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Decided to sell your car? Or maybe your vehicle’s been stolen or written off and you’re not ready to buy a replacement? Perhaps you’ve simply changed your mind.

Whatever the reason you want, or need, to cancel your car insurance policy, there are a few things you should be aware of first.

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Cooling-off periods | Cancelling a policy mid-cover | Consequences of cancelling early| Cancelling before an auto-renewal | Buying a new car? | How to cancel a policy| Disagree with cancellation charges?
Is there a cooling-off period?
If you’ve decided you simply don’t want the insurance you have bought, for whatever reason, UK insurance rules give you a 14-day “cooling-off” period when you buy most kinds of cover.

This means that if you want to end a policy within two weeks of receiving your policy, you should be eligible a refund.

You may still have to pay an administration fee, however, and you could be charged for the number of days you were covered for.

On the other hand, if your policy hasn’t yet started by the time you cancel, you should only have to pay the admin fee.

Want to cancel a policy mid-cover?
Once the 14-day cooling-off period has passed, the cost of cancelling your policy may increase sharply.

If you want to cancel your policy after this period, you’ll likely be charged a cancellation fee.

It’s also likely that there will be a limit on any refund you might get. Cancelling half way through your policy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get half your premium back.

Consequences of cancelling early
There are a number of potential consequences to cancelling your car cover early, so it’s worth checking all related terms and conditions beforehand.

For example, you may miss out on the no-claims bonus for that period.

Or, if you have breakdown cover and other add-ons included with your policy, these will also come to an end and you may not get a refund.

Want to cancel your car insurance before it automatically renews?
Man tearing up paper

Many annual car insurance policies automatically renew at the end of the 12-month cover period.

This is done to ensure that drivers who forget their renewal dates are not on the road uninsured and driving illegally.

If you don’t want to renew your current car insurance policy, you have to tell your insurer either by phone or in writing. It’s not enough to simply cancel your direct debit.

You won’t face any fees for this, provided you cancel before the new policy comes into effect.

Buying a new car?
If you’re selling your car and buying something new, you may not need to cancel your insurance at all as most insurers will allow you to update your policy to cover the new vehicle.

There are often charges for doing so, however, and it’s worth bearing in mind that your premium for the remaining months of the policy may change to reflect your new car’s «risk rating».

If your insurer does raise your premium by a large amount to cover your new car, it could be worth comparing quotes from other insurers before accepting the new deal.

You can find more information on amending your policy in our guide.

How to cancel the policy
If you decide you do want to go ahead and cancel, you’ll need to contact your insurer.

Insurance companies have different procedures for cancellations, so it is best to speak with them directly or check your policy for instructions.

What to do if you disagree with cancellation charges
The potential cost of cancelling your car insurance early can be quite significant.

If you think you have been unfairly charged — or if you have to cancel because of what you think is a mistake on the insurer’s part — you can complain to the company directly.

Ask for an address for customer services, and write giving clear details of your case — such as what happened, when, and why you think you have been charged too much.

Even if fees are laid out in the policy booklet, you may be able to challenge them.

Keep a record of anyone you speak to, and of the letters you send. If you use Special Delivery, you’ll have proof they’ve been received.
Whether you’re looking for a full coverage car insurance policy or liability coverage only, nobody wants to overpay. And the best way to get the cheapest car insurance possible is by comparing car insurance quotes — and the companies offering them.

» SIGN UP: Find savings on your car expenses

To get you started, NerdWallet looked at car insurance prices across the country for different driver profiles and coverage levels. We’ve sliced the data in several ways to give you an idea of average costs and what factors might nudge your car insurance rate up — or even better, down.

Cheapest overall: Liability-only car insurance
Cheapest of the big car insurance companies
Check out smaller insurers, too
Cheapest car insurance in your state
How to get the cheapest possible insurance
Cheapest overall: Liability-only car insurance
The cheapest car insurance will often be the minimum coverage required in your state, which in most states is liability insurance. Liability insurance covers property damage and medical bills for others due to accidents you cause. Some states require additional or alternative coverage, such as personal injury protection.

Full coverage car insurance is more expensive and often comes with a deductible, a set amount you are responsible for if you file a claim. But it also provides more expansive coverage for your car, like if it’s stolen or damaged, whether by you, a hit-and-run driver or a fallen tree.

To get an idea of the cheapest car insurance rates, period, we looked at quotes from available carriers for the minimum required insurance in each state. Then, we compared it to the average cost of full coverage car insurance to show the difference in cost.
Average rates can give you an idea of pricing in your state for minimum or full coverage car insurance policies, but that says little about the companies available to you.

Cheapest of the big car insurance companies
Just five car insurance companies make up more than 55% of the U.S. market. They include Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm, which are available to anyone, as well as USAA, the insurer for active military members, veterans and their families.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s ranking of the best car insurance companies

Since most people choose one of these large insurers, NerdWallet compared quotes from the five largest auto companies in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include minimum coverage required in each state, plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 30-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier. Use the tabs to see rates for drivers with credit in the “poor” tier and those with one at-fault accident as reported to the insurer.

Keep in mind these are averages from across the country, so rates in your area will differ.
1. Geico
Geico NW
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $1,177/year
Good driver, poor credit: $1,901/year
One at-fault accident: $2,225/year
Among the biggest four car insurers, our data indicates Geico is often the cheapest. Not only was Geico the cheapest for drivers with good credit and no moving violations, it was also cheapest for drivers with poor credit. However, drivers with a recent at-fault accident might see significantly higher quotes from Geico compared to other insurers.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s Geico review

2. State Farm
State Farm car insurance
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $1,366/year
Good driver, poor credit: $2,867/year
One at-fault accident: $1,637/year
State Farm was the second-cheapest for good drivers, but it also came in cheapest for drivers with one at-fault accident — nearly $600 per year cheaper than Geico in that category. State Farm also beats Geico, Progressive and Allstate in NerdWallet’s ranking of best car insurance companies.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s State Farm review

3. Progressive
Progressive_genericlogo
NerdWallet’s rating: 3.5 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $1,726/year
Good driver, poor credit: $3,056/year
One at-fault accident: $3,024/year
Progressive isn’t the cheapest in this large national analysis, but that only illustrates the importance of shopping around. In many states, Progressive had some of the lowest rates for all of our 2018 driver profiles.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s Progressive review

4. Allstate
Allstate2018
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $1,812/year
Good driver, poor credit: $3,054/year
One at-fault accident: $2,719/year
Allstate averaged more than others in this list for good drivers, but it was cheaper than Progressive for drivers with an at-fault accident or poor credit.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s Allstate review

Cheapest for military-affiliated families: USAA
usaa-logo-320×229
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.5 / 5

National average rates:
Good driver: $870/year
Good driver, poor credit: $1,654/year
One at-fault accident: $1,162/year
USAA is only available to veterans, active military members and their families, so we didn’t rank it against the others. Even so, we found it to be the cheapest, by far, among large companies for all categories.

» READ MORE: NerdWallet’s USAA review

Check out smaller insurers, too
Finding cheap car insurance doesn’t mean you have to stick with large insurance companies. Regional and small insurers may beat the lowest offers from the big guys. For example:

Grange Insurance, which is available in 13 states through independent agents, came in cheaper than USAA in all three of the above categories. The average rate for good drivers was only $566 per year.
Erie Insurance, available in 12 states and the District of Columbia, had an average rate of $759 per year for good drivers. Bonus points: Erie locks in your initial rate for four years and ranks fourth among our best companies. Read our Erie Insurance review for more information.
Country Financial is available in 19 states and returned an average rate of $940 per year for good drivers. It was also cheaper than the big four (but not USAA) for drivers with at-fault accidents and poor credit.
How to get the cheapest possible insurance
No matter who your auto insurance company is, here are tips for saving on your policy:

Look for discounts — even ask for them. There could be discounts you’re not taking advantage of. For instance, maybe you retired and are driving less than when you bought your policy. Mention it and you might get a low-mileage discount.
Rethink insurance limits and deductibles. A higher collision and comprehensive deductible might make sense if you rarely drive or are financially comfortable with the risk. Raising deductibles means you’d owe more out of pocket if you had to file a comprehensive or collision claim, but it’s a surefire way to get cheaper car insurance.
Know when to cut coverage. Don’t strip away coverage just for the sake of a lower price. You’ll need full coverage car insurance to satisfy the terms of an auto loan, and you’ll want it as long as your car would be a financial burden to replace. But for older cars, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage, which only pay out up to your car’s current value, minus the deductible.
Cash in on major life changes. Certain life events could translate to cheaper car insurance. For instance, many companies offer a lower rate for married couples or domestic partners. Or perhaps you moved to a suburb with lower accident and crime rates. If your risk for accidents goes down, your rates just might, too