One in five parents would lie to car insurers
Shocking figures have been released, which reveal that one in five parents would lie to their car insurer in order to reduce premiums for their teenage children. Meanwhile, one in ten would go even further, and get involved in illegal 'fronting'.
But why are they risking this?
LiesThe research, from Gocompare.com, found that parents are alarmingly willing to lie to their car insurer. One in five parents said they considered car insurance to be 'a complete rip-off' and would gladly tell a white lie if it reduced their premium. Some 13% said they have already lied to an insurer and a 24% would consider it if they could save money on their children's premiums.
Even more worryingly, 12% said they would insure their child's car on a policy in their own name in an attempt to reduce the premium - which is known as 'fronting'.
The idea is that a lower risk - usually older - driver, insures a vehicle in their name, but the actual main driver falls into a higher risk category, such as a young or inexperienced driver. Though the idea behind fronting is to save the young driver money on their premium - in actuality it is fraud and could invalidate their insurance and even land them with a criminal record.
Why?The reasons are clear: the cost. The average best premium for 17 and 18-year-olds is a staggering £3,205.81 a year. Parents struggle to afford this, and feel that the sum is enormously unfair. Some feel they are entitled to do whatever they feel they need to in order to bring costs down.
What's particularly surprising is that parents are generally aware of the consequences that might arise from lying on their insurance application. Some 87% knew they could have their insurance claim rejected as a result of lying to their insurer.
The reason they go ahead anyway is that they think they'll get away with it. One in 20 either doubt insurers would ever find out or believe their mistruths would bear no consequence.
Scott Kelly, head of motor at Gocompare.com, highlighted just how misguided this is. He said:"We can't stress enough the importance of telling insurers the truth, as any deviation from the facts may result in any future claims being refused."
Fraud detectionFraud adds £50 to the cost of a typical insurance premium, so it's well worth insurers investing heavily in detecting where customers may be lying. According to the ABI, insurers detected 139,000 bogus or exaggerated insurance claims in 2011, up 5% on 2010.
Otto Thoresen, ABI's Director General, said:"The industry makes no apologies for its zero tolerance approach to insurance fraud. Honest customers are sick of footing the bill for insurance cheats, through higher insurance premiums. From the highly organised 'crash for cash' motor scams to the opportunistic exaggeration of a genuine claim, insurers are determined to do what it takes to protect honest customers."
According to research recently conducted by Ageas, half of respondents think that it would be fairly easy to make a fraudulent claim. However nearly 80% did not know that price comparison sites 'red flag' consumers if details are repeatedly changed to obtain a lower quote.
Better approachInstead of bending the truth or breaking the law, Kelly recommends parents should consider adding themselves as a named driver on their son or daughter's policy. Having a more experienced driver on the policy should lower the premium and would still allow the younger driver to gain No Claims Bonuses (NCB) which will help lower future premiums significantly.
He said: "For example, the cheapest quote for an 18-year-old driver with a 1.0 Vauxhall Corsa; came from Endsleigh at an annual premium of £1,625.11. However, by adding an experienced driver to the policy as a named driver, the cheapest quote was £1,516.92 a saving of £108.19 from the same insurer!"
Another way for both inexperienced and experienced drivers to lower their premiums is to consider a telematics policy. This involves having a GPS-enabled 'black box' fitted to your car to track the way you drive.
Kelly says: "A telematics policy could be an ideal way for young, new or low millage drivers to prove to their insurer that they deserve to be rewarded with a cheaper premium and - especially in the case of younger drivers - encourage good driving habits. In the study, 30% of parents said that they would recommend that their child consider one."
Naturally, they ought to shop around for a number of quotes too - and never accept an insurer's renewal quote without thoroughly checking whether they can get a better deal elsewhere.