The answer depends largely on the total cost of your policy, how much you’ve already paid into it, and whether the policy has a 6 or 12 month term.
There may also be some policies in place regarding early cancellation and fees that might apply.
Most states have auto insurance laws in place preventing car insurance companies for charging drivers for coverage not provided. And most insurance companies are honorable enough to issue refunds where they are due.
But to cover administrative costs and the filing of state paperwork, some companies may charge you a fee for canceling your insurance policy early.
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What if I’m only in the second month of a six-month policy?
The biggest factor in determining whether or not you’re entitled to a refund is how long and how much you’ve already paid into a policy.
If you paid the entire amount up front, you would be entitled to a refund if you switched insurance companies in the second month of your policy.
The insurance company would refund you four month’s worth of coverage, minus any fees that might apply.
On the other hand, if you’re the type of driver that pays for your insurance monthly or bi-monthly, you may not get a refund.
In some cases, you may even owe your insurance company for any past days of coverage you have not already paid for.
An interesting side note, many times policies that allow monthly payments include cancellation fees to discourage drivers from frequently changing insurance companies.
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How do I get my refund?
If you are entitled to a refund, your insurance agent or company will inform you of that at the time of cancellation.
In this case it’s better to take care of cancellation over the phone so that you can verify whether or not you’re entitled to a refund.
If you are, the representative should be able to explain to you how much the refund will be, what that refund covers, and how long you can expect for it to take before you receive it.
One of the most common ways auto insurance companies issue refunds is to credit you in the same way you paid for your policy.
So, if you paid for your policy with a written check, they will most likely issue you a refund check in return. If you made your payment with a credit or debit card, the insurance company will often simply issue a reverse transaction.
The insurance company will never issue a refund in cash.
What if I disagree with my refund amount?
State law allows for some recourse when customers disagree with actions taken by their insurance companies. However, be advised that laws differ from one state to the next.
There are some states with the government directly overseeing the insurance industry. In many of these states, there are mechanisms in place where customers can appeal to that governing body for relief from their insurance company.
In any case, before you seek legal redress in a disagreement over refund, your best bet to contact your insurance company’s senior management first.
Often times a high ranking management personnel would rather keep you happy than argue with you because they want to protect their name and reputation.
If your disagreement with the insurance company is over how long it will take to receive your refund, that’s a different matter altogether.
Unfortunately, it’s something you have no control over unless it becomes unreasonable.
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