Last updated: 23/09/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
Car insurance declarations and 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 an insurance 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's 'non-disclosure'?
- What happens if I give the wrong information?
- What are common forms of non-disclosure?
- What happens if my policy is cancelled?
- What about The Consumer Insurance Act?
- How to prevent insurance non-disclosure
Non-disclosure is when you do not communicate something relevant correctly or relevant to your car insurance.
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
- Not telling your insurer about penalty points on your license
- 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 collision or accident you've had previously
- Incorrect information on past offences or incidents
- Not disclosing any unspent convictions (a spent conviction doesn't have to be disclosed)
- Making a fraudulent claim
When applying for any type of insurance you are expected to be truthful and not misrepresent yourself, so it is always worth double checking any details you put down when you buy insurance.
What happens if I give the wrong 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, rejection of an insurance claim, cancellation of your policy, fines, penalty points, a criminal record or a prison sentence.
What are common forms of non-disclosure?
The most frequent type of non-disclosure is fronting, when a high-risk, typically young driver is the main driver of a vehicle whose car insurance 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 insurance fraud, and can land you on the more severe end of the punishment scale.
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.
What happens if my policy is cancelled?
Have you had your car insurance cancelled due to non disclosure? 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 cancelled policy when you’re being quoted for a new car insurance deal, otherwise you’ll get trapped in a non-disclosure cycle
What about 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 is placed more on the insurer 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 a car insurance 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!
How to prevent insurance non-disclosure
Insurance non-disclosure could happen to anyone if they are not vigilent enough. To make sure it happens to you, here are some tips:
- Double check all your details when signing up for a new insurance policy
- Tell your insurer if you change jobs or move home
- Inform your insurer before you let anyone else drive your car
- Be honest about any penalty points on your license or previous fines
- Report all incidents involving your vehicle, including if your car is damaged or stolen