Does car insurance automatically renew?

It is illegal to drive without car insurance, so insurers should give you the option to opt-in to auto-renewal at the start of your policy to avoid any fines or criminal charges. However, your insurer can’t auto-renew your policy without telling you.

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Should I opt in for auto car insurance renewal? 

Many choose to opt in for auto-renewal on their car insurance so that they don’t need to worry about forgetting to get a new policy. It can be a lot easier this way, because you don’t have the hassle of searching the market for another deal and the paperwork of moving your insurance over to a new provider. However, it can end up being much more expensive because you’re not shopping around for the best deals.  

Once you are with a specific provider on an auto-renewing policy, it’s likely that they’ll put the price up each year. 

Although it can take a little time, it’s worth finding out what your current insurer can offer when it's time to renew your policy. But be sure to check car insurance quotes from other providers because most of them offer the best deals to new customers.

Negotiate a better deal 

Just because your policy auto-renews doesn’t mean that you’ll get exactly the same level of cover or be paying the same amount. You may find that: 

  • your premium has gone up  
  • you are no longer covered for something you were previously, like windscreen protection 

Before you’re due for renewal, check your new policy with your provider. If you’re not happy with it but would rather stay with them, you can always try and negotiate a better price. Explain to them that you’re a loyal customer and ask what they can do for you.  

My car insurance has automatically renewed, can I cancel? 

Although any insurer can auto-renew your insurance policy, they must let you know. 

Check your policy document carefully, because any information about auto-renewal will be in there. You can also call your insurer and ask them to clarify any parts that you don’t understand.  

By law, they are also required to tell you:

  • how much you paid last year, so you can easily see the difference in price compared to your new premium 
  • to shop around for the best deal, if you have already renewed your policy four times in a row 

Once your insurance has auto-renewed, things become more complicated. You do enter a new ‘cooling-off period,’ because you are technically under a new contract. So, you can still cancel within 14 days of the policy renewal. 

However, you may have to pay a fee to cancel even during this time, so it’s worth canceling ahead of the auto-renewal date. If you cancel after the cooling-off period, the fee may be significantly higher.

Usually, an insurance policy will run for 12 months, so making a note of when it is due to renew will help you avoid this. 

Can I change car insurance before renewal date? 

Yes – you have a few options available before your renewal date. You can shop around for better deals or speak to your current provider and see if they can offer a competitive price for loyal customers. A renewal notice will usually be sent out to you between 21 and 30 days before your policy expires by post or email. This should be plenty of time for you to find out what else is on the market.  

Note: If you haven’t received your renewal notice within 21 days of your policy renewing, it may be best to check with your provider – just in case it got lost in the post or never got sent due to an administration error.  

How do I stop my car insurance renewal? 

You’re not obligated to opt-in for auto-renewal, so if this isn’t something that you’re interested in you can simply let your provider know that you don’t wish for your insurance to auto-renew. Either call them or email them, so that you have a record showing that you’ve contacted them to do this. They should also send you confirmation of having cancelled your autorenewal, either by email or post.  

What is the best time to renew car insurance? 

The average policy lasts for 12 months, but it is best to give good notice if you’re planning to renew. Anywhere between 21-26 days before your policy expires is best, as this is when premiums are cheapest.

Some insurance providers ask you to tell them a specific amount of time before your policy ends, for example, at least two weeks, to give them time to process the administration required in cancelling your autorenewal. If you tell them the day before, it may cause them (and you) all sorts of problems.   

Do I lose my no-claims bonus if I switch providers? 

No – you take your no-claims bonus with you when you change to a different provider. That is, as long as you haven’t made a claim. The reason for this is that cancelling your policy and not renewing it are different things. If you were to cancel mid-way through your contract, you would lose the no-claims bonus that you’ve built up over the course of that year. 

It’s also worth noting that your no-claims will expire after two years if you haven’t taken out a new policy, so if you want to keep hold of it, even if you’re having a break from driving, then you’ll need to take out a new policy

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Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.