When it comes time to cancel your auto insurance coverage, you want to make sure that you do it the right way to protect yourself legally, and to protect your credit. You may need to cancel your car insurance coverage if you change cars, decide to change companies, sell your car and stop driving, or move to another state.

When You Policy Ends

You may think that your policy will end, and your coverage will cancel at the end of your term automatically. However, this is generally not the case. Most car insurance companies use auto renewal. If you don’t notify them that you are not going to renew your policy, it will renew automatically, and you will owe another premium payment. If you are planning to change your car insurance at the end of your term, contact your car insurance company and notify them. There may be a written form that you have to fill out for notice of cancellation.

Cancelling During Your Policy Term

cancel insurance coverageMost insurance companies allow you to cancel your policy at any time, regardless of how you pay or how long your term may be. You can try to cancel your car insurance coverage over the phone, but you will likely be told to provide written notice of cancellation. You may be supplied with a form, or you may simply need to write a letter. If you work with an agent rather than online or with larger customer service, cancelling your policy is much easier.

You can cancel your policy at any time, even if you have already paid your premium. For example, you may have paid for six months of car insurance, but you need to cancel after three months. When this happens, after your policy is successfully cancelled the unused portion of your prepaid premiums will be refunded to you. This is usually done in the form of a check, and it can take several weeks.

Notifying of Cancellation Date

When you notify your car insurance company that you want to cancel your coverage, you will need to tell them on what date you want coverage discontinued. If you do not specify a date, your coverage could be cancelled from the minute you contact them. This could leave you unprotected and without insurance.

Even if you have just signed up with car insurance through another company, you may not be immediately covered. Often new car insurance policies do not take effect until midnight of the following day. Sometimes the gap can be even more. Make sure of when your new policy will start, and then have your old car insurance coverage cancelled on the day after the new policy takes effect. This ensures that you are not without needed coverage.

Consequences for Not Cancelling the Right Way

If you do not cancel your car insurance coverage the right way, it could be detrimental to your credit and your ability to get car insurance in the future. If you cancel your car insurance without having coverage to replace it, that will show when you go to get a new policy. Often if you have any period of time without car insurance, even if it is because you do not own a car, it will affect your future car insurance rates.

If you do not cancel your car insurance the right way and only stop making the premium payment, you could wind up owing the car insurance company money for coverage that continued past the date covered by your last premium. They will then cancel your policy for lack of payment, which shows on your credit report. This can also hurt you when you go to get replacement car insurance in the future, as you could be considered high risk if you have had your car insurance forcibly cancelled by the insurance company.

Legal Requirements

You may have some legal requirements when it comes to cancelling your car insurance policy, depending on your state’s laws and regulations. Some states require you to show proof that you have gotten new car insurance coverage before you are allowed to cancel your previous policy. You may need to supply this proof to your previous car insurance company before they will formally cancel your policy.

You may also need to report your change in coverage to the state DMV. Some states, such as Massachusetts, require you to have your car insurance information on your registration paperwork. It is your responsibility to maintain this paperwork and keep the records up to date.