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What to do if your home insurance is refused or cancelled

Finding out your home insurance provider has refused to renew your policy can be a worry.

While no one likes to be told no, it’s helpful to understand why your home insurance may be refused or cancelled by your insurance provider, and what the potential implications might be. See if it’s possible to avoid this situation in the first place and what to do if it happens to you.

Finding out your home insurance provider has refused to renew your policy can be a worry.

While no one likes to be told no, it’s helpful to understand why your home insurance may be refused or cancelled by your insurance provider, and what the potential implications might be. See if it’s possible to avoid this situation in the first place and what to do if it happens to you.

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
6 min read
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Why would you be refused home insurance?

All insurance providers – including your existing one – consider how much of a risk you and your property are to cover. And if they feel that risk is too great, they might refuse to quote for your cover.

There are several reasons why this might happen. For example, your home insurance may be cancelled for non-payment of your premiums or for making several claims over the years. Or it could simply be that your circumstances have changed since you took out your policy and you no longer meet their underwriting criteria.

Some of the biggest risks, and most common reasons for home insurance refusal or cancellation are:

1. Extensive claims history

A claims record showing multiple claims over a few years, or a single high-value pay-out, could be enough for your provider to decide they no longer want to cover you.

2. Subsidence

Some insurance providers won’t insure properties that have previously had subsidence issues. Others might charge you a higher premium or impose a higher excess.

3. Disclosure issues

If you’ve failed to disclose something that an insurance provider considers pivotal – for example, you’d had previous claims but didn’t tell them when you took out the policy, or you hadn’t declared having a lodger living with you – they might refuse to continue your cover.

It’s worth noting that non-disclosure can invalidate your policy, so you should keep your insurance provider updated of any changes. For example, if you have an extension and your property gets bigger, or you start to run a business from home.

4. A change in your circumstances

If you’ve had a conviction during the year, changed your job or had a change in your financial circumstances, an insurance provider may no longer want to insure you as they might think there’s a higher risk of you not paying your premiums.

5. The insurance provider no longer offers a type of cover

Insurance providers can change their minds about what types of risk they want to insure. For example, some providers no longer offer flood cover following the impact of major floods. Others may have once insured a particular type of non-standard home but no longer wish to, based on their claims experience.

However, each provider has their own criteria and systems for calculating risk – so just because you’ve been turned down by one, doesn’t mean another will do the same.

A provider might not always decline your renewal or cancel your policy, but they might insist on adding an endorsement for them to continue to offer you cover. Endorsements are special terms imposed on your policy. This might mean an increased excess for situations that have resulted in numerous claims – for example, escape of water. They could even exclude certain elements of cover, like theft if there’s been a significant increase in break-ins in your area.

What to do if you’ve been refused home insurance cover

A refusal to renew can make it more difficult to find home insurance cover elsewhere. So before you burn your bridges with your current provider, it’s worth doing the following:

  1. Contact your provider and ask them why your policy has been cancelled
  2. Try to resolve the issue and see if your cover can be reinstated
  3. If they still refuse, make a complaint in writing
  4. If you think you’ve been treated unfairly, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman.

If, despite your efforts, your current insurance provider still refuses to renew your policy, all’s not lost. Different providers have different underwriting guidelines, and some even offer specialist home insurance that might be better suited to your circumstances. For example, home insurance for non-standard construction houses or home insurance for people with criminal convictions.

The key to finding a new insurance provider and getting a fair premium is to compare quotes. Luckily, Comparethemarket can help you with that.

What does being refused home insurance mean for you?

Having a policy cancelled or declined by your insurance provider can make it tricky to find one with a new provider. And it’s not just your home insurance that can be affected. Depending on why your policy’s been cancelled, it might make it difficult to find affordable car insurance too. While home insurance may not be a legal requirement, car insurance most definitely is.

Insurance providers routinely share information about policies and claims histories on a central database called CUE (Claims and Underwriting Exchange). The database holds information on all your insurance records including home, car, travel, and personal injury policies. Details of any past claims will stay on CUE for six years from when the claim was made.

This means other home and car insurance providers can see if you’ve been refused cover or had your policy cancelled.

You might be tempted to keep quiet, but it’s vital to be honest and disclose any information that could affect your application for cover from another provider. It’s likely that your insurance will be more expensive, but at least you’ll be covered if something goes wrong.

Top tip – avoid mistakes

Take care to be as accurate as possible when filling out your insurance documents. Even a genuine mistake can be viewed as misrepresentation if the information you provide is incomplete or misleading because of carelessness.

How can I avoid my home insurance being refused or cancelled in the future?

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent your home insurance being refused or policy cancelled. For example, if your provider changes the type of homes they’re willing to insure.

However, there are some things you can control to prevent being refused or having your policy cancelled in the future:

  • Make sure all your payments are made in full and on time, so non-payment or late payment can’t be used as a reason not to renew
  • Be accurate and honest on every insurance application
  • Remember to disclose any changes to your circumstances that could affect your cover
  • Choose a specialist home insurance provider if you need a particular type of insurance, for example if your house has a thatched roof, is a listed building, or is in a high flood risk area
  • Compare home insurance with us to find a range of quotes from insurance providers who’re happy to take you on.
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Frequently asked questions

Will I still be able to get cover if I’ve been refused home insurance?

While your options may be limited, it shouldn’t be impossible to find home insurance if you’ve been refused cover. Depending on the reason for the cancellation, you may need to find a specialist provider who will better understand your situation and can cover your home and contents at a more reasonable price.

What kind of convictions could mean I’m refused home insurance?

Any type of criminal conviction could jeopardise your chances of getting both home insurance and car insurance – even minor offences.  A criminal conviction can be anything from a fine to a prison sentence. You must tell your insurance provider about:

  • Unspent convictions that are still active
  • Convictions that occur halfway through your insurance policy
  • Convictions of other members of your household.

Having a criminal conviction doesn’t mean you can’t get insurance, but again, you may need to look for a specialist provider.

What changes do I need to tell my insurance provider about?

You must tell your home insurance provider about any changes that could affect your cover. These include:

  • Taking in a lodger
  • Starting a business from home
  • Making structural changes – for example, an extension or loft conversion
  • Adding security features like a burglar alarm or door locks
  • Leaving the house empty for more than 30 consecutive days
  • Updating the valuation of your home contents
  • Changes to your circumstances, for example, a job change or criminal conviction.

To avoid doubt, always let your insurance provider know about any changes even if you’re unsure whether they’re relevant or not. It’s better to be honest than find yourself with a cancelled policy and no cover at all.

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Helen Phipps - insurance expert

Having worked in both sides of the industry, Helen’s a real insurance expert. She’s worked directly with several insurance providers and now Compare the Market. She’s always searching for the cheapest prices for customers and is passionate about saving people money. Being married with two kids, Helen knows all about the cost of living and the benefits of having the right products and insurance for the whole family.

Learn more about Helen

Rachel Lacey - Insurance and money expert

Rachel’s a self-confessed money nerd who’s been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She spent 17 years writing for Moneywise, including a few years as Editor, and likes making complicated subjects like insurance, pensions, investing and tax, easy for people to understand.

Learn more about Rachel

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