Although state laws vary, many states allow insurance carriers to cancel an insurance policy so long as proper notice is given. On average, this notice can range from no notice at all up to 60 days. In contrast, the insured party can often cancel his policy at any time.
The circumstances in which an insurance carrier can end your coverage usually depend on the type of policy and state law. For example, in Massachusetts, an auto insurance company must give an insured party 20 days' advance notice of cancellation. In Wisconsin, many insurance carriers are required to provide 10 days' advance notice. In Florida, property insurance carriers have to give 20 days' advance notice unless you made an intentional misrepresentation on your application or otherwise didn't comply with underwriting requirements.
In addition to being able to cancel insurance policies midterm, insurance companies can often cancel policies at other times, depending on state law. For example, if you fail to make a payment, violate conditions of the policy, or misrepresent or fail to disclose important information, the carrier can usually cancel the policy at any time so long as proper notice is given. A carrier can also typically cancel a policy within the first 60 days of issuance, on average, for any reason.
- State of Massachusetts, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation: Frequently Asked Questions on Auto Insurance
- Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance: Fact Sheet on Insurance Terminations, Denials, and Cancellations
- Illinois Department of Insurance: If Your Automobile Insurance is Canceled
- State of Florida, Chief Financial Officer: Florida Consumers’ Notice of Rights Residential Property Insurance
- University of Maryland, Graduate Student Legal Aid Office: Auto Accidents and Insurance
Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.