Young drivers not afraid to lie over insurance

Young drivers not afraid to lie over insurance
A worrying proportion of young drivers – and their parents – would flout the law in order to secure a good deal on a car insurance policy, RAC research has found.

‘Fronting’ is the illegal practice of insuring a vehicle in the name of another policyholder, often a parent, whose age and experience behind the wheel affords them more favourable premiums.

RAC Black Box Car Insurance questioned 500 young drivers and found as many as 47% are prepared to mislead insurers and falsely cover their car in order to avoid the higher quotes given to drivers under the age of 24.

At an average annual charge of £993, drivers in the 18-20 age bracket pay the highest premiums, according to data from the Association of British Insurers. This is a considerably higher average than the £650 paid by the next most expensive group (21-25 year olds) – and both exceed the average UK premium of £440.

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Misinformation doesn’t appear to have influenced responses, as 57% of the young drivers said they are fully aware that fronting is illegal, with a higher proportion of males (65%) than females (49%) aware of the law.

Mark Godfrey, RAC Insurance director, admits it is “worrying” to see such a large number of people knowingly prepared to cheat the system.

“It’s important for anyone who has done this to realise that it could result in invalidating the policy for everyone covered by it, not just the young driver concerned,” he said. “What’s more, its illegal activities like this that increase the overall cost of insurance for all young drivers.

“The fact our research shows more young males are aware of fronting may be because they think their insurance premiums will be higher than young women’s which, of course, is no longer the case since the EU ruling that gender cannot be used in determining premium prices.”

When asked about the biggest deterrents to owning a car, the majority (62%) of young drivers cited the cost of insurance as the biggest barrier. This is almost three times the number who mentioned the initial outlay on the cost of a car, and the 12% who cited everyday running costs.

Young drivers identified several, legal, means of saving money on insurance premiums.

Among them, driving a car with a smaller engine (60%) and installing a telematics ‘black box’ which monitors driving behaviour and rewards safety (52%) were mentioned.

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A total of 13% of respondents already use a telematics policy, such as RAC Black Box Car Insurance, while 64% believe having such technology fitted would lead to them driving more safely.

Other options include policies which limit the times of day a young driver is allowed to be out on the roads, or the mileage for which they are covered.

Restrictions placed on the number of passengers a young driver is permitted to carry in their car was also mentioned by 22% as a way of reducing young driver insurance premiums, although only 8% said they had such a policy in place.

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “It’s clear while there are a number of ways of legally lowering insurance premiums that some methods are more popular and more practical than others.

“While curfews, mileage limits and not allowing young drivers to carry young passengers could in theory reduce the cost of insurance, there is limited evidence that such restrictions have much effect on reducing premiums, let alone appeal.

“Rather than applying restrictions like these we believe monitoring young people’s overall driving behaviour via black box telematics technology is more effective, with the added benefit for the young driver of being less restrictive on their lifestyle.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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