A cooling-off period is a window of time you get to change your mind after buying something.
By law, a lot of products have to offer you a cooling-off period. Car insurance is one of them.
If you’ve just bought a car insurance policy, here’s everything you need to know about your cooling-off period.
If you want to cancel a car insurance policy early, you usually have to pay a cancellation fee. Different insurers charge different fees.
If you cancel during your cooling-off period, you might still have to pay a fee - but it’s sometimes lower than it would be after the cooling-off period.
When you cancel car insurance, you’ll get a refund on any payments you’ve made (as long as you haven’t made a claim).
But your insurer will keep some of the refund to cover the time you’ve been insured. Plus a bit more for the cancellation fee (if you need to pay one).
This applies during the cooling-off period, too. If you pay for the whole year up front, and you cancel after a week, you’ll get a refund for the cost of 51 weeks’ insurance. (Minus any other fees you have to pay.)
Cooling-off periods vary a bit between insurers. But it’s usually 14 days from either:
Most of the time, it’s whichever of those two things is later.
You can check when your cooling-off period starts in your policy documents. It’s usually listed under a section called something like “Your right to cancel”.
Cooling-off periods kick in when the policy starts, but car insurance policies don’t have to start straight away. If you’ve arranged for it to start, say, a month in the future, your cooling-off period won’t start for a month.
And if you cancel your policy before it actually starts, you usually won’t have to pay any fees at all.
Most car insurance policies renew automatically. If you decide to stick with your insurance company when it’s time to renew, you’ll start a new cooling-off period.
During this new cooling-off period, the same rules around cancellation fees apply.
Even if you pay monthly for your insurance, you’ll still get a cooling-off period.
That’s because, if you pay monthly for car insurance, you’re still getting a full year of insurance. You’re just paying it off in instalments. Like a loan.
There are a few exceptions to this. Our monthly subscription car insurance doesn’t come with a cooling-off period, but that’s because it’s not a full policy paid in monthly instalments. You’re only committing to a month at a time, and you can cancel at any time without any fees.
If you have any optional extras with your car insurance - like breakdown cover - these sometimes come with their own cooling-off period.
To double-check, have a look at the policy documents for the optional extra. (it’s usually separate to your main car insurance policy documents).
Like your car insurance policy, breakdown cover - and most other optional extras - usually renew automatically. So if you do let it renew after a year, you’ll start another cooling-off period.
Things are a little different with temporary car insurance. If you want to cancel, you won’t normally get a refund.
Updated on 11th November 2020