundable. 

So, if you cancel your car insurance, you probably won't get the money back on those features. 

Additionally, you could be hit with an administration charge for making changes to your policy.

What if I only have a short time left on my car insurance policy?

Most insurers will not offer a refund if you are cancelling with only two months to go, so if you are that far into your policy, it will usually be cheaper to just see it through to the end. 

You will usually be refunded on a pro rata basis for the months you will not be receiving car insurance cover for, minus all the cancellation charges.

Can I cancel my insurance if I'm selling my car?

You can cancel your car insurance if you are selling your car, or for any reason. 

If you are selling your car and not planning to get a new one, you absolutely should cancel your insurance. 

Should I cancel my car insurance if I plan to get a new car?

It is worth speaking to your insurer and see if they will cover the new vehicle to avoid you paying a cancellation fee. 

If you’re not happy with their quote, you can shop around and cancel your current policy if the savings on the new policy will outweigh the cancellation fees – just remember that you may lose any no claims bonus.

You may also find:

  • You get charged the administrative costs of updating the policy

  • Your premiums increase if the insurer finds there is added risk with insuring your new car

  • Your new car could be in better condition and in a lower insurance group, so, you could get cheaper car insurance from the same policy

It is always best to shop around for car insurance and compare quotes

However, if you decide your car insurance still isn't going to work out for your new car then it could work out cheaper to move to another deal. Just bear in mind all of the costs that could come up when cancelling. It may end up being cheaper to stick with the same deal.

Can you cancel car insurance after making a claim?

You can still cancel your car insurance even after you have already made a claim, you need to remember though:

  • You won't be able to claim a refund on any months you have already paid for 

  • If you pay monthly, you will have to pay off the remainder in a final lump sum

This is the area of cancellation you ought to be wary of. If you have made a claim and want to cancel, weigh up if it's worth it, as it could be quite expensive.

Cancelling at the end of your car insurance policy

If you let your policy auto renew, this means that you will be pulled into another 12-month deal with your insurance provider, so you should cancel at the end of the policy if you are shopping around for a better deal. 

Shopping around for car insurance

If your cover is coming to an end and due to renew, it’s a good idea to shop around on a price comparison website to see if you could get a better deal than the renewal price offered by your current insurer. 

If you find a better quote, simply call your insurer and ask them not to renew your cover. If you ask them to cancel the policy effective on the day it was due to come to an end, you will not be charged a cancellation fee.

Getting car insurance when you don’t own a car

You don’t need to own a car to get car insurance. Unlike a full car insurance policy you won’t build up a no claims bonus but it does mean you can drive someone else’s car, as long as you have their permission. 

If you are only planning on borrowing a car you can also compare quotes for short-term or temporary car insurance

If you are needing to insure several cars, search multi-car insurance policies.

Multi-car insurance might also be suitable:

  • If you own more than one car

  • If you’re a family with more than one driver

  • If you’re a couple with more than one vehicle 

Get a quote and see if it's worth cancelling your car insurance today:

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch