How Do You Cancel Your Auto Insurance in New York?

Last Updated on January 6, 2023

If you need to cancel your auto insurance in New York, then you have several options.

You could call your insurance company to cancel your policy. Or, you could cancel online. Some insurers require written notice, while others do not.

Some insurers offer a refund on unused auto insurance premiums, while others charge a cancellation fee. Some make it hard to cancel, while others make it easy to switch to a new insurer.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to cancel auto insurance in New York.

Table of Contents:

How to Cancel Auto Insurance in New York

Some people cancel auto insurance to switch to a cheaper provider. Others cancel auto insurance because they no longer plan to drive.

Whatever the reason for cancellation, most insurers in New York make it easy to cancel auto insurance.

Typically, you can cancel auto insurance in any of the following ways:

  • Call your insurance company
  • Log in to your online account or mobile app
  • Contact your local insurance agent
  • Send written notice to your insurance company by email or mail

Most insurers provide a refund on unused car insurance premiums. If you prepaid for your auto insurance upfront, for example, then you could receive a refund on premiums you have already paid.

When to Cancel Auto Insurance in New York

You can generally cancel auto insurance at any time.

However, the best time to cancel auto insurance is during the renewal period, which occurs every 6 to 12 months. During your renewal period, your insurer chooses to cancel or renew your policy. If you cancel auto insurance during this time, then you can avoid any cancellation fees, refund issues, or problems with getting back your unused premiums.

Call your insurance company before your renewal date and tell them you wish to cancel your auto insurance policy on your renewal date.

However, if you wish to cancel before your renewal date, you’re free to do so. Most insurers allow you to cancel in the middle of a policy without penalty. Check your insurance policy or contact your insurer to verify any cancellation fees or other potential charges.

Do You Get a Refund on Unused Car Insurance Premiums in New York?

You could receive a complete refund if you cancel your car insurance policy mid-term in New York. Or, your insurer could charge a cancellation fee. Different insurers have different cancellation policies.

Most insurers make it easy to cancel a car insurance policy mid-term and receive a full refund. Most large insurers have competitive cancellation policies, and few of America’s largest insurers charge cancellation fees.

However, if you’re working with a smaller insurer, a specialty insurer, or a high-risk insurer, you’re more likely to face cancellation fees.

How Car Insurance Refunds Work in New York

There are four broad refund options when canceling car insurance in New York:

  1. Canceling at Renewal Date (No Refund Required): If you cancel your car insurance policy at your renewal date (which should occur every 6 to 12 months), you have used your entire car insurance policy, and no refund is required. You and your insurer can go your separate ways, and your insurer should not charge any cancellation fees.
  2. Cancelling Mid-Term with Full Refund: Most major insurers provide a full refund on unused car insurance premiums when you cancel in the middle of your term. Your insurer should refund any unused car insurance premiums pro-rated to the date of cancellation. If you pay $300 per month for car insurance and cancel on November 25, you would receive a refund of $50 for the five remaining days of unused car insurance premiums.
  3. Cancelling Mid-Term with Short-Rated Refund: Some insurers provide a full refund on unused car insurance premiums, but they short-rate your refund instead of pro-rating your refund. Your insurer may claim the first few months of your car insurance policy were priced higher, for example, because of the costs of onboarding you as a client. If you paid $600 for six months of car insurance and cancel after month 2, for example, you may not receive a full refund of $400. Your refund may be smaller because your insurer is short-rating your refund.
  4. Cancelling Mid-Term with Cancellation Fees & Other Penalties: Some insurers in New York have a strict cancellation policy when canceling mid-term. They might charge a cancellation fee of 10% of remaining premiums, for example, or other fees. Suppose you paid $600 for six months of car insurance and cancel after month 2, for example. In that case, you might receive a refund of $400 minus a cancellation fee of $40, or 10% of remaining unused premiums, giving you a total refund of $360.

Overall, most insurers provide a full, pro-rated refund when canceling mid-term. However, contact your insurer to verify the cancellation policy.

How to Avoid a Lapse in Car Insurance

To avoid a lapse in car insurance, ensure your new car insurance policy begins on the date your old policy ends (assuming you intend to continue driving).

When you cancel car insurance, your car insurance policy ends at 12:01am on the date of cancellation. That means your new policy needs to begin on that same date to avoid a lapse in car insurance coverage.

Many drivers in New York have made the mistake of starting their new car insurance policy one day after the date of cancellation, leaving them with a one-day lapse in car insurance.

Final Word on Canceling Insurance in New York

Most insurers in New York make it easy to cancel auto insurance. You contact your insurer at any point, tell them the date of cancellation, and receive a refund on unused premiums.

However, some insurers have stricter cancellation policies. Some require notice in writing, while others charge cancellation fees and other penalties.

Contact your New York insurance company to verify the cancellation policy and any cancellation fees.

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  1. Jodie says:

    Do I need to show proof to the insurance company that I have given my vehicle to my child, in order to cancel???? If my child already added insurance to the vehicle, what do I need to do?

    1. New York Motor Insurance says:

      Hi Jodie,
      It’s not real clear what you’re situation is and what you’re trying to do, but here’s a few scenarios. If you have permanently given your car to your child, as in you sold the vehicle and transferred the title to him, then you can cancel your policy and your child should have their own policy, since the vehicle is (or should be) titled in their name. If you have other vehicles and have an active policy, then you can just drop the vehicle that your child has from your own policy. Either way, you shouldn’t have to show proof to the insurance company, but you do want to make sure that the vehicle is titled and insured under your child’s name.

  2. J.j. says:

    I sold my used car to my gf in New Jersey and she was able to get insurance but can’t go to dmv until they open back up. Can I still cancel my insurance In New York or do I need to wait until dmv opens back upstairs

  3. alex pasquariello says:

    is it necessary to turn in plates in NY if you cancel insurance, or can they be kept on the vehicle with or without reduced rate of comp coverage

    in other words is it necessary to turn in plates when cancelling?

  4. Marie Sarkissian says:

    My father is now in a nursing home with dementia. I had his car towed and junked since the transmission failed and there were other issues with it. He has insurance through Geico. I took the plates off the car. People are telling me that I need to submit the plates in order to be able to cancel his auto insurance. How does this work? I’m in Colorado and in possession of his plates. This happened right before I had to go home. I didn’t have time to bring the plates in to the DMV. I have no idea how it works in NY. Please help

  5. joan O'Halloran says:

    Can a driver listed on policy (like a 23 yo on a parents registed car) cancel the policy if he shows proof that this NY registered car had insurance in another state under that 23 yo’s name?