- One in seven drivers have "fronted" on their car insurance policy
- Almost a quarter think "fronting" is legal
- Don't risk invalidating car cover, warns MoneySupermarket
Research from Britain's number one comparison site found "fronting" is rife in the UK1. 'Fronting' refers to: parents who have insured a car in their own name and added their child as a second named driver even if the child is the main driver of the car; an illegal practice (see notes to editors). The research found a quarter of motorists (27 per cent) would front on a car insurance policy to save money; one in seven (or 14 per cent) have already done so for one child or more, and 13 per cent haven't yet but would do so. A further 15 per cent would consider "fronting" on a policy as they are looking to save cash.
The poll also found British motorists are puzzled over the legality of "fronting". One in four (23 per cent) think it is legal, while a third (33 per cent) admitted to not knowing. While not perfect, older drivers are just slightly more clued up than their younger counterparts; a fifth (20 per cent) of over 55s think it is legal, compared to 24 per cent of 18 - 34 year old drivers.
Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "Ignorance may be bliss to motorists who think "fronting" is a legitimate way to reduce the cost of motoring for their family and stay on the right side of the law, but in reality it's quite the opposite. "Fronting" on a car insurance policy is illegal and it is worrying how many motorists are willing to take this risk.
"Despite the obvious attraction of cutting costs on your car insurance policy, there will be serious repercussions if you are caught falsely claiming to be the main driver of the vehicle. Think twice; if caught out, it would be classified as fraud by an insurer, and could invalidate the policy. It could also result in the younger driver ending up in court being charged with driving without any insurance. In the longer term anyone with a case of fraud against them could end up being refused cover by an insurer in the future. There are certainly much better ways to save on the cost of car insurance for younger drivers."
MoneySupermarket.com's top tips for younger drivers to cut car insurance costs:
o Shop around - People who use MoneySupermarket to compare car insurance prices save on average £375.
o Buy online - Many car insurance providers offer discounts to customers that buy online.
o Mileage limit - Consider a mileage limit or to only drive at certain hours of the day.
o Car security - Make sure you have an alarm and immobiliser.
o Drive a car with a smaller engine - A newer, more reliable car that is less likely to be used by 'boy racers' will have a cheaper premium. Aim to drive a car like this for at least two years after passing your test - and forget about turbo-charged cars, with big spoilers, fat tyres, alloy rims and other "sexy" extras.
o Parents - If at all possible, avoid being added to a parent's insurance policy. It prevents you from building up your own no-claims bonus. However, adding a more experienced named driver to your policy may bring down your premium.
o Pass Plus - This is a certificate where a young driver who has already passed his or her driving test receives specific lessons in night, motorway and town traffic driving; achieving Pass Plus can earn significant discounts (as much as 35%) on your car insurance.
o Payment method - Drivers looking to keep the cost of their car insurance manageable may opt for the convenience of paying by monthly instalments, rather than in an annual lump sum. Those who decide on monthly repayments can expect to pay an additional APR for this option though, so shopping around for the best deal is crucial.
- Ends -
Notes to editors:
1 Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 2009 British adults, of which 1,537 drive, from 14 - 16 February 2012. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. www.opiniumresearch.com.
What is "fronting" in terms of car insurance?
When the main driver of a car falsely informs his or her insurance company that another driver is the main driver. For example, when a young driver is the main driver of a car but falsely informs his or her insurance company that a parent is the main driver.
This can reduce premiums by hundreds of pounds but can also result in claims being rejected and criminal charges.
How can I tell if I / my family is "fronting"?
Insurance for a young driver without any no-claims bonus can be very expensive (c. £3000 per annum). As a result vehicles that are in reality owned by young drivers are being registered in parents' names and insurance policies completed with a parent as the main driver.
If a parent takes out car insurance as the main driver on someone else's (their child's) behalf to reduce the premium, that is classed as fronting,
If you are unsure of exactly what your insurer would class as "fronting", i.e. how often a parent drives the car versus how often the child drives it, the speak to your insurer to clarify its individual rules.
How can my insurer catch me?
If, when a car insurance claim is made, and the insurer suspects "fronting" may be involved, it will launch an investigation into the case, i.e. to find out who exactly is the main driver of the car.
For example, if an accident occurred at university hall of residence, this may cause the insurer to suspect fronting.
What will my insurer do if I am caught?
Those caught 'fronting', can be charged the correct premium as a lump sum, or could have their policy cancelled altogether. Cancellation, which has to be declared on future policies, also raises the price of future car insurance as many prospective insurers will refuse cover.
Insurers can refuse to pay-out for any claims or can settle a third-party claim and recover the cost from the parent if caught out.
Furthermore, if the insurer declines a claim, the young driver could be seen to be driving without insurance - amounting to fraud. This could lead to high fines and six penalty points (an automatic ban for new drivers).
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