What to do if your car insurance has been refused, cancelled or voided

Why would my car insurance be cancelled, refused or voided?

Alice Morgan
Alice Morgan
Updated 9 January 2023  | 3 min read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

Information on this page was reviewed by our fact-checkers before it was published. Learn more about our fact checking process and our editorial guidelines.

When you buy car insurance you’ll be asked questions about whether you’ve ever had a policy cancelled, refused or made void in the past.

This may have happened because of:

  • A non-disclosure - if you haven’t declared something to your insurer. For example, forgetting to tell your insurer about penalty points on your licence when you apply for car insurance.
  • Missed payments - if you’ve missed any payments on your car insurance.
  • Telematics or black box policies - if your insurer can see you’ve been speeding or driving recklessly via your black box.
  • Fraud - if you’ve been caught fronting or making a dishonest claim.

Key points

  • Your insurer can refuse, cancel, or void your policy at any time 
  • If you have your insurance cancelled, it can make it harder to get a new policy in the future 
  • You can complain to your insurer if you think your policy has been cancelled unfairly

What does declined car insurance mean?

Declined car insurance means an insurer has refused to cover you. You may not have met the right criteria for the policy, or they may have knowledge of misdemeanours in your past and see you as too much of a risk to insure.

You could be declined car insurance for a new policy or a renewal for an existing one.

Do insurance companies check if you have previously had insurance cancelled?

Yes, insurance providers ask applicants whether they have had an insurance policy cancelled in the past and why. Based on the reason, they might refuse to offer you a quote.

Insurance companies can access a database called the Claims and Underwriting Exchange (CUE) which tells them about any incidents you may have been involved with, and whether you made a claim or not.

It’s designed to reduce fraud in the industry and keep the costs of premiums down for motorists. If you’ve made a fraudulent claim and had your insurance cancelled as a result, insurers will be able to see that via the CUE database.

How long will cancelled insurance stay on my record?

There’s no set period of time that cancelled insurance will stay on your record. Each insurer has their own criteria so some may ask for your five-year history, whereas others may ask for longer.

Do I have to declare a previous refusal?

Yes, you should always be honest about any refusals.

If you’re not honest, and an insurer finds out you’ve lied on your application, they can cancel your insurance which will only add to your record. Being upfront from the outset is the best option, even if it means you need to find a specialist insurer to cover you.

What happens if you lie about having insurance cancelled?

Drivers who have had their policy cancelled must declare it on future applications, so it may be more difficult and expensive to get covered. Depending on the severity, your insurer could also prosecute you for fraud, which will mean you become blacklisted by the majority of major car insurers in the future.

It’s really important that you’re honest about any cancellations to avoid getting into trouble.

For more serious non-disclosures, your insurer could do one of the following:

Void your insurance

Your insurer can void your policy if they believe important information wasn’t disclosed on purpose. Things like lying on your application or making a fraudulent claim.

A policy that’s made void will be invalid from the start date - it’s as though it never existed, so they’ll reject any claims in progress.

Normal cancellation rules and notice periods won’t apply.

Cancel your insurance

Your insurer might cancel your policy if you don’t stick to its terms. You’ll have cover up to the date it’s cancelled.

Future insurers will ask if you’ve ever had a policy cancelled or voided before and, depending on the reason for it, they could refuse to offer you cover as well.

Refuse insurance

If you’ve been refused insurance, it means you’ve either had a claim rejected, or your insurer has refused to offer you a renewal quote.

Your insurer might refuse to renew your policy, either because its criteria has changed or they’re no longer able to offer you cover.

But you could also be refused insurance, or refused a renewal because of non-disclosure, leading to your insurance being voided or cancelled.

If you’ve ever had insurance refused you have to declare it when you take out new insurance.

What can I do about it?

If you think your insurance has been cancelled unfairly, you can complain to your insurer in the first instance. Explain your reasoning and await their reply before taking it any further.

After eight weeks, if you don’t feel you’ve received a satisfactory response, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman who will look into the matter for you.

An insurer can repeal the cancellation if they realise that they’ve made a mistake, but make sure you get this in writing, just in case anyone questions it in the future.

In the meantime, try and find a new policy to cover your vehicle, and don’t attempt to drive your car while it’s uninsured.

Does a cancelled policy affect finding insurance in the future?

Unfortunately, yes. Once you have a policy cancelled, you may find that other insurers refuse to cover you because they see you as a risk.

However, there are specialist insurers who may be willing to offer you a policy, although they’re likely to be more expensive.

How to avoid insurance non-disclosure

Withholding any important information from your insurer, whether on purpose or accidentally, can get your policy cancelled, refused or voided.

Here’s how you can stay on the right side of the law:

  1. Tell your insurer about any previous policy cancellations

    It can affect whether they’ll be willing to cover you or not

  2. Tell your insurer if you change jobs or move house

    Keeping personal details up to date can affect the cost of your insurance, as well as your cover

  3. Update your regular mileage

    Whether you’re driving more or less, let your insurer know

  4. Add drivers to your policy

    Don’t let anyone drive your car unless they’re listed on your policy

  5. Declare any penalty points and convictions

    Be upfront with any convictions or penalty points

  6. Report any incidents involving your car

    Whether it’s stolen, damaged, or you’re involved in an accident, even if you don’t need to make a claim

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