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When is the best time to renew car insurance?

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If you want to get cheap car insurance – or, at the very least, the best price for your profile – you should be careful about when you choose to renew your cover. 

But when is the best time to renew your car insurance? And why are some increases in cover unavoidable? We explain all of this and more in our guide below.


  • You should try to renew your car insurance no later than three weeks before your policy expires
  • You’ll pay more for car insurance the closer you are to your renewal date
  • Your policy will most likely auto-renew if you don’t tell your existing company you’re going to switch providers

When is the cheapest time to renew your car insurance?

While there are many recommendations for the best time to renew your car insurance, they all boil down to the same advice: you should renew no later than three weeks before your policy expires. 

If you arrange a new policy with less than three weeks on your existing premium, you’ll end up unnecessarily paying more for your car insurance. 

Why is it more expensive to renew car insurance at the last minute?

The more urgently you need a service and the less time you have to shop around, the more comfortable a provider will be in upping the price – and a car insurance company is no different. The closer you get to your expiry date, the more desperate you’ll be to get cover in place, and therefore, the more providers may charge. 

Providers will also identify you as a less responsible, riskier driver if you wait until the last minute to renew your car insurance. And the riskier your profile, the more you’ll pay for cover.


Even if you do everything right, such as renewing within three weeks, building up a no-claims bonus and reducing your mileage, you may still find the cost of your car insurance increases at the point of renewal.


It could be because you’ve moved house to a statistically riskier location or have started a new job that comes with higher premiums. Or it could have nothing to do with your driving profile at all.


That’s because, unfortunately, inflation and rising costs have pushed car insurance premiums to record highs – and renewing customers have been hit harder than those switching to a new provider.


Between October and December 2023, the average renewed comprehensive car insurance policy cost £584, according to the ABI, which is a 36 per cent increase from the same time the year before. That’s a much steeper increase than the 28 per cent rise seen in the cost of policies taken out with a new provider.

Can I stop my car insurance from auto-renewing?

Not only is it possible to stop your car insurance from auto-renewing, but it’s arguably the most sensible step to take.

Most policies will be set to auto-renew as standard. This means that if you don’t do anything at the end of your policy, you’ll be moved onto a new and likely more expensive premium with the same provider.

Typically, your provider will contact you around three to four weeks before your policy ends to let you know it’s about to expire and tell you how much your new premium will cost. At the same time, you should start shopping around to see if a better deal is available.

Once you’ve done your research, you could either allow your policy to auto-renew, try to negotiate a better price with your existing provider or let it know you don’t want to auto-renew, as you’ve found a cheaper deal elsewhere. You normally need to do this over the phone.

Can I save money by switching car insurance providers?

While you’re not guaranteed to find a cheaper price by switching car insurance providers, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to save money by shopping around. And with premiums on the rise, more and more people are choosing this route to find a better deal. 

In the final three months of last year, the ABI reported that new policies made up 45 per cent of the total number of premiums, up from 41 per cent in the previous six months. 

How can I get cheaper car insurance?

Shopping around and comparing a wide range of car insurance providers isn’t the only way to get cheaper car insurance. There are steps you can take before and after renewing to try to keep costs down in the long term:

Before renewingWhile driving
If you can, pay annually rather than monthly to avoid interestDrive carefully and responsibly, especially if you have a black box monitoring your habits
Consider a black box insurance policy if you meet the criteriaProtect your no-claims bonus, potentially paying for small repairs yourself instead of making a claim
Go through past MOT certificates to accurately estimate your annual mileageIf you can, park your car in a private driveway or garage overnight
If you’re a new or young driver, add an older named driver to your policyReduce your annual mileage if possible – you may eventually be eligible for cheaper low-mileage car insurance
If you’re considering buying a new car, look for one in a lower insurance group
Increase your voluntary excess but only to a level you can realistically afford in the event of a claim
Don’t add every optional extra available – only add the ones you think suit your driving habits
Consider multi-car insurance if your household has more than one vehicle

Best time to renew your car insurance FAQs

If you find a significantly cheaper deal elsewhere, it’s possible to switch car insurance providers mid-policy. However, you’ll most likely need to pay a cancellation fee to do so.

You can cancel your car insurance policy at any time. However, you may incur a fee.

  • If you cancel your policy within the 14-day cooling-off period but before your cover starts, you’ll likely be refunded the full premium, as well as any arrangement fees
  • If you cancel within the cooling-off period and your cover has started, you’ll be refunded for the time left on the premium, potentially minus an arrangement fee
  • If you cancel after 14 days, you’ll be refunded for the time left on your policy, typically minus a cancellation fee

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.