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How to cancel your car insurance policy

When it comes to cancelling your car insurance, each company has its own rules. 

Whether you’ve declared your car as SORN, sold your car, or have simply renewed your car insurance early elsewhere, you’ll need to cancel your existing policy.

A man flicks through car insurance forms

How to cancel your car insurance

Cancelling your car insurance is generally a simple process. Depending on who you’re insured with, you might be able to cancel it online, which is the easiest way to do it. However, lots of insurance companies want to speak to the policyholder to cancel, so if that’s the case:

  • Get your policy documents to hand so you have your policy number.
  • Call your insurance company (it'll need to be the policyholder who does this).
  • Tell them you're cancelling your car insurance (they may ask why – that’s fine).
  • They'll explain any fees and might ask you to send your certificate of motor insurance back to them.
  • If you’re declaring your car as 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’ll be no charge. You simply need to make sure a new provider is covering you from the moment your current policy expires.

But there are some important things to bear in mind. The most important thing is to make sure you never drive without insurance. So, if you want to cancel a policy but continue to drive you’ll have 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 almost certainly won’t have earnt anything during that year towards your no claims bonus as you won’t have completed a full year under the policy.


When to cancel my car insurance after selling my car

One of the most common reasons for cancelling car insurance is because you have sold your car

Simply call your insurer, tell them you no longer own the car and you want to cancel your policy. They’ll send you a copy (whether paper or via email) of your no claims bonus (NCB), which stays valid for two years.

Make sure you keep your NCB proof somewhere safe, as the next company you take out 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 one, you don’t necessarily need to cancel your policy.

You should be able to call your car insurance provider or, if they’re online only, log in and change your car details to your new one.

The premiums 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 in the normal way. But don’t forget to take into account the impact of any cancellation fees with your existing insurer.


Car insurance cancellation fees

Generally speaking, if you cancel within the first 14 days of a policy, most insurance companies won’t charge a fee for cancelling. But be aware that some do.

However, if your policy has been active for longer than that, you’re likely to have to pay a cancellation fee. You might also have to pay a pro rata amount that represents the period you’ve been covered for before cancellation.


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

Yes, you should get a refund. But, as mentioned, any refund will usually have an admin fee deducted from it, unless you’re cancelling within 14 days of taking out the policy.

You won’t be refunded for the period the policy has been in place. So, for example, if you cancel a policy after six months, you may receive a refund of 50% of your premiums - less any admin fee.

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

To make sure the direct debit has definitely been cancelled, check with your bank or building society.


What’s the cooling off period for car insurance?

When you take out a new car insurance policy, as with any insurance, 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 will, however, have to pay for the days you've been insured.

If you paid for the policy in one lump sum, you’ll most likely get the rest of your money back. Your insurer will probably deduct the cost of the days you were insured.

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


I can’t get through to my insurer so how 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. Bear in mind that it’s still only the policyholder who is able to cancel an insurance 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.
  • The policyholder's 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.

Make sure you have valid insurance in place elsewhere to cover you from the renewal date.


Cancelling my car insurance because my car is SORN

If you’re keeping your car, but won’t be driving it for the foreseeable future, you can register it as SORN with the DVLA. When you do that, you have a choice: you can cancel your current insurance policy with immediate effect, or keep it.

Why would you keep it? Well, you might want to keep it 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 out the form that can be found on the government’s website.


How to get car insurance after cancelling

You can apply for a new policy in the same way you did last time. You’re free to ask for a quote from any insurer, and you start again from scratch.

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 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 take out a new policy that kicks in the moment your previous policy was cancelled. It’s a serious offence to drive without insurance, and you don’t get even a short grace period for being between insurance providers.

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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 one.

However, if you decide to do this, you will lose the current year of NCB that you’re earning.

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


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 one expires.

If your insurance is cancelled because of something you’ve done wrong – failed to declare penalty points on your licence, not told them about modifications to your caror failed to report an accident, for example – things will probably be more serious for you.

When you look to take out a new policy elsewhere, you’ll have to declare that you’ve had a policy cancelled. They might decide that they don’t want to insure you. At the very least, you can expect the cost of your insurance to go up.

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

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