Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Every car insurance company has a set policy term for your coverage when you sign up for insurance
  • It is your right as a policyholder to cancel your insurance at any time that you choose
  • Even if the term of your car insurance policy is set for 12 months, you could plan to cancel your policy early by simply telling your car insurance company
  • You may only need coverage for a certain period of time if you plan to stop driving your car after that
  • You can pick up coverage when you need it again or change to another insurance company when you choose

While each car insurance company has its own policy terms for the effective dates of your policy, you do not necessarily have to keep insurance with that same company for the entire term.

If you stop your coverage early, you just need to tell the insurer. Six months is a very popular term for auto insurance, so your policy may already be available in a 6-month interval.

Find the best 6-month auto insurance policies today by entering your zip in our search box above!

How Policy Terms Work for Car Insurance

Your car insurance coverage is not indefinite. Your insurer will set a specific term for when you are covered.

The effective dates of your policy tell you when your coverage starts and when it ceases.

You will notice that many companies choose to sell insurance in intervals of either 6 or twelve months.

At the end of a policy term, the insurance company may decide to raise your rates if there has been an accident during the previous term or if you have received a traffic ticket.

You will get a written notice in the mail from the insurance company about changes in your rates and coverages for the next policy term. You can choose to accept them or try out using another car insurance company.

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How You Can End Your Car Insurance Policy Early

It is your right as the policyholder to tell your insurance company that you are choosing to end your insurance early.

You might encounter a situation where you do not need insurance, such as if you will be deployed overseas in the military and will not need to drive your car.

If you plan to travel outside of the country for an extended period of time and do not need to drive, this is also a good reason to cancel your coverage early.

As soon as you cancel, you are no longer covered by that insurer. Any claims that you have from that point forward would need to be submitted through your new car insurance company.

While you are probably looking forward to having your insurance bills stopped, you are still obligated to get the right coverage if you are going to drive your car on a public road.

This is why it is recommended that you not make the call to cancel your existing coverage until you are absolutely sure that you have your next coverage in place.

If you are only looking to temporarily suspend your car insurance coverage, let your agent know about your situation. They can make sure that your coverage resumes when you are ready to start driving again.

What happens to your current insurance if you switch to another car insurance company in the middle of a policy term?

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One of the top reasons to switch your insurance company is that you might get a better rate. You might also want to combine all of your insurance policies into one — like homeowner’s and auto —with the same insurer because of the bundling discounts offered.

This is called an umbrella insurance policy. For the right people, it can not only lower your monthly insurance bills but also grant you greater protection.

You can also get major discounts by purchasing all your insurance policies from a single company.

The more companies you consult for a quote, the more options you will have in maintaining the proper amount of coverage for you but not paying more than you absolutely have to for it.

Do not assume that just because you switch to another insurance company that your current insurer has any notice that you no longer wish to be insured through them.

They may continue to send you a bill for your premium if they do not get some indication from you that you no longer want coverage.

Even if you make a phone call to your current insurer, it is best to have some sort of written document that your coverage is no longer active through them.

If you are wondering what happens to the premium that you paid for your current policy when you cancel it early, the answer is that you get the unapplied part back.

There may be a small cost for this, but you will be able to get a check back from the insurer for the part of your premium that was not used. This mostly applies if you paid your premium up front instead of in monthly payments.

The Final Word on Getting Car Insurance for Only 6 Months

It is generally possible to get car insurance for any period of time. If you need to stop your coverage before the end of the current insurance term under your policy, a call to your insurance agent will get the process started.

If you plan to still drive, then it is necessary to have your next policy lined up.

You will not pay your current insurer for the amount of your paid premium that remains unapplied to your coverage.

Enter your zip below now to start comparing 6-month and twelve-month car insurance quotes!