Cancelling car insurance

Find out about cancelling your car insurance. Whatever the reason.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 6 July 2023  | 6 mins read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

Information on this page was reviewed by our fact-checkers before it was published. Learn more about our fact checking process and our editorial guidelines.

Can I cancel my car insurance?

Whether it’s because you don’t need cover anymore or you’ve simply found a better car insurance deal, you can cancel your policy at any time.

When you take out car insurance, you’ll be given a 14-day cooling-off period during which you can change your mind and receive a refund. This is provided you haven’t already made a claim.

And it’s usually easy to cancel your policy beyond the cooling-off period, whether you’re two or 10 months into your policy. But you’ll typically be charged a cancellation fee.

Key points

  • Insurers often charge a cancellation fee and you won’t always get a refund for the cover you haven’t used
  • Cancelling mid-way through the year could affect your no-claims discount
  • It can be better to wait until your policy is due for renewal before you cancel  
  • Having a new policy in place before cancelling the old one means you won’t be left uninsured

How do I cancel my car insurance?

Cancelling your car insurance is usually a straightforward process. Depending on the insurer, it’s typically done by phone or online.

To cancel your policy you’ll need to:

  1. Have your car insurance policy to hand and note your policy number
  2. Read the policy terms and conditions for information about the cancellation procedure
  3. Contact your car insurance provider to let them know you want to cancel
  4. Find out what fees you might need to pay to cancel your cover
  5. Make a statutory off road notification (SORN) if you’re cancelling because you’ll no longer be driving or parking your car on public roads

How much does it cost to cancel car insurance?

This largely depends on your insurer and when you want to end your cover. To cancel your car insurance, you’ll usually need to pay a cancellation or administration fee.

The cost to cancel your policy can be around £50, although this can vary depending on the insurer.

And some insurers will still charge a fee if you cancel during the cooling-off period - but this is usually less than if you were to cancel after the first 14 days.

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

If you cancel for any reason during this period, you should get a refund for any premiums that you’ve already paid.

To calculate your refund, the insurer will usually deduct a small amount for the number of days that the cover was active for.

Some insurers also charge an administration fee to cancel during the cooling-off period, so check your policy terms and conditions.

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

You can often get a partial refund if you cancel your car insurance, but how much you receive will depend on:

How long is left on your policy - Check your policy details, as many insurers won’t refund the final two months of a policy. So it may not be worth cancelling close to the policy end date.

Whether you pay monthly or annually - If you’ve prepaid in full for the year, your refund will be based on what you haven’t used.

Your insurer’s fees - Most insurers charge an administration fee or cancellation charge. Cancelling your policy could end up costing you more than any refund you’d receive, so always check.

If you used an insurance broker - If you used a broker to buy your car insurance, you’ll usually need to pay them a cancellation fee too, which will eat into your refund.

It’s also worth noting that you might not get a refund for policy add-ons, like breakdown cover. It may be up to you to contact the providers directly to request your money back.

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

You can still cancel your car insurance if you’ve made a claim. But you’re unlikely to receive a refund.

This is because your policy has already paid out.

If you want to cancel after you’ve made a claim and have been paying monthly premiums, you’ll need to pay for any remaining time left on your policy.

You may need to make this payment to your insurer in one lump sum.

Do you lose your no-claims discount if you cancel your car insurance?

You earn a no-claims discount (NCD) by not making a claim on your car insurance within a 12-month period.

So if you cancel your policy during this time, it means you’ll lose the year’s discount.

This won’t have much of an impact if you already have several years of NCD under your belt - you may already be receiving the maximum benefit anyway.

But if you’re a new driver with fewer than two years of no claims, cancelling your car insurance could affect any future discount on your premiums.

What if I can’t contact my insurer to cancel my policy?

If you’re struggling to get in touch with your insurer, it’s best to send them an email informing them that you want to cancel your policy.

You’ll need to be the policyholder and include the following details in your email:

  • The policy number
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your date of birth
  • Car registration
  • Reason for the policy cancellation

Do I need new car insurance in place before cancelling?

Car insurance is a legal requirement for driving or parking your car on public roads. So it’s best to have a policy in place before cancelling your current one to avoid leaving yourself uninsured.

The exception to this is if you’re cancelling your insurance because you’ll be taking your car off the road (for example, if you’re putting it in a garage for the winter).

To do this, you’ll need a SORN. Your car doesn’t legally need to be taxed or insured while it’s SORN - but it’s a good idea to keep your insurance going so your car can stay covered for situations like theft or fire. Alternatively, you could purchase a laid up policy.

However, if you’re cancelling for another reason and you’ll still be driving the vehicle, it’s important to buy a new annual policy or temporary car insurance to fill the gap.

And be aware that you don’t necessarily need to cancel your insurance if you’re buying a new car - most insurers will let you transfer your existing policy across for a small fee. But check whether your premium will increase, as it may still be worth shopping around.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, if you want to switch providers, you’ll need to let your current insurer know that you want to cancel - your cover won’t get cancelled automatically. Having two policies running at the same time can lead to complications if you need to make a claim.

You should inform your insurer before your policy auto-renews, but don’t cancel your cover until you’ve found a new provider. You’ll need to make sure the new cover begins on the same day your existing cover is cancelled to avoid being uninsured.

Although it doesn’t happen often, there are several reasons why an insurer might cancel your policy. For example, this might be because you’ve missed payments or haven’t declared important information.

If your policy is cancelled, your insurer should give you enough notice to find cover elsewhere. But you’ll need to declare that your old policy has been cancelled to any new provider.

This can make finding cover more difficult and is likely to increase your premiums. However, it’s illegal to drive without insurance, so it’s important to get new cover or to declare your car as SORN.

If you’re unhappy with how much you’re being charged to cancel your policy, you may be able to dispute it.

But you’ll need to check your policy details first. If the fee is in line with what’s stated in the terms and conditions, it’s unlikely that any complaint you make will be successful.

However, if you think you’ve been charged unfairly or that you’ve been short-changed, it’s best to contact your insurer directly.

And if you’re not happy with your insurer’s response, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman.

Yes, once you’ve let your insurer know that you’re cancelling your policy and you’re up to date with all payments and fees owed, you should contact your bank to cancel your Direct Debit.

No, if you stop your Direct Debit it just means that your payments to the insurer will stop - it won’t cancel your policy. You’ll need to contact your insurer directly to do this.

If you don’t officially cancel, you’ll still owe your insurer. And if you don’t pay, you could be charged late payment fees, as well as the insurer cancelling your policy.

This will show up on your record and could make it harder for you to get insurance in the future.

If your policy is cancelled by your insurer, it will stay on your record indefinitely. Getting insurance after this can be more difficult and is likely to cost you more.

Some insurers will only look at your record from the last five years, but others might want a more detailed or full insurance history.

This really depends on why your car insurance has been cancelled. If the cancellation is due to a genuine mistake or an accidental non-payment, your insurer may be able to reactivate your policy.

But if you’ve simply changed your mind about cancelling it’s likely that you’ll need to apply for a new policy.

Yes, you can cancel your insurance as it’s not a legal requirement once your car is SORN. However, cancelling can affect your no-claims discount and it’ll also mean your car won’t be covered for situations like theft or fire while it’s off the road.

This depends - if you’re selling because you’re buying a replacement car, it’s a good idea to transfer your policy to the new vehicle. There may be an administration fee to do this, as well as a possible increase in premium, but it means you can keep any NCD you’ve earned.

But if you want to completely cancel your insurance, it’s best to do this as soon as your car has been collected by the new owner or delivered to a dealership.

No, if you won’t be using your old car anymore, you can usually transfer your existing insurance over to a new car - so you don’t have to cancel your policy.

Although you might prefer to get a new policy with a new car, sometimes sticking with your current provider can be the cheaper option. Especially if you’d need to pay any cancellation fees.

Staying with your current policy until it’s due for renewal can also help you keep your NCD, so it’s best to weigh up the pros and cons before you decide.

Auto-renewal can help you avoid being left uninsured when your policy ends. But insurers sometimes increase premiums when policies auto-renew, so it’s best to shop around and see if you can find a better deal before this happens.

Just make sure you don’t cancel your car insurance until you have a new policy in place, or you could find yourself uninsured.

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