There are many instances where an insurance policy can be canceled, either by the insurance company or policyholder. However, most policies are written for a specified term, and there are restrictions limiting when the policy can be terminated before that term is completed.
Cancellation by the Insurance Company:
Generally, the insurance company has no right to cancel an insurance policy unless the policy itself explicitly reserves and ensures their right to do so. Thus, it is not uncommon for a provision to be included in the policy that allows the insurance company to cancel a policy upon certain terms and conditions.
In the absence of such a provision, the insurance company only be able to cancel a policy if there are valid grounds, such as:
- The insurance company discovers the policyholder has made a fraudulent claim
- The insurance company discovers the policyholder lied or used false documentation in applying for the policy;
- Other factors that indicate the policy holder poses a substantial risk to the insurance company
Even where cancellation is allowed, either by a provision in the policy or based on other grounds, the insurance company will normally be required to give the policyholder notice of cancellation within a reasonable amount of time before termination.
Cancellation by the Policyholder:
The policy holder can terminate an insurance policy at the end of the term by either:
- Failing to pay premiums once the designated term for the policy has run
- Canceling the policy midterm
Like the insurance company, the policyholder is not obligated beyond the term specified by the policy. Thus, the policyholder can cancel the policy by simply not paying to renew it. It is possible to cancel a policy midterm. However, in order to do so, the policyholder will have to meet certain requirements.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you believe your insurance policy has been unlawfully canceled, or your insurance company is refusing to allow a proper cancellation, you should contact an insurance lawyer. Insurance policies are detailed and complex and an attorney with experience in dealing with insurance companies will be able to protect your rights.