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Car insurance non-disclosure

Non-disclosure is, through intent or ignorance, failing to disclose essential information to your insurance provider when getting a quote for a new policy. By entering a contract, both parties have a duty to be honest with each other.

Deliberately choosing to not disclose information counts as fraud and is a criminal offence. But what types of information? And what happens if you don’t disclose something? Find out all about non-disclosure in our handy guide.

In This Guide:

What constitutes non-disclosure?

We’ve listed some common types of non-disclosure here – you’ll get the gist, it’s a very broad spectrum:

  • Incorrectly naming a driver on a policy
  • Incorrectly stating the age of a driver
  • Misinformation on whether the car is for business or personal use
  • Supplying an incorrect make and model of the car
  • Not disclosing medical conditions such as poor eyesight
  • Not disclosing any previous fines or points on a licence
  • Not disclosing any collisions or accidents
  • Incorrect information on past offences or incidents

When you’re looking for cheap car insurance, it could be tempting to provide a few white lies to get your quote down. You might be thinking: do they really need to know that I sometimes use the car for work purposes, as well as recreational use? How would they know? Telling them that will just increase my premium! Well, to avoid a non-disclosure verdict it’s important that you take care to supply accurate information because you’re about to find out what happens if you don’t…

What happens if I don’t disclose information?

Non-disclosure is often split into two categories: innocent and intentional. There are procedures in place to safeguard you in the event of innocent non-disclosure – this may be when a misrepresentation, or misinformation, was a genuine error and mistake with no intent to manipulate or provide false information.

Punishments for non-disclosure depend on the severity and can range from invalidation of cover, cancellation of your policy, fines, penalty points, a criminal record or a prison sentence. So, make sure you provide all information as accurately as you can.

Fronting

The most frequent type of non-disclosure is fronting, when a high-risk additional driver has a vehicle whose policy is under a low-risk main driver’s name. Parents will often do this in order for their child to get cheaper car insurance. However, it’s illegal and a type of fraud, and can land you on the more severe end of the punishment scale.

Medical conditions

If you don’t disclose certain medical conditions to your car insurance provider, it could invalidate your policy. If you’re not sure what type of medical conditions you need to inform them of, then you can always check with the DVLA and they’ll be able to tell you what conditions insurers need to be notified about.

The big one car insurance companies want to know about is poor eyesight (they’re less interested in acne, for instance), but it’s always best to check. It could invalidate your policy if you’re involved in an incident as a result of a medical condition that you haven’t disclosed.

The consumer insurance act

The Consumer Insurance Act 2012 was brought in to help consumers avoid cases of non-disclosure. Instead of vague ambiguity, the onus was placed more on the insurance companies to explicitly set out the information they want to know about their drivers before they take out a policy. The burden of proof is on them, instead, to highlight where the consumer supplied inaccurate or misleading information.

We as customers can’t predict every bit of information an insurance company wants to know in a risk assessment, and prior to this act insurers could state a non-disclosure for something the customer wasn’t even asked. We know – it’s crazy this act only came in so recently!

What happens if my policy is cancelled?

You can go to the financial ombudsman if you believe it to be an unreasonable decision that your car insurance has been cancelled on the grounds of non-disclosure. If, however, you’re unsuccessful, you may find it harder to get car insurance in the future.

Some providers may refuse to insure you, while others may charge you more on your annual premium. You must declare that you have had a policy cancelled when you’re being quoted for a new car insurance deal, otherwise you’ll get trapped in a non-disclosure cycle.

Be smart: you can always find cheaper car insurance by using our price comparison tool, and if you’re seeing higher premiums because of information you’ve supplied then be on the lookout for new customer offers – switching providers always gets you the best deal.

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