Cancelling an insurance policy

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

Insurance gives you extra protection if things go wrong. However, you may decide that you no longer want or need your insurance policy. This page explains what you can do if you’ve taken out an insurance policy and decide you want to cancel it.

Cancelling during the cooling-off period

You may want to cancel an insurance policy if you have just bought it and have changed your mind. By law, you have a minimum 14-day cooling-off period during which you can cancel the policy for any reason. If you’ve bought life insurance, the cooling-off period is 30 days.

The cooling-off period starts from when the policy begins or when you receive your policy documents, whichever is later. You should get a refund of any premiums you have already paid. However, your insurer may take off a small amount to cover days when the policy was in force. They may also charge you a small administration fee.

Some insurers may give you a longer cooling-off period. If you’re not sure how long your cooling-off period is, you can check the terms of your insurance policy.

If you want to cancel your policy during the cooling-off period you should contact your insurer as soon as possible

The right to cancel during a cooling-off period does not apply to travel insurance that lasts less than one month.

Cancelling after the cooling-off period

If you want to cancel your policy after the cooling-off period you should check your insurance policy. Most insurers will give you a refund if you have not made any claims during the policy year but you will usually have to pay administration fees.

If you are thinking of cancelling your policy because you’ve found a better deal with another insurer it may be easier and cheaper to wait until your policy is due for renewal and then switch.

Cancelling a direct debit does not cancel your insurance policy. If you do this you will still owe your insurer the premiums. You must contact your insurer to cancel the policy.

Some policies are automatically renewed each year. It’s important to check when your policy is due for renewal so you can make sure that it is not renewed when you don't want it to be.

It’s a good idea to make sure you have a new policy in place before cancelling the old one so that you’re not left uninsured.

Can your insurer cancel your policy?

Occasionally your insurer may wish to cancel your policy. They are only likely to do this if they believe:

  • something has happened to make it much more likely you will make a claim, or

  • you have not kept to the terms of the policy.

In most cases your insurer will wait until the policy needs to be renewed then refuse to renew the policy.

Next steps

Check that you are within the cooling-off period.

If your cooling-off period has ended, work out whether it will be better to wait until your policy needs to be renewed, rather than cancel straight away

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Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020