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When people claim on their motor insurance, insurers sometimes say they weren’t given important information during the application process – usually about the car or who’s driving it. This is sometimes called “misrepresentation”.

As a result, the insurer may refuse to pay the claim and cancel someone’s car insurance. We hear from people who feel their insurer hasn’t treated them fairly. They might say they just made an honest mistake – or that the insurer didn’t ask clear enough questions.

need to know

  • By law, when someone takes out a motor insurance policy, they need to "take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation to the insurer". Not giving the right information when an insurer has asked a clear question is known as “misrepresentation”.
  • This means people buying car insurance need to answer their insurer’s questions carefully and honestly. For example, they’d need to give any driving convictions or penalty points if they were asked.
  • If we think the question was clear – but someone’s given the wrong information – we’ll check why they gave the answer they did. We’ll decide whether the insurer has acted fairly – based on whether we think the misrepresentation was "careless","reckless" or "deliberate".
  • We’ll also ask the insurer what they would have done if they’d had the correct information. For example, they might have refused to insure the consumer – or charged a higher price – if they’d known the driver had convictions.
  • If someone’s unhappy with how the insurer has written off the vehicle – for example, if it’s been scrapped without warning – we’ll look into the insurer’s reasons. If we decide someone’s unfairly lost out, we’ll tell the insurer to pay compensation.

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