Cancelling your serious illness cover and the cooling-off period explained
Caoimhe Bermingham
Staff Writer

You are legally allowed to cancel your serious illness cover whenever you desire. 

By terminating your policy, you won’t receive a tax-free lump sum from your insurer if you were to be diagnosed with a serious illness. 

To ensure you are making the right decision by cancelling your plan and to make sure you do it correctly, we have created this guide to answer any queries you may have about the process. 

This is the third guide in our five-part serious illness cover Quickstart Guide series. In this piece, we explain the cooling-off period and outline the cancellation process you must follow if you choose to end your policy. 

The right to change your mind

You are free to cancel your serious illness cover whenever you see fit. If you choose to cancel your policy within the first 30 days of purchasing it, your insurance provider will refund you any payments that you have made towards your premium. 

This 30-day period of grace is known as the cooling-off period. It begins on your policy start date, or from when you receive your policy documents, whichever comes later.  

Will I get a refund if I cancel after the cooling-off period?

If you opt to cancel your cover after the cooling-off period, you will not get a refund on any of the premiums you have paid. 

To uncover what you are entitled to you should check the terms and conditions of your policy as it will differ from insurer to insurer. 

If you are able to get a refund, you may not receive the full amount as it may be subject to charges associated with the cancellation process, such as administration fees. 

How do I cancel my new policy?

You will need to contact your insurance provider and inform them about your desire to terminate your policy. 

You should not assume that simply cancelling your direct debit payments to your insurer is enough, as it isn’t. You need to send them a written & dated declaration signed by yourself, and anyone else on the policy, to confirm you want to end your serious illness cover. 

If you are considering cancelling your cover we recommend speaking with a financial adviser first as you will no longer be able to make a claim once it is cancelled. 

I want to switch to another policy, when should I cancel my existing cover?

If you want to move to a different serious illness policy, we recommend that you only cancel your existing policy once your new one is up and running. This is because your new application could be declined or delayed, meaning you would be left without cover if you acquire a serious illness during this period. 

It’s important to be aware that if you have aged significantly or have fallen ill since you signed up for your original plan you may not be able to get a new policy that has the benefits and price range you want. 

This is why you need to explore your options to ensure you are able to get a new policy before you cancel your current one. 

Why do people cancel their life insurance policy?

People cancel their serious illness cover for an array of different reasons. For example, you may decide to end your policy if: 

1. You left out important information.

If you provided inaccurate or false information to your insurer when your policy was being drawn up your policy will be invalid. This means you are not protected by your policy and will be unable to make a claim. 

2. It has become too expensive.

If you added indexation to your policy or if it is on a variable rate, the cost of your policy will increase over time. This may result in your premium becoming too costly for you, so much so that you want to cancel your policy. 

3. You no longer require this type of cover.

Having critical illness insurance may not be necessary if:

  • Your employer will provide you with a payout if you become ill
  • You have enough savings to cover yourself if you receive a diagnosis 
  • You already have a health or income insurance policy in place that protects you if you are diagnosed with a serious illness.

4. It may not be the right insurance you need.

Other forms of insurance such as life, health or income insurance may offer you better-suited cover to suit your needs, then your serious illness cover. 

5. Your plan may not offer you the cover you desire.

It may be in your best interests to cancel your policy if it doesn't cover a particular illness, or if it offers a level of cover that is not satisfactory to you. By cancelling it, you can purchase a policy that is better suited to your needs.

If I cancel my policy now, can I get the same level of cover years later?

The cost of serious illness insurance and the level of cover you will receive later in life will depend on your age, health, job, and new insurance company.

If you decide to cancel your policy now, to only reinstate it later in life you need to be aware that the cost of your premium will most likely be more expensive as you will be older, and therefore at a bigger risk of making a claim. 

You may also no longer be eligible for certain benefits that are on your current policy due to your health. 

Can my insurer cancel my policy?


Your insurer is legally allowed to cancel your policy if you provide false or inaccurate information when applying for your cover or if you fail to keep up with your insurance payments. 

Discover the right serious illness cover for you on 

Did you know you can apply for specified illness cover on our site? 

Simply enter your details and requirements into our free and easy-to-use serious illness comparison tool. We will compare the best value standalone policies and rates available for you from Ireland’s leading insurers

If you want to combine your serious illness cover with your mortgage protection or life insurance policy, you have the option to do this when applying for these types of cover on

But why stop there? You can also find the best value deals across energy, broadband, banking, and other insurance products by using the other comparison tools we offer. 

Check out our guides

If you found this guide helpful, take a look at the other articles in the serious illness Quickstart series. 

You can keep up to date with our latest insurance news by reading our blogs and guide pages. 

Help is on hand

If you’ve any questions about applying for serious illness cover, contact our team today on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.