Consumer complains when insurer cancels policy and declines claim because of misrepresentation

Subsidence Buildings insurance Insurance

Benjamin complains about his motor insurance policy being cancelled after his insurer said he made a misrepresentation when he took out the policy. 

What happened

Benjamin’s insurer cancelled his insurance policy and turned down his claim after it discovered he hadn’t mentioned that he had a driving conviction when he bought the policy online. 

Benjamin told the insurer he was embarrassed about the conviction and didn’t realise it would affect his insurance. He felt the insurer acted unfairly and raised a complaint. Unhappy with the outcome, he contacted our service to make a complaint. 

What we said

We established that when Benjamin took out the policy online, his insurer asked him whether he had any motor convictions or fixed penalty offences in the last five years and he’d answered ‘no’. They’d also established by checking his driving licence that he had a DR10 (drink driving) conviction two years before taking out the policy.

We checked the insurer’s underwriting guide, if Benjamin had answered the question ‘yes’ and told the insurer about the conviction it wouldn’t have offered him cover at all.

We didn’t uphold Benjamin’s complaint. We were satisfied that Benjamin hadn’t taken reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation. And as the insurer wouldn’t have offered cover if Benjamin had told them about the conviction, we were satisfied it was a qualifying misrepresentation and the insurer was entitled to void the policy and refuse his claim. We also decided Benjamin’s misrepresentation was deliberate and so the insurer didn’t have to return his premium.