Car insurance soars thanks to 'cash-for-crash' fraud

Caroline Cassidy

Motorists across the country will have to find hundreds of pounds extra for their car insurance as premiums soar by up to 50 per cent. The latest figures have revealed that annual renewal costs are at an all-time high and experts say a rise in "crash-for-cash" fraud is partly to blame.

Driver turning ignition key
Driver turning ignition key

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Also pushing up costs are parents putting their teenage children under their own comprehensive cover, which could bump the average cost of being fully comp up by 39 per cent.

As always, young male drivers fare the worst - a massive rise of 51 per cent sees the average 17- to 22-year-old man paying £2,500 a year, while young female drivers are forking out £1,400.

But parents telling white lies about how much their children use their vehicle could be inadvertently pushing costs up themselves, as well as breaking the law.

Ian Crowder from the AA, which conducted the research, told the Daily Mail that those who claim their children are occasional drivers when their teenagers are actually the main drivers, are guilty of "fronting".

"This is actually fraud and it is driving up premiums for everyone," he explained. "Insurance companies are getting much better at detecting this."

But the ambulance chasers play their part too, Mr Crowder said.

"There has also been an escalation in our compensation culture, imported from America. In the past, if you had a knock or a bmp and were left with a sore neck, you would take a paracetamol. Now personal injury lawyers encourage you to sue.

"Personal injury claim rates in Britain are four times those of any other European country - yet we have fewer accidents," he revealed.

Others aren't quite so forgiving of the insurance companies.

Hugh Bladon, from the Association of British Drivers, said: "This is a double whammy which comes on top of petrol prices, which will go up even further when VAT goes up.

"British drivers will not buy the weasel words of the insurance industry. The rise in fraud and compensation claims alone cannot justify these rises."

Insurance industry bigwigs are reportedly set to be quizzed about soaring premiums at the Commons transport committee tomorrow.

What do you think? Is Britain's compensation culture really to blame for rising insurance premiums? Leave your comments below...