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How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Refund Unearned Premium?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question, Research Last Updated: 08/15/2011

Premium that you have overpaid to an insurance company is not theirs and should be returned immediately.

When you pay for your insurance, the insurance company generally makes you pay for the coverage in advance. It doesn’t matter what payment plan you are on, they want to make sure that they get their money before they provide you with insurance coverage. This is to make sure that if you have a claim and cancel your policy that you have already paid for your coverage for the day of the accident.

On the consumer side, when you cancel your insurance policy and you have paid premium for coverage that you have not used yet; you are owed a refund immediately. There is no specific timeframe that an insurance premium has to be returned, but insurance companies are expected to process refunds in a “reasonable amount of time”.

If you have not received your refund, contact the insurance company to find out why you don’t have it yet. Second, if they claim that you are not owed a refund demand (nicely) to be sent a billing breakdown showing how much your pro-rated premium was each day and how many days you paid for.

If the breakdown shows that you are owed a refund and the insurance company still won’t pay, file a complaint with your state Insurance Commissioner. In the state of Washington the Insurance Commissioner has fined insurance companies and agents for not refunding unearned insurance premiums to former customers within a reasonable amount of time.

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Michele Wilmonen

Michele’s first introduction to insurance was working for a major insurance company as a file clerk and a mailroom supervisor in a regional office. She learned insurance directly from underwriters and claims adjusters from questions and also watching them do their job. Since then, she’s earned a number of insurance certifications from the Insurance Institute of America and also a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho. She blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

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