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What is material misrepresentation?

By Viola Wallace | December 13, 2017

In the insurance world material misrepresentation means withholding or falsifying information related to your insurance policy or claim . Material misrepresentation is serious and can lead to denial or cancellation of your claim because it is considered a breach of a legal contract.

Misrepresentation can be intentional or unintentional. In the course of a claim if material misrepresentation is detected and found to be intentional your insurance company can submit your information to legal authorities and you could face prosecution related to fraud. For this reason it is helpful to work with an insurance broker who can assist you with your paperwork and ensure that everything is complete and included so that you are not exposed to serious risk and lack of coverage later on.

Honesty is Key

When you take out an insurance policy the insurance company will ask you to provide relevant information regarding your home vehicle or other possessions being insured. It is the policy holder’s responsibility to ensure all information is complete and accurate – an insurance company will not verify for you before issuing your policy. Anything that is untrue or left out may be considered material if it would have impacted the insurance company’s decision in issuing the policy determining coverage and setting premiums.

For example if you indicate that your home has sprinkler systems a burglar alarm and a water damage alarm you would likely benefit from lowered premiums. If you claim to have these safety features but it is determined that they actually do not exist during a claim review you will face issues.

If you have an existing policy and suspect that you may have accidentally left something off reach out to your broker right away to fix the error. In this situation your insurance provider is likely to update your information and will let you know if any changes to your premium may occur.

Don’t Forget Renovations and Modifications

The same principle applies to any changes or renovations that may apply to your vehicle or property. It is always advisable to chat with your broker before making changes so you can understand how your premiums may be impacted and whether you may need any changes to be included in your existing policy. A future claim might be void if you failed to update your insurance provider about a performance-enhancing transmission you installed in your car or a renovation to your home. Check out our article that goes over when you should be contacting your broker.

The risks run high when it comes to material misrepresentation and insurance. To be safe and make sure that you have everything covered you should always take the time to double check everything you submit get an opinion from a broker and be upfront about any suspected errors omissions or updates to your insured property or possessions.

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