How to cancel car insurance
You can cancel your car insurance at any time but you may have to pay a cancellation fee. Find out here how to cancel your car insurance and how much it will cost you.
Can I cancel my car insurance anytime?
Yes. While car insurance policies are usually taken out for 12 months and paid either up front or through monthly premiums, you can cancel at any time.
However, cancelling doesn't come without consequences. Cancelling before the end of your policy's term may result in paying a cancellation or administration fee. This fee is normally cheaper (or £0 with some insurers) if you cancel within the initial 14-day cooling-off period; then after that it will increase.
If you cancel your policy before the policy start date, there is normally no charge.
If you took out the insurance through a broker, they may also charge a cancellation fee.
How do I cancel my car insurance policy?
It's usually quick and easy to cancel your car insurance. Most insurers will let you cancel your policy online, but some still require you to speak to them on the phone. Check your policy terms and conditions to confirm how you need to cancel yours.
To cancel your car insurance, you'll need to follow the steps below:
Ideally, your policy documents should be stored somewhere safe where you can easily find them. Your policy documents will include your policy number. If you've lost your documents, you can request a copy from your insurance provider. However, it may charge you a fee to do this.
Most insurers give their customers access to an online or mobile portal where they can view and manage their car insurance policy. If you don't have a paper copy of your insurance policy, you should be able to view it online.
Let it know you want to cancel your policy. It will arrange for this to be done, and tell you any fees you have to pay and the amount of any refund you’re entitled to.
It is a legal requirement to have insurance if you drive your car on public roads in the UK. If you cancel your car insurance, you’ll need to have a new policy in place to legally drive. The only exception to this is if you use a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to declare your car ‘off road’.
Find your policy documents
Contact your provider
Arrange new cover if necessary
Where can I find out what cancellation charges I will have to pay?
Cancellation charges will be detailed in your policy documents. You might have a paper copy of these or access to them via your insurer’s mobile or online portal.
Cancellation charges might be detailed under different sections in your policy documents. For example, the car insurance cancellation fee might be in a section entitled “Our fees and charges” which states other admin fees too. Alternatively, cancellation fees might be in the “Cancellations” section which will also include other information about your cancellation rights.
Most insurers also publish their cancellation fees on their main website.
If you can’t find details of your cancellation charge or admin fee, you can contact your insurer either by phone or online chat.
Will I receive a refund if I cancel my car insurance?
Whether you will receive a refund for any part of your premium will depend on how soon you cancel your policy after first buying it.
Your refund will have an amount deducted for the days you were insured, and you may also be charged a cancellation or admin fee.
Cancellation and admin fees vary between insurers. Some insurers won’t charge a cancellation or admin fee if you cancel the policy before its start date.
Will I receive a refund if I cancel during the cooling-off period?
Legally, every UK insurance product comes with a 14-day cooling-off period. The cooling-off period starts either when you receive your documents or when the cover starts - whichever is later. Some insurers offer a longer cooling-off period than 14 days.
If you cancel your car insurance policy within this period, it is a legal requirement that you’re given a refund.
However, you will be charged for the number of days the policy was active – so you won’t get 100% of the premium back. You might also have to pay an administration fee or cancellation fee, although not all insurers charge this during the cooling off period, so check the terms and conditions of your policy.
Will I get a refund if I cancel after the 14-day cooling-off period?
It depends. If you took out an annual policy, you should be refunded on a pro-rata basis for the time remaining on it, less a cancellation and administration fee.
This means that if you are nearing the end of your contract, you may only receive a small refund, or you may not receive one at all. If you pay monthly, cancellation and administration fees may also eat up any potential refund.
Be aware that any add-ons taken out with another company, such as breakdown cover, may not be refunded and you will need to contact those companies direct to be reimbursed.
If you cancel, you’ll also miss out on your no-claims bonus for that year.
If your insurer, rather than you, cancels your insurance policy for a specified reason (i.e. non-disclosure or fraud), you won’t be charged a cancellation fee but it’s unlikely you’ll receive a refund for your premium either.
Can I still cancel my car insurance if I pay in monthly instalments?
If you pay for car insurance in monthly instalments it’s important to contact your insurer if you want to cancel your policy – don’t just cancel your payments.
Bear in mind that if you pay for car insurance by direct debit in monthly instalments, you are not just paying for one month’s insurance at a time.
Instead, the insurer has effectively loaned you the full premium and you are repaying this amount with interest each month.
You are still likely to be charged a cancellation fee if you pay in monthly instalments and cancel your policy, so you won’t receive a full refund.
Cancelling your insurance when you pay by direct debit
If you pay monthly by direct debit for insurance, don’t stop the direct debit without contacting your insurer. Even with monthly payments you still need to go through your insurer’s process for cancelling the policy.
If you just cancel the direct debit, the insurer may cancel your policy for non-payment. Having an insurer cancel your policy will make it more difficult to get insurance in the future. The missed payment will also show on your credit report.
If you have auto-renewal set up on your policy, this will come out of your account by direct debit each year. Your insurer should not charge a fee if you cancel auto-renewal.
It’s rarely a good idea to let your car insurance auto-renew – you can normally find a better deal elsewhere by shopping around.
Disputing cancellation costs?
Make sure you understand the cancellation and administration fees when you take out the policy, so there are no nasty surprises. If you are unhappy because the fees make it much less than a pro-rata refund for cancelling your car insurance, you should approach your provider first. Insurance providers’ complaints procedures should be found on their websites.
Keep records of any letters or emails you send, or phone calls you make, as well as the names of those you speak to.
Your insurer has eight weeks to make a final decision and if you’re not happy with the response, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Car insurance cancellation fees
How much cancellation fees will be varies between insurer, with some insurers charging different fees on different policies too. We’ve looked at how much some of the biggest insurers typically charge.
Cancellation fee within 14-day cooling offer period
Cancellation fee outside 14-day cooling offer period
Figures correct as stated on provider’s websites as of 7 November 2023
Need a new car insurance policy?
If you're cancelling your car insurance and need to buy a new policy, we can help you save money on the cost of cover. You can find cheap car insurance quotes by comparing policies with MoneySuperMarket. All you need to do is tell us a few details about your driving history and your car, and we will search the market for the deals which suit you the best.
Still have questions about cancelling your car insurance policy? Find the answers to some of our most common FAQs below.
Can I cancel my car insurance if I’ve made a claim?
Yes, but you probably won’t be entitled to a refund if you have paid up front. If you pay monthly, you’re also likely to have to pay the amount outstanding on your policy in a lump sum.
Do I need to cancel my existing car insurance if I buy a new car?
You need to take action, but that may not mean cancelling your policy.
Most insurers will allow you to update your existing policy to cover the new vehicle, although be aware that this means your insurance premium is likely to go either up or down depending on the type of car.
There is also likely to be an administration fee for moving the policy to a new car. This could still work out cheaper than cancelling and taking out a new policy, but not always. Do your sums before you decide.
When should I cancel if I sell my car?
Immediately. If you no longer own the car and you’re not replacing it, there is no point paying for cover you don’t need.
Failure to cancel could also result in a claim against your insurance if the new owner has an accident.
Do I lose my no-claims discount if I cancel my insurance?
Yes, it’s likely you’ll lose that year’s no-claims discount because you won’t have completed one full year of claim-free driving.
What if my insurer cancels the policy?
Make sure you find another insurer immediately. Even if your car is just parked on the roadside without insurance it could result in a fine.
Insurers do not usually cancel policies, but it can happen if the chances of a claim increase, such as modifications to your car to make it more powerful.
Should I cancel or let my insurance auto-renew?
Never cancel a policy and leave yourself uninsured on a car you are driving.
You should also not let your policy automatically renew every year without first checking that you cannot find a better deal.
It’s always worth comparing quotes before renewal because insurers rarely reward loyalty and you are likely to save yourself a decent sum.
What happens if I cannot contact my insurer to cancel?
Email your insurance provider to cancel if you can’t get through on the phone.
If your policy is up for renewal, emailing your insurer before the renewal date to inform them that you do not want to auto-renew and have found a policy elsewhere should suffice.
Only the policyholder is able to cancel a policy and you should include your policy number, your car registration and your renewal date if applicable, as well as your name date of birth and address.
It’s worth adding the reason for the cancellation and explaining that you were unable to get through over the phone.
Should I cancel my insurance if I declare my car SORN?
Probably, but even if you are taking your car off the road for a period, there may be reasons for keeping your insurance policy.
The insurance will still cover the car if should catch on fire or if it’s stolen and if you retain the policy, you will also be earning the no claims bonus.
You can buy SORN insurance (also called laid up car insurance) for your car while it has a SORN. This type of insurance will cover loss or damage from fire or theft while your car is off the road, but you won’t be covered for driving.