5. Do I need to disclose the traffic accident(s) I have previously been involved as a driver when I apply for motor insurance? Will I be charged of a higher premium if I disclose I have recently been convicted of any traffic offence such as illegal parking?
You should refer to the full wording of the questions asked or the information requested in the motor insurance application form. In general, insurers would pose questions relating to your personal particulars (e.g. age and driving experience), your car’s particulars (e.g. model, engine number, chassis number, etc.) and the driver’s previous driving history (e.g. whether you have been involved in any traffic accident or been convicted of any traffic offence within a specified period of time). You should make full and frank disclosure in answering those questions and providing the requested information in the application form. The actual scope of disclosure (for example, what kind of traffic offence conviction is required to be disclosed) is subject to the relevant wording in the application form.
If you have omitted to provide any required particulars or (innocently or otherwise) provided false particulars in answering the questions stated in the application form, your insurer may apply for a declaration to avoid your motor insurance policy based on non-disclosure or misrepresentation of facts if such particulars are material, i.e. the particulars are of such nature as to influence the judgment of a prudent insurer in determining whether the insurer will take the risk, and if so, at what premium and on what conditions.
Regarding the amount of premium, it is generally calculated in accordance with a set of data including your age, occupation, driving experience and records, the type of motor insurance policy being applied for, the model and valuation of your vehicle, as well as your past claim history and traffic conviction records (different insurers may have different formula of calculation). However, you should note that in most of the cases, the amount of premium potentially saved by withholding / misrepresenting material particulars would be outweighed by the potential adverse impact of the avoidance of your motor insurance subsequently by your insurer (which results in you being personally liable for paying compensation to the any third party claim). Hence, if you are in doubt as to whether certain particulars need to be disclosed, it would be prudent to disclose it to the insurer.