Buying car insurance is purchasing an insurer's promise to pay but that doesn't mean they'll definately pay out.
Not “voiding” your car insurance involves many things of common sense, however we have some special hints and tips on what may not occur to all motorists.
Most policy holders would probably agree that one should tell the insurer if an after-market turbo or super charger is bolted onto a car’s engine. This is part of an insured’s “duty of disclosure”.
That duty on the insured most importantly occurs when first taking out the policy and on annual renewal. Be careful how you answer the insurer’s proposal form or initial telephone interview questions. However it is also a continuing duty - for any time - during the policy’s duration.
So, what information should you disclose? Anything the insured does, in fact, know or would reasonably know as relevant to the insurer’s decision to accept the insured’s business, and on what terms. However, one need not disclose anything of common knowledge or information the insurer ought to know anyway, nor anything that actually lowers the risk to be insured.
Each insurer has “underwriting guidelines” on what business it wants to take and on what terms (including premium price, excess levels and so on). If an insurance company can prove it never would have underwritten, for example, a Subaru WRX owned and driven by a 90-year-old person, then it may be in a strong position to deny the claim if full disclosure is not made.
From extreme circumstances, there are less obvious issues that may confront an insured being paid the claim. If something affects the driver’s ability to control a vehicle then the insurance, for all intents and purposes, may be “void”. That may include: driving under any influence of alcohol or drugs (prescription or otherwise); overloading the car or any trailer it may be towing; or failing to reasonably maintain the car to roadworthy condition (such as having bald tyres). Beware also of giving permission for non-listed persons to drive your car. If in doubt, call your insurer to get approval and make full written disclosure up front.
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