How do I terminate my car insurance policy?

To cancel car insurance, contact your car insurance company and find a new policy to avoid a lapse. Before you cancel car insurance, shop for the best rates using our comparison tool below.

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UPDATED: Jun 2, 2020

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 2, 2020Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • There are several reasons you may wish to terminate your current policy
  • Make sure that if you still own a vehicle, you have new coverage in place before cancelling your old coverage
  • This guide will lay out the steps to take to cancel coverage and start new coverage

There are many reasons why you might choose to terminate your current car insurance policy. It could be because:

  • You no longer own the vehicle.
  • You’ve had an accident and it has been totaled.
  • You are simply fed up with your insurance company and you want a change.

Regardless, you need to understand exactly how to terminate your car insurance policy. Steps to do so appear below.

Here a few common problems people face:

  • Terminating an insurance policy can be different from company to company.
  • Confusing information is sometimes received.
  • They can’t find the necessary information when they are searching the website of the company they use.

Fortunately for you, this guide will help you terminate your policy correctly, and if needed, find a policy from a company that you will be satisfied with — just enter your zip in above to compare car insurance.

Step 1 – Protect Yourself

cheerful african man inside his new car

The first thing that you need to understand is that if you are cancelling your policy on a vehicle that you still own, you need to have another policy in place from another company before you do it.

It is illegal to allow one policy to lapse (or to cancel the policy) without having another coverage arrangement. No, it isn’t enough that you intend to purchase another policy, you must have it in place first.

If you aren’t sure which insurance company you want to switch to (if applicable), then you can schedule a termination date to give you time to find other insurance.

Many people do not realize that if they have already paid their premiums that they are entitled to get any monies paid that were not applied to actual coverage.

For example, if you pay $100 a month for your coverage and you decide two days into the month that you want to terminate the policy, then the insurance company will have to send you a check (or a direct deposit) for around $90.

The further you are into the month the less money you will get back, so make sure that you cancel when you have new coverage so you aren’t paying for duplicate coverage from different companies.

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Step 2 – Who to Contact

For many people, this is the most confusing part. Perhaps you have seen the commercials from the auto insurance company that says that they will cancel your auto insurance for you because breaking up is hard to do.

The question is: can they cancel your policy for you? The short answer is no, only you can cancel your policy, but what they can do for you is provide you with the necessary forms to fill out and they can send them for you.

Most insurance companies actually offer this option, but it is up to you if you are comfortable with allowing someone else to handle this for you.

If you choose to take care of the termination yourself, you will want to do two things.

  1. First, you will want to contact your insurance company and speak to an agent. Note the date, time and the name of the person that you speak with. You will want to tell the agent that you want to cancel your policy. They may ask why and you can tell them if you wish.
  2. Second, every insurance company will require that you inform them in writing that you want to terminate your policy. Some companies, require you to contact their customer service via email and enter your information in the comments section of a text box. Others have a form that they want you to fill out.

Many sites don’t offer clear steps for canceling a policy with them, (or even offer a link on their websites to allow you to do it), which is why a phone call is usually the fastest and easiest way to determine what a company requires from you.

It is very important that you get a confirmation regarding your cancellation; this should come to you via email.

If you don’t receive one within 24 hours of cancelling your policy, you need to call the insurance company and verify that they have received your request for termination.

If they haven’t, submit it again, but also ask for a fax number so that you can send the request in your own handwriting as well.

Once your termination has been processed, you should receive an email that states that you policy is being terminated, the date it will be terminated and the amount that the company owes you or that you owe the company.

In addition, you will receive a warning that it is against the law to allow your insurance to lapse without other coverage in place (if you still own your vehicle).

Step 3 – Selecting a New Policy

Now that you understand how easy it is to terminate your old policy, if you still own your vehicle or you plan to purchase one to replace the one you no longer have, then you need to purchase a new insurance policy.

If you terminated your policy because you no longer have the vehicle, you may be tempted to simply sign up with the same insurance, but before you do, you want to ensure that you are paying the lowest possible rates.

Insurance companies’ rates actually change from month to month. What this means is that one month, if you received an insurance quote, the premiums might be $1100 for the year, the next month it might be $1500 and so on.

Once you agree to a premium, it belongs to you. Your premiums won’t fluctuate depending on the market; you simply pay what you agreed to once you accepted a quote.

Because of the fees that most companies charge when you sign up for a new policy, it is not fiscally reasonable to switch insurance companies from month to month in order to get a good rate.

What you need to do is do a rate check each time your policy is due to expire. Don’t assume your insurance company is giving you the best rate because you are an established customer, you need to compare rates.

Comparing rates is easy. All you have to do is use a free quote tool like the one found at the top of this page. With a free quote tool, you can compare the rates of several companies (all licensed to sell insurance in your state) side by side.

You can see for yourself whether or not you are getting the best rate from your insurance company.

One of the biggest benefits of using car insurance rate quote tool is that you are under no obligation to make a purchase.

If you like what you see, click the link and fill out the additional information needed; if you don’t, then close out and you are done. Our quote tool is fast and easy, why not try it today?

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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