Parents 'lie to help children get car insurance cover'
The survey, carried out by price comparison website Gocompare.com, has revealed that many 'well-meaning' parents risk voiding their child's insurance policy by naming themselves as main drivers despite offspring regularly using the vehicle.
The practice is known as 'fronting' within the insurance industry and occurs when a lower-risk and usually older driver insures a vehicle in their name as the main driver - even though it is the higher risk 'second' driver who will really be behind the wheel most of the time.
It is a common occurrence within families that have younger sons or daughters away at college or university and hope to alleviate some of the financial pressure placed on young and inexperienced drivers by naming the more experienced adults as main drivers.
But insurance industry experts have warned that 'fronting' can have serious financial and legal implications. If suspected, the policy provider can launch an investigation and if the fraudulent activity is detected, they can refuse to settle claims.
Worse still, if the insurer declines to pay out, the young driver can be viewed in the eyes of the law as 'uninsured', meaning they could face hefty fines, prosecution and driving bans.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of 17 to 19 year olds surveyed said that they often struggle to afford to keep their cars on the road with 30% saying their parents help out with the costs.
They estimate that it costs them an average of £1,753.34 a year in running costs which constitutes approximately 22% of their income. And 16% of 17 to 19 year olds estimated that it cost them over £3,000 per year, or more than £250 per month, to run their cars.
Scott Kelly, head of car insurance at Gocompare.com, said: "The costs of getting your first car on the road can seem sky high to a young driver and certainly the insurance premiums for new, inexperienced drivers can be substantial. However, we'd warn people against fronting in an attempt to reduce the cost of their cover."
He added: "Fronting is fraud and if you do have to make a claim on the policy the chances are you'll be found out and you may end up in a lot of trouble.
"Not only will the policy be invalid but you may find yourself open to prosecution, liable for accident costs and find it hard to get insurance in the future.
"Worse still are those risking a criminal record, penalty points, disqualification, a large fine and the possibility of having their car turned into scrap metal by ignoring car insurance altogether."