October 6, 2009

British drivers ‘crash for cash’

British drivers are turning into a nation of crooks, according to insurers. They are happy to stage an accident to make money by claiming on insurance, or lie about who will be actually driving their car to cut the cost of cover.

The latter is called fronting and it is becoming an epidemic, says Direct Line. Its research published this week revealed that one in 12 drivers have taken part in fronting, which adds up to nearly 2.5 million people. Worse, more than a quarter of people think “it’s harmless, or everybody does it”.

Fronting involves listing the main driver of a vehicle as a “named driver” on an insurance application to cut the cost of premiums. People do it to help out young drivers who would otherwise be stung by massive insurance costs. They also do it if their spouse or partner has driving convictions so they are put down as a named driver, again, to make the insurance more affordable.

But doing so is a false economy, warns Andy Goldby, director of motor underwriting at Direct Line, because if you are caught, your claim will be turned down.

“Fronting is fraud and effectively means a driver is uninsured,” he says. “If you are found to be fronting, a claim can be rejected, and the correct premium that should have been paid will be reclaimed. The perpetrator can also be put on the CIFAS register, which will seriously affect their chances of getting other financial services products.”

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