What Does Refused Insurance Mean?

"Have you ever had car insurance cancelled?”

author image-cai
By Cai Bradley
Updated on Friday 23 October 2020

Person opening refused car insurance letter

When you apply for car insurance, some providers will ask if you have ever had your car insurance refused or cancelled. It is a relatively vague question and it can be difficult to know how to respond – many of us will be wondering what refused insurance even means.

Here, we explain what refused, cancelled or void car insurance is, how it could affect your cover, and what to do to avoid a refused renewal.

In this guide:

Refused car insurance policies and renewals

Refused car insurance usually refers to having a claim rejected, or being refused a renewal quote by your provider.

There are many reasons why car insurance providers may refuse to renew your policy, but it’s most commonly due to the provider no longer being able to offer you cover, a change in their criteria, or non-disclosure from you as the policyholder.

Why was your car insurance void, refused or cancelled?

Your car insurance provider will not void or cancel your cover without reason – after all, they want you as a customer.

If your car insurance has been void, refused or cancelled, it could be down to any of the following:

  • Missed payments: if you have failed to make premium payments (either annually or monthly, depending on your policy), your provider will usually void your cover and may refuse to offer you a policy in the future.
  • Non-disclosure: this means that you have failed to disclose all the relevant information to your provider, so be sure to keep them up to date with any changes to your personal details or circumstances during the policy.
  • Fraud: if you have been found guilty of fraud, including car insurance fronting or making a false claim, your provider may cancel your policy and refuse your renewal in the future.
  • Telematics: if you have telematics or black box insurance and the insurer finds that you have been speeding or driving irresponsibly, they can decide to void or cancel your cover and decline your insurance renewal.

If you want to pay monthly for car insurance instead of annually, you may be refused cover if you have a poor credit score. For more information, check out our guide on car insurance for people with bad credit in the UK.

What is non-disclosure?

Non-disclosure means that you have failed to tell your insurance company all the relevant information that they need when you apply for cover and during your policy’s term.

For example, this includes things like:

  • Failing to disclose the penalty points on your licence
  • Forgetting to inform your provider if you move homes or your personal details change

When you apply for cover or have your auto-renewed, you are expected to take reasonable care to disclose all of the relevant information and to avoid misrepresentation. Therefore, you need to be extra careful when completing the application, and always check that the details are correct before submitting it.

If your circumstances change during the term of your insurance, remember that you are also expected to contact your provider to update your policy if needs be.

What happens if you don’t disclose information to your insurer?

Non-disclosure can have pretty serious consequences for your insurance, but it usually depends on the importance of the information you didn’t mention or got wrong, and whether or not you did it on purpose.

For example, if you accidentally forget to tell them about a minor accident that happened several years ago, you may simply get away with increased premiums when you renew. However, if you purposely avoid mentioning a large amount of penalty points on your licence, you may see your cover void, cancelled or refused.

The consequences of non-disclosure on car insurance can include:

  • Increased premiums but valid cover

  • Voided car insurance

  • Cancelled car insurance

  • Refused car insurance claim or renewal

Void car insurance: A void policy essentially means that it is invalid from the date the cover began, so any claims you make will be rejected and your premiums will have gone to waste. A car insurance policy can be voided for a variety of reasons – including lying on your application or committing fraud.

Read more: What Can Void Car Insurance?

Cancelled car insurance: Your car insurance can be cancelled altogether if you don’t adhere to the policy’s terms and conditions. Unlike void insurance, you will have cover up until the date it is cancelled. Cancelled car insurance can damage your future applications for cover, as insurers often ask if you have ever had a policy cancelled or voided previously and – depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation – they could refuse to offer you insurance.

Refused car insurance: Your car insurance renewal (and any claims that you make) can be refused by your provider. There are many reasons for both, including missed payments, non-disclosure, and fraud. You must disclose any refused car insurance claims or renewals when you take out new cover.

How long does cancelled insurance stay on record in the UK?

There is no specific time-frame that a cancelled car insurance policy will stay on-file for, and it can vary between providers.

Some insurance companies may want to know about any cancelled policies from the last five years, while others will want you to disclose information on any cancellations from the last ten or so years.

What to do if your insurance has been cancelled due to non-disclosure

If you believe that your car insurance provider has unjustly cancelled or voided your cover due to non-disclosure, you can make an official complaint against them as the first step. If they don’t deal with your complaint sufficiently, you can then move forward with a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman once eight weeks have passed.

The insurance provider will need to let the Ombudsman know whether the non-disclosure was deliberate, reckless, innocent or inadvertent. If your non-disclosure was an innocent mistake, the Ombudsman may tell the provider to reimburse you if they have unreasonably cancelled or voided your cover.

My car insurance was cancelled, who will insure me in the future?

When you apply for car insurance, you are required to disclose any previous policies that have been cancelled.

Insurers ask you to declare this information because – depending on the reason for the cancellation – it could make you more of a risk to insure.

Some car insurance companies will refuse your application if you have had one or more cancelled policies in the past, but there are providers out there that will cover you. You might even need to find a specialist car insurance provider.

The cost of your car insurance may be more expensive, but it’s always best to be honest when applying for cover, otherwise you simply risk having another cancelled or voided policy, or even being convicted of fraud.

Avoiding refused car insurance due to non-disclosure

Insurance companies understand that you may accidentally make mistakes on your application for cover, but the consequences can be unforgiving if your error is serious.

In order to avoid having your car insurance application refused, make sure that you:

  • Declare any penalty points and claims

  • Report all accidents

  • Add named drivers to your policy if they are going to use your vehicle

  • Let your insurer know if you move home or change jobs

  • Update your annual mileage if it changes

The best way to ensure that your car insurance doesn’t become void, cancelled or refused is to be honest with your provider – don’t be tempted to lie for cheaper premiums, as you will be caught out and could face even higher costs in the future.

How to get cheap car insurance

You may be charged higher premiums in the future if you have had a car insurance policy cancelled, refused or voided, but there are many ways to make cover more affordable.

The best way to start is to compare car insurance quotes online:

For more information on car insurance, be sure to take a look at our related guides:

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