How to cancel your car insurance policy

Whether you’ve sold your car, given it a SORN, or renewed your insurance early elsewhere, you’ll need to know how to cancel your car insurance policy.

And regulations were updated in 2022 to make it easier to cancel your current insurance policy.

Here's how you cancel your car insurance policy, and find out more about refunds and cancellation fees.

A man flicks through car insurance forms  

Insurance companies must now make it as easy to cancel your car insurance policy as it was to buy it.

If you have any problems when it comes to cancelling your car insurance, contact us after buying your new policy at communications@confused.com.

 

How to cancel your car insurance

Cancelling your car insurance is usually a quick task. In some cases you can do it online, but some insurance companies might want to speak to you first. If that’s the case:

  • Get your policy documents ready so you have your policy number
  • Call your insurance company (it needs to be the policyholder who does this)
  • Tell them you're cancelling your car insurance (they may ask why – that’s fine)
  • They should explain any fees and might ask you to send your certificate of motor insurance back to them
  • If you’re giving your car a statutory off-road notification (SORN), make sure you fill in the SORN form with the DVLA
 

Can I cancel my car insurance?

Yes. A car insurance policy is a private arrangement between you and your insurer, and you can take away your business at any time.

If you do this at renewal time, there should be no charge. If you still have a car, you need to make sure you have a new provider covering you from the moment your current policy ends.

Make sure you never drive without insurance. If you want to cancel your policy but continue to drive, you need to find a new provider.

Other things to take into consideration include cancellation fees and the impact on your no-claims bonus if you cancel a policy mid-term. You likely haven’t earned anything that year towards your no-claims bonus as you won’t have completed a full year under the policy.

 

When should I cancel my car insurance after selling my car?

The most common reason for cancelling car insurance is because the car's been sold.

If you've sold your car, call your insurer and tell them you no longer own the car and you want to cancel your policy. They should send you a copy (whether paper or email) of your no-claims bonus, which stays valid for 2 years.

Make sure you keep your proof of no-claims bonus somewhere safe. The next company you buy car insurance with is likely to want to see a copy of it.

 

Do I need to cancel my car insurance if I buy a new car?

If you’re selling your car and buying a new car, you don’t necessarily need to cancel your policy.

You should be able to call your car insurance provider and change your car details to your new car. If the insurer allows it, you can log into your account and make the change.

Your car insurance costs could go up or down for the remaining term of the policy, depending on the new car.

If you feel you’re being charged too much under the amended policy, you can shop around for a better deal. But don’t forget to consider the impact of any cancellation fees with your existing insurer.

 

Can I cancel my car insurance if I’ve made a claim?

You can cancel your car insurance if you’ve made a claim, but the catch is that you may not be entitled to a refund. This is because you've had the financial benefit of the insurance, which could well be greater than the cost of your cover.

Drivers that pay monthly may also have to pay for the remainder of the policy if they cancel.

 

Can I cancel car insurance extras?

Although you can get a refund of your costs if you cancel your car insurance, any extras, like breakdown or legal expenses cover, are not usually refundable.

But it's worth contacting your provider to see what their terms are.

 

Car insurance cancellation fees

If you change your mind, you can cancel your car insurance free of charge within the first 14 days of starting a policy.

But if your policy has been active for longer than that, you’re likely to have to pay a cancellation fee to cover administration costs.

If you bought your policy via a car insurance broker, they might also charge you a cancellation fee on top.

 

Can I dispute the car insurance cancellation fee?

You can dispute your car insurance cancellation fees if you wish. But if they’re reasonable and outlined in your policy documents it’s unlikely you’ll have any luck.

But if they’re excessive or disproportional when compared to other providers, you might have more success.

Complain first to your insurance company, making sure you keep a record of all your communications. If you don’t get a satisfactory response, you can then take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

 

Will I get a refund if I cancel my car insurance?

Yes, you should usually get a refund for the policy you’re cancelling. This should be on a 'pro rata' basis. So if there are 6 months left on the policy, you can expect half of your costs to be returned.

Unless you’re cancelling within the 14 day cooling-off period, an admin fee is also likely to be deducted from your refund.

If you pay by monthly direct debit, once the admin fee has been sorted you stop paying any further.

Always check with your bank or building society to ensure the direct debit has been cancelled.

 

What’s the cooling off period for car insurance?

When you buy a new car insurance policy you have a cooling off period. Regardless of which company you choose, by law you have 14 days to change your mind and cancel.

You shouldn’t have to pay a cancellation fee, although some companies may try to charge you. You do, however, have to pay for the days you've been insured.

If you paid for the policy in a lump sum, you should get the rest of your money back. Your insurer might deduct the cost of the days you were insured.

If you’ve been paying monthly, you should get a part-month refund and the direct debit should be cancelled.

 

Will I get a refund if I cancel after the cooling-off period?

If you decide you want to cancel your car insurance after the 14 day cooling-off period, you can still get a refund.

Your refund amount depends on when in your contract you've decided to cancel. Your insurer is also likely to charge you a cancellation fee.

Your overall charges for an early exit vary between insurers, so check your policy terms and conditions to know how much you'll have to pay.

 

I can’t get through to my insurer so how do I stop my car insurance renewal?

If you can’t get through to your insurer, you can send an email instructing them not to renew your policy.

This should be enough to cancel the policy before the renewal date. Only the policyholder can cancel the policy.

You can find your insurer's email address on their website. In your email, it’s worth including:

  • Your policy number and renewal date
  • Your name, date of birth and postcode
  • Your car’s registration number

It might also help if you add in a reason for cancellation, and mention that you weren't able to get through over the phone.

Unless you no longer have a car to insure, make sure you have valid insurance in place elsewhere to cover you from the renewal date.

 

Cancelling my car insurance because my car has a SORN

If you’re keeping your car, but won’t be driving it for the foreseeable future, you can register it with a SORN with the DVLA. You then need to decide whether to cancel your current insurance policy with immediate effect, or keep it.

Why would you want to keep it? Well, in case your car is stolen, or catches fire. And if you choose to keep the policy, you’ll also be earning your no-claims bonus.

To SORN your car, you need to fill in the form that's on GOV.UK.

 

How to get car insurance after cancelling

You can apply for a new car insurance policy in the same way you did before.

It’s always best to shop around for the best deal on your car insurance, although make sure you also know what it is you’re paying for. Cutting the cost of car insurance is great, but not if you’re left with an unsuitable policy.

But if you’re continuing to drive your car in the meantime, you should get a new policy that starts the moment your previous policy is cancelled. This could be an annual policy or you could consider temporary car insurance while you plan a longer-term solution.

It’s a serious offence to drive without insurance and there won’t be a grace period for being between insurance providers.

Compare car insurance quotes

 

Changing the date your car insurance renews

If you have multiple cars in your household, you might want to change the month your car insurance renews so they renew at the same time of year.

To break the cycle of renewing at a certain time, you can buy a new car insurance policy at the date you prefer, and then cancel your old policy.

But if you decide to do this, you lose the current year of no-claims bonus that you’re earning.

And depending on your insurer, they might charge an admin fee for cancelling the initial policy early.

One option to consider is multi car insurance, which puts several cars under one policy. That means a single renewal date to remember, and a lot less admin. You usually get a discount for each car you add to the policy, too.

 

What to do if your insurer cancels your car insurance

If your insurer decides it doesn’t want to insure people with your risk profile, they should give you good notice. You should have time to find a new policy before your current policy expires.

Your insurance could also be cancelled because of something you’ve done wrong. For example:

When you buy a new policy elsewhere, you have to declare that you’ve had a policy cancelled. They might decide that they don’t want to insure you. You can also expect the cost of your insurance to rise.

Whatever happens, never drive your car until you have a new car insurance policy in place, and make sure it’s off the road in the meantime.

It’s also worth making sure you don’t fall behind if you pay your insurance costs monthly, as this could also result in your policy being cancelled.

 

When should I cancel if I sell my car?

Cancel your car insurance as soon as you sell your car.

If you no longer own a car, there's no reason to be paying car insurance. But if you've sold your car and bought a new car, you can change the details in your current policy.

 

Do I lose my no-claims discount if I cancel my insurance?

Yes. If you haven't had a full year with your policy you'll lose your no-claims bonus for that year.

If you take a break from your insurance, most insurers allow up to 2 years before you lose all of your no-claims bonus.

But this varies depending on the insurer, so check the policy details.