New research has revealed that 2.4 million people could be in for a nasty surprise if they ever need to claim on their car insurance.
One in 12 drivers have made a foolish mistake which could leave them without any insurance in the event of an accident.
The mistake in question - made by 8% of drivers - is thinking they can get away with not being entirely honest with their insurer.
RiskIf they are involved in an accident, in the best case scenario they may find they are not fully covered for the damage.
In the worst case, they will find themselves with no cover at all - if the insurer deems that the cover has been invalidated by the lies they have told the company. In addition, because the cover will have been cancelled, this will make it nigh-on impossible to buy insurance in the future.
The research, by Consumer Intelligence, dug deeper to find the most common lies. Some 9% changed their home address and 10% gave a lower annual mileage estimate. Nearly one in six (15%) weren't truthful about where they park their vehicle overnight and 14% didn't disclose the correct number of points or convictions they had on their licence.
Why?When asked about why they gave wrong information, 20% said they had make a mistake, or simply didn't know the answer to questions such as typical mileage. Almost one in ten (9%) blamed the insurer - saying that their systems forced them to give an incorrect answer.
However, a worrying number knew exactly what they were doing - they were lying in order to cut costs. A shocking 60% said they lied in order to get a lower premium. Meanwhile, 5% said they wanted to reclaim money paid previously for expensive premiums.
Ian Hughes of Consumer Intelligence said they may well be unaware of the risks they are taking.
He said: "Many consumers are struggling financially and it is understandable that they would want to try and cut their bills wherever they can. However, if they do not provide the right information to insurers they are putting themselves at risk. If they make a claim they may find that the policy won't pay out because the information they provided doesn't add up."
"One of the key principles of insurance is 'utmost good faith'. That isn't just for insurers; it is really important that consumers play their part in this."
AlternativesThe risks of giving false information are simply too high to be worth trying. Instead drivers are urged to take any one of a huge number of steps to legally bring down the cost of cover.
By far the most effective is to shop around - possibly using comparison sites - to see if anyone else can offer exactly the same cover for less. According to Go Compare this can shave almost £250 off the average car insurance premium.
The British Insurance Brokers' Association also suggests:
1. Consider the type of cover you want - for many people a comprehensive quote may actually be cheaper than one for third party cover only.
2. Consider the excess: the more you are willing to pay in the event of an accident, the more you could save on your premium - but be sure to strike a balance.
3. Consider the car itself: engine size, make, model, and age can all affect your premium. If you're facing huge costs you may need to get something smaller and cheaper.
4. Where you park the car makes a difference. If you can clear out the garage and park there you could save substantially. Alternatively parking off road will help.
5. The other drivers on your policy will affect the cost. You can keep costs low by restricting cover to only you and other named drivers. Leaving drivers under the age of 25 off the policy will substantially reduce your premiums.
6. Consider installing safety devices. An immobiliser and alarm will bring the cost down.
7. Think about the extras: do you need legal cover? Do you want the level of breakdown cover included? Would you need a courtesy car? They all cost money so consider what you can live without.