How to cancel your home insurance policy
From cancellation charges to cooling off periods, we tell you what you need to know about cancelling your home insurance policy.
There are several reasons why you might want to cancel your home insurance policy. Maybe you’ve just taken out the policy but have had second thoughts.
Perhaps you’ve searched the market and want to switch to a better deal. Or you might be selling your home or even moving abroad.
But how do you cancel your policy?
I don’t want my policy to renew, but I can’t get through to my insurer. What should I do?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may find you can’t contact your insurer on the phone because of long wait times.
If this happens, you can email the insurance company, confirming that you don’t want the policy to renew. This should be enough to cancel the policy before the renewal date. Bear in mind that only the policyholder is able to cancel insurance policies.
You can find your insurer's email address on their website. In your email, it'll help to include:
your policy number and renewal date
the policyholder's name, date of birth and postcode
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 to cover you after the renewal date.
If you have only just taken out your home insurance policy, cancelling is pretty straightforward.
By law, you have a 14-day “cooling-off” period, during which time you can cancel the policy without quibble or question.
This period starts either from the day your insurance policy kicks in or when you receive your policy documents, whichever is later.
You might not get every single penny of your money back, but you should get most of it.
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You should receive a refund of any insurance premiums you have already handed over, minus a proportionate payment to cover the handful of days when the policy was in force.
This will also apply to any add-on policies you took out at the same time.
Your insurer may also charge you a set-up fee, typically around £15. If you’re thinking of cancelling your contract, you should get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible, to avoid exceeding the 14-day limit.
Remember that you don't need to cancel a policy if you only plan to change your details. Most insurers can even adjust your premium if you move house.
Read more: Home lock types explained
Not so cool
Things get a little more complicated if you cancel your home insurance any time after the cooling-off period, but before your renewal date.
Most insurers will give you a pro-rata refund, provided you haven’t made any claims during the policy year.
So if you cancel after six months, your insurer should return half of your annual premium, minus charges (administration fees are typically between £35 and £50 - always check your documents).
If you received a discount on your premiums at the time you took the policy, your insurer is likely to cancel that, and deduct the amount from your refund.
If you're cancelling your policy to take advantage of a cheaper home insurance deal elsewhere, these charges could wipe out your savings.
It may be simpler, easier and cheaper to wait until renewal before hunting down a better deal.
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Keep yourself covered
Before doing anything, you need to check your policy booklet and speak to your insurer. Whatever you do, don't simply cancel your direct debit, because that doesn't cancel your insurance policy.
If you do this, your insurer may withhold documents, such as confirmation of your no-claims bonus, until you make full payment.
As far as they're concerned, your policy is still in force, and you still owe them your monthly premiums.
Only once you've spoke to your insurance company and cancelled your policy, should you cancel your direct debit with the bank.
In some cases, you'll need to cancel your policy in writing, by email or post, stating the date you want the policy to stop.
It's important to make sure that you have a new policy in place before cancelling your previous one. Otherwise you won't be covered if your home suffers theft, loss or damage while between policies.
Remember, if you have a mortgage, buildings insurance is usually mandatory.
The ideal time to shop around for a better deal on your insurance is on your annual renewal date.
The drawback with having auto-renewal on your home insurance policy is that you could easily miss this annual window, when you can cancel your policy free of charge and fuss.
If you want to shop around every year for a better deal on your home insurance, make sure you know when your policy is up for renewal.