April 21, 2022

Why Has My Car Insurance Been Refused, Cancelled or Voided?

If you’ve recently had your car insurance quote or policy refused, cancelled, or voided, you may want answers – why did this happen and what should you do next? There are a variety of reasons why a policy might get declined, whether that’s by simple error or in cases where penalties haven’t been disclosed properly.
Why Has My Car Insurance Been Refused, Cancelled or Voided? Header Image

If you’ve recently had your car insurance quote or policy refused, cancelled, or voided, you may want answers – why did this happen and what should you do next? There are a variety of reasons why a policy might get declined, whether that’s by simple error or in cases where penalties haven’t been disclosed properly.

The good news is, for those comparing the market for a competitive car insurance policy, that a declined quote or cancelled policy doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get insured again. When drivers fully disclose information about their driving history, including any penalties, there will still be insurance policies that could work for you.

If you’ve been declined an insurance policy lately, or worried about the consequences of a refused, cancelled, or voided insurance certificate, then read on to find out what it means and what you should do next.

Why Do Insurance Providers Cancel Driver Policies?

Whilst there are many reasons an insurance provider may decide to refuse, cancel, or void a car insurance policy, it’s typically for one of the following reasons:

  1. you’ve failed to provide accurate information, known as a non-disclosure
  2. you’ve failed to make payment (called ‘non-payment’)
  3. you’ve been suspected of certain types of fraudulence

When it comes to car insurance, you’ll need to follow “the rules”, which means telling the truth on any quotes regarding your history and committing to driving safely after you’ve been insured. If you’re caught failing to do so, you may be declined or refused a policy, or have one cancelled later. When you are looking to obtain car insurance in the future, it’s worth knowing that policy refusals can work against you. That means other providers won’t look at your record favourably, often penalising those drivers with cancellations.

Here’s how a cancellation will affect your future car insurance quotes:

  1. higher monthly premiums
  2. denial of coverage

Did You Know…

It won’t always be the case that a car insurance provider will tell you why your application has been denied. If you’re completing a form online, you may simply receive higher than expected premiums, or an outright denial. At this stage, you may want to consider calling the agent or broker to determine the reasons behind your denial of coverage.

Can a Car Insurance Provider Refuse to Insure You?

Yes, if it’s lawful, an insurance provider can deny you an insurance policy. This means, if a provider views you unfavourably, they can refuse to offer you an insurance policy, making it harder to use or enjoy your car.

What Happens If I Voluntarily Cancel My Policy?

If you determine that you no longer need a policy, such as if you sell a vehicle, then you can cancel your policy at any time. But, depending on the circumstances, it may be more cost effective to wait until the end of a policy. For example, if you’ve found cheaper premiums elsewhere, there may be a forfeit fee if you terminate a policy early.

After you’ve cancelled a policy, you won’t be legally allowed to drive your vehicle until you arrange cover for it again under another policy.

Does a Non-Renewal Count as a Cancellation?

No, as policies are typically renewed every year, it’s perfectly fine to arrange for different cover when one policy ends. You simply need to arrange for a new policy; during this time, it won’t count against your record as a cancellation, and you won’t incur fees.

Can I Control Whether a Provider Will Insure Me?

In many scenarios, a denial may be the result of a poor driving history, such as too many unspent violations, or at-fault accidents (and resulting claims).

In most cases, however, a provider will review the information that you’ve disclosed in your application to determine your level of risk and eligibility for insurance. There may be some scenarios where, rather than deny you insurance, a provider will request more information. This will be familiar, for example, if you’ve ever declared a no-claims discount and a provider requested either further information or evidence. According to Citizens Advice, you may find it difficult to get insured if you have a more complicated medical history or, for example, if you have a history of convictions.

Cars in a row, waiting for convicted drivers

What’s the Difference Between Voided and Cancelled Car Insurance?

If you’re ever refused car insurance, the result is always the same: you won’t be getting insured by a provider if they deny your application. But if you’re wondering why you’ve been refused, you need to start by understanding the language the insurer used.

There are subtle, but clear, differences between a policy that’s been voided and one that’s been cancelled.

  • A voided car insurance policy means that there’s a valid reason to invalidate your certificate. The policy will be voided back to inception as if cover was never in place, so they will give not give any grace of cover once they have decided to void the policy. Your policy will, in essence, not cover any claims if it’s discovered to be void for any reason.

    But why has your policy been voided? If, for example, you’re found out to have not declared the full truth during the application stage, and an insurer becomes aware of this, you will be left without insurance. The omission of important information – or information that’s discovered to be inaccurate – can be harmful and write-off your policy and any claims made under it.
  • A cancelled car insurance policy means that your policy has, in effect from a specified date, been terminated. Importantly, and where a cancellation is different from a voided policy, any claims prior to the date of a cancelled certificate are still considered valid.

    A common example of cancellation happens if a policy owner misses a payment or fails to update policy information on time.

Can I Get a Refund for a Cancelled or Voided Policy?

A refund after a policy has been terminated isn’t guaranteed. It will likely depend on the terms and conditions of your policy, the stance of an insurer, and the severity of the reason that’s caused an insurance cancellation.

Many cars on a busy motorway at dusk

You Think You Might Miss a Payment – Here’s What You Should Do Next

The consequences of non-payments can be costly to a driver, both in the present, and when they apply for insurance in the future.

Missing a payment, whether that’s paying premiums late or failing to make payment altogether, will cause a provider to remind you about outstanding premium payments. 

Non-payments can result in the cancellation of a policy, so you should treat messages about late outstanding premiums as a warning. In some scenarios, you may be late making payments by mistake, such as outdated payment information.

But, if you’re worried about paying off a premium, you should always get in touch with a provider before you’re due to pay for your insurance. This should also serve as a critical reminder that, if anything changes your side (you change bank, for example), this should be communicated and updated with your provider.

What is a Non-Disclosure (or Omission) in Car Insurance?

When you’re completing an application, you should truthfully declare relevant information about your driving history, including unspent and pending convictions. But, if a provider discovers omitted information from your application, they could void your policy (and all past and present claims will be invalidated since the policy started). 

Missing information, or omissions, count as a non-disclosure. This is where information hasn’t been sufficiently disclosed. This could include things like:

  • You haven’t mentioned previous cancellations
  • You’ve failed to declare convictions from the last few years
  • Omissions about previous claims
  • Your medical records are not up to date, including disclosure of conditions that could affect your driving ability

Any failures to inform insurers about accurate information during an application could carry consequences later into a policy. It doesn’t matter when a policy starts, if you’ve been caught out by a non-disclosure, any claims under that same policy will be invalidated.

When Should I Reach Out to My Insurer?

When information is withheld from an insurer, or is simply not updated, then a policy may be voided under non-disclosure. Non-disclosures could even be accidental, as failure to update a policy with relevant information could result in it being voided.

So, you should consider the following questions as they may affect your policy:

  • Has your job changed?
  • Has your residence address updated?
  • Has your vehicle changed, even if it’s newly modified parts?
  • Has there been a change of registration?
  • Have you had a change of use in your vehicle, such as starting commuting?
  • Has your mileage increased or decreased?
  • Has there been a change of drivers?

If any of the above apply to you, then it’s good cause to update your policy. There are more reasons beyond those listed, but they should serve to remind you that your car insurance will need to stay up to date.

In some cases, even minor scrapes to major accidents – especially if they’re left off your application – could create serious consequences. You should always disclose information that you suspect might affect your insurance.

Ultimately, an insurer is trying to evaluate the risk of the policyholder. This means, after an application is submitted, they can validate your information, including claims history, accidents, and convictions, though a central database called CUE.

Higher risk drivers are more often offered costlier monthly premiums, but this can be a better alternative than no protection at all. Remember that It’s illegal to drive without insurance in the UK – if you drive without a valid policy, you will be convicted.

Cars passing one another in the street

What Are the Consequences of Non-Disclosure?  

Depending on the severity of a non-disclosure, the consequences could be costly and troubling.

If it’s decided that non-disclosures were accidental, such as a mistake on your application which occurred through miscommunication, then it may be that your policy premiums are adjusted to reflect the new (and accurate) information. 

Yet, an insurer will be less forgiving if you’re caught withholding information on your application. When non-disclosures are determined to be deliberate, an insurer will very likely cancel or void your existing protection. This could even result in fraud.

Does Cancelled Insurance Stay on My Record?

Yes, with cancellations, there’s no expiry date. This means that cancelled insurance will stay on your record for future insurers to find out. It may be harder to arrange a policy again after a cancellation for wrongdoing.

A criminal conviction can be ‘spent’ over time. But the same doesn’t apply to insurance claims and cancellations. This means an insurance cancelation will always need disclosing on policy applications.

Insurers may even ask about your previous history, whether that’s the past five years or longer, when it comes to finding out about previous insurance cancellations.

What Do You Mean by ‘Spent’ Convictions?

Whether convictions are spent comes down to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the Exceptions Order 1975.

A spent conviction means previous criminal convictions will be removed from criminal records. This will not appear on a Basic DBS check.

What is Considered Fraud in Car Insurance?

Fraud can be defined broadly, and it might include incidents where:

  • A driver has been caught driving without a full or valid licence
  • A policyholder is not the main driver (which is calculated to lower premiums), which is called “fronting”
  • Falsified information about the car’s everyday use
  • Faking claims or theft for a pay-out
  • Not properly disclosing where a car is kept overnight

You should always, as a rule, read your policy terms and conditions to understand how it might be potentially violated. A policy will always define its terms, so policyholders should make a habit of understanding what’s included.

Reducing the Risks of Policy Cancellations

In most cases of non-disclosure, an insurer may try to understand the policyholder’s intent. This means they will investigate why – and possibly how – information was withheld from an application.

Here’s how you can reduce the likelihood of losing your protection:

  • Always update your personal and financial information (so you don’t, for example, miss payments) throughout holding a policy
  • Tell your insurer about adding new drivers to a policy
  • Disclose information truthfully during an application
  • Update the insurer if you suspect your policy contains inaccurate information, or if it becomes out of date

Even if you have unspent convictions, declaring all relevant and accurate information about your history is the best way to ensure that you avoid cancellations and fraud.

Do You Have to Tell Car Insurers About Convictions?

You must declare any unspent convictions on your record. In a scenario where you have driving convictions, withholding information is a costly mistake, potentially invalidating your protection.

Only unspent convictions will affect your policies. You won’t need to declare any spent convictions. But you may be asked about others included on your policy, and you should consider if they have any unspent convictions.

You will not, however, need to disclose any warnings, cautions and reprimands to an insurer.

Car driving down a road

So, You’ve Had a Policy Declined – Is It Hard to Get Car Insurance After It Being Cancelled?  

If your policy has been cancelled, you will be asked to declare this on future applications. This means wrongdoings on car insurance policies can negatively affect your reputation (and risk) in the eyes of an insurer.

For many insurers, a cancellation is a red flag on your history and will trouble your future search for insurance. It may even result in higher monthly premiums. 

What Can I Do If I’ve Been Refused Car Insurance?

Not every refusal is your fault. If you live in an area with a high number of vehicle thefts, this may lead to insurers refusing you adequate levels of protection. Other factors, from insuring performance cars to claims histories, can affect how easy it is to arrange comprehensive cover.

Terms and conditions will vary between insurers, but you’ll have more options when you work with an independent car insurer who understands how to arrange a policy with specialist underwriting (such as drivers with driving bans or modified cars).

If you’re a convicted driver, arranging cover without a specialist’s support can feel daunting, if not impossible at times. That’s why Keith Michaels have designed convicted driver car insurance that’s all about understanding your unique circumstances. We won’t judge you for your convictions, pricing you out of a policy. Instead, when you’re coming out of the other side of a driving conviction, we’re here to help.

Get Insured by Keith Michaels

If you’re on the market for a competitive policy, or you’re having difficulties finding one that’s right for you, find out today what you can do about it with Keith Michaels. Get in touch and arrange a policy quote with our simple online form that only takes a couple of minutes.

You might even be eligible for a cheaper quote over the phone – call us on 0208 329 1150 to find out more.