Five questions on: Misleading insurers
Simon Read is Personal Finance Editor at The Independent. He edits the Saturday Your Money section and writes the Daily Money column and Wednesday’s Midweek Money section in i newspaper. He also writes for the news and business pages of the Independent and i newspaper and is a regular money commentator on TV station London Live. He has won numerous awards including Consumer Finance Journalist of the Year.
Friday 21 March 2014
Aren't all insurers misleading?
Now, now. In fact, this is about consumers lying to insurers.
Why on earth would we do that (*innocent face*)?
To reduce the cost of cover. According to new research by LexisNexis, one in four motorists thinks it is acceptable to lie to insurers to cut insurance premiums. Meanwhile, almost a third say they have "fronted" a policy, which is when a parent, for instance, is named as the main driver to reduce the cost of a teenager's insurance policy. On top of that, some 15 per cent admit to having tried to increase the number of their no-claims discount years to get a higher discount.
That all sounds quite harmless. Who doesn't want to save a few quid?
If you lie to insurers it could invalidate your policy. That would mean that if you had a prang, you'd have to cough up for repairs yourself. Worse than that, if you're caught driving an uninsured vehicle you could be arrested, while if you're caught lying to your insurer you leave yourself open to prosecution for fraud.
That all sounds quite serious...
It is. For starters there seems little point in taking out insurance if you're going to make it worthless by lying on your application form. Then there's the risk of getting a criminal record...
But my car insurance is so expensive. How can I cut down the cost of cover?
There are several things you can do. For starters don't automatically renew your existing cover: there could be many cheaper deals around, so scouring the comparison sites could be a profitable few minutes. Even then it's worth haggling with insurers on the phone to see if they can make a better offer. If you tell them a rival has undercut them, for instance, they may match the lower offer.
I've done that. What else can I do?
See if you can reduce the cost by stripping out extras from the cover. A courtesy car, for instance, may not be essential if you can borrow another car for a few days. Legal expenses cover may also be an unnecessary extra, especially if you already have it covered under your home insurance. Other things to look at are the excess – the amount of any claim you agree to meet, your mileage, and whether you can garage your vehicle.
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