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common complaints showing our approach

Jon

 

I made a mistake on my car insurance application - and now my insurer has cancelled my policy ...

Some people tell us they made a mistake on their car insurance application form. We’ll look at what happened when the policy was taken out - in particular, whether the insurer asked clear questions and explained the importance of checking the information was right.

  • We’ll consider how the mistake affected the insurer’s decision to offer cover - using evidence like their underwriting guidelines. If the insurer wouldn’t have offered cover at all, we might decide it’s fair for them to cancel the policy and refund all the premiums. This might happen, for example, if an insurer only later found out that someone had written off a car in the past.
  • In some cases, the insurer would have still offered someone insurance - but the price would have been different. For example, someone might have made a typo when giving their age, resulting in cheaper insurance. We might say the insurer should pay some of the claim - in proportion to what the premiums would have cost. For example, if the consumer only paid half of what the premium should have been, we’d ask the insurer to pay half the claim.
  • We’ll also look into why someone gave the wrong information. If we decide someone made an innocent mistake, we might tell the insurer to pay the claim. But if it looks like someone deliberately gave the wrong information - or was "reckless" in how they answered - we’ll usually say it’s fair for the insurer to cancel their policy and keep the premiums.

case study 1

Mr F took out car insurance online. He said he’d held his UK driving licence for ten years. But the insurer later found out he’d only held a licence for five years - and it was an Australian licence. So they voided his policy.

We looked at the questions Mr F had been asked - and decided they were clear. We also saw that Mr F had given an incorrect answer. The insurer sent us their underwriting criteria, which showed they wouldn’t have insured him on his Australian licence. So we said it was fair for them to void the policy.

case study 2

When Mrs E took out her car insurance, she was asked “have you been declared bankrupt or had any CCJs against you in the last five years?” She answered “no”. But her insurer later found this was incorrect, and voided her policy.

When Mrs E contacted us, we saw her bankruptcy had ended four years and eleven months before her policy started. She said she’d made an honest mistake. And from what we could see, we thought she’d taken reasonable care to answer the question accurately.

We told the insurer it wasn’t fair to treat Mrs E’s “non-disclosure” as deliberate - and we told them to reinstate her policy.

Claire

 

my insurer says I lied about the main driver - they're accusing me of "fronting" ...

Getting cheaper premiums by lying about who’s the main driver of a vehicle is known as “fronting” - and it’s fraud. Some people complain to us that their insurer is accusing them of fronting.

  • We’ll need to look carefully at what happened when someone took out their policy. In particular, we’ll check whether the insurer asked clear questions about who would use the car.
  • If we decide the questions weren’t clear - and we think someone’s answered them honestly - we’ll usually tell the insurer to pay the claim. But sometimes someone's given the wrong information in response to a clear question. In these cases, we’ll usually say it’s fair for the insurer to do what they would have done if they'd known the right information. In some cases, this would mean cancelling the insurance and keeping any premiums.

need help?

If you can’t find what you’re looking for here - or you’d like to talk to someone - give us a call ...

consumer helpline - 0800 023 4567
our technical advice desk (for businesses and consumer advisers) - 020 7964 1400

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