There are many circumstances where you may need to cancel your car insurance. These include moving, switching carriers, or getting rid of a car. Regardless of the reason, knowing when and how to correctly cancel your auto insurance policy is important.

It isn’t always clear what needs to be done when canceling your car insurance. You may have different questions depending on your circumstances. The good news is that, regardless the reason, canceling your car insurance is typically a fairly straightforward process.

Contact your insurer

The cancellation process can differ from carrier to carrier. Even if you are switching to a new auto insurer, you’ll need to contact your current carrier to be sure you’re notifying them of a cancellation. Some carriers will require notice of cancellation in writing, but not all of them will. It’s best to notify your carrier in writing regardless of whether or not they require it, as it creates record of your communication.

Your carrier will likely ask your reason for cancellation. If you are moving to another state, or have shopped around for a cheaper price, your carrier may offer you a new quote. It’s a good idea to prepare for these types of discussions to not be caught off-guard. It’s best to have an idea prior to calling if you are willing to negotiate or if you plan to stand firm in your decision to cancel.

When cancelling your auto insurance policy, be sure to:

  • Confirm the cancellation date as some carriers require 30 days’ notice to cancel without any fees or penalties.
  • Receive documentation confirming cancellation. Do not assume your cancellation request has been processed until you receive documentation in writing confirming the date of the policy cancellation.
  • Ask about any refunds. If you have prepaid your premiums, you may be entitled to prorated refunds, which can sometimes be applied towards any cancellation fees. Be sure to see if you are eligible!

When to cancel car insurance

You may need to cancel your car insurance for various reasons. It is important to consider your plan for being without coverage prior to calling your carrier to cancel. If you are switching carriers, you probably want to purchase a new policy prior to the expiration of your current policy. Lapses in coverage are dangerous and sometimes result in fines. You’ll want to be sure to avoid any period of time where you are not covered, putting you in financial and legal risk.

When you move

If you are moving to a new state where your current carrier does not provide coverage, you will need to purchase a new policy from a carrier in that state. Be sure to arrange for the new policy several weeks prior to ending your current policy to avoid a lapse.

When you no longer have a car

If you are selling a vehicle and have no plans to replace it, you can cancel your auto insurance. However, it’s recommended that you do not discontinue coverage until the new owner takes possession of the vehicle, and the title has been officially transferred. If you cancel car insurance while the vehicle is still titled in your name, you may receive a fine for owning an uninsured motor vehicle.

You’ve found a better price

You may have been shopping around and found a better rate at a different carrier. As always, it’s best to switch to a new policy prior to cancelling your current one to avoid a lapse in coverage. It’s best to make these types of switches near the end of your policy term. This helps you avoid any early cancellation fees. If you’re planning on comparing prices with different carriers, start looking at least six to eight weeks before the end of your policy term. This will allow yourself enough time to make the decision that is best for you.

When not to cancel car insurance

You can cancel your car insurance policy at any time, but it may not always be necessary. Before doing so, take some time to ask yourself if any of the following circumstances apply to you. If so, you may not need to cancel your car insurance.

When you will be driving.

Canceling coverage on a vehicle you are still planning on owning and driving can put you at a financial risk and possibly violate state laws.

When you are moving

You don’t necessarily need to cancel your car insurance policy when you move. If your carrier affords coverage in the state where you are moving, you can contact them to see about transferring your coverage. It’s important to know that any move could cause a change in your rates as location plays a large part in determining premiums.

When you have life changes

You might want to keep your car insurance policy if you get married or divorced. You can add a new spouse to your current auto policy, and sometimes get a discount for getting married. You may also qualify for multi-policy discounts if your new spouse is insured with the same company. In the case of divorce, you can typically remove your ex-spouse for your current policy without having to cancel it.

When you are temporarily not driving

Many insurance carriers will allow you to suspend your coverage if needed. Be sure to check state requirements! In some states, you will need to send a written request for suspension. Check with your carrier for your options if you need to have your coverage temporarily suspended.

When your premium is high

Most auto insurers offer several types of discounts. You may qualify for a safe driver discount, a good student discount, even a paperless discount. Sometimes, even the safety features on your vehicle will qualify for a discount! Contact your carrier to see how you can lower your rates, and what discounts you are not taking advantage of.

Talk to one of our agents to discuss your options. Or, if you need help assessing what coverages are right for you, The Elephant Insurance Coverage Wizard tool can help make insurance more understandable — simply answer a few questions and learn what’s right for you. We always like to make it as easy as possible for you to get a quote and see if Elephant is right for you!


This article is intended for informational purposes only. It does not replace or modify the information contained in your insurance policy and may not reflect the official policies of Elephant Insurance or current developments.

Article last updated on October 25th, 2023 at 10:54 am