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Consequences of lying to your car insurance company

When you apply for car insurance you’re asked a few questions before you can get a quote. The insurance company wants to know where you live, what car you drive and all about your driving history.

It might be tempting to tell the occasional fib to cut the size of your car insurance bill. But when it comes to buying a motor policy, being economical with the truth could end up costing you dearly.

There can also be more serious consequences if you lie to your insurance company.

A person goes to a car insurance website on their phone, standing in front of a black car

 

What happens if you lie to your insurance company?

If you lie to your insurer the following could happen: 

  • Your policy could be invalidated or terminated
  • Your claims could be rejected
  • Claims made against you might not be paid out
  • You could face additional charges
  • You might have to tell future insurance companies about your non-disclosure
  • Other mainstream insurance companies might refuse to insure you

If you lie to your car insurance company, you run the risk that any claim you make might not be paid and your policy terminated. 

This should apply even if the inaccurate information has no bearing on your claim.

When you get a policy, your insurer asks you several questions. They use the answers to these questions to build up a picture of the risk you represent to the insurance company.

For example it gives the insurer an idea of how likely your car is to be stolen and the chances of you being involved in an accident.

The lower the risk you represent, the cheaper your insurance should be. 

Lying to your insurer could have significant financial consequences. These could be much greater than any saving you might have made on your premium.

Not only could your insurer turn down your claim, they might also decide not to pay out on any claims made against you.

If your provider discovers that you’ve lied or omitted information, it has the right to cancel your policy or charge you an extra fee to reflect any missing details.

Also, If you’ve previously had car insurance cancelled for non-disclosure, you might have to declare it on future motor insurance applications. You could also be blocked by major car insurance providers.

You might find it harder to get insurance or have to get cover from a more expensive specialist company.

Find more information on insurance claims

 

What wrong information could invalidate my car insurance policy? 

Your insurer could invalidate your car insurance on the basis that you’ve failed to disclose relevant or important information.

This is especially true if the company thinks you’ve done so in order to get a lower annual premium.

Some of the most common types of mis-reported information are:

Modifications

If you’re making alterations to your vehicle that could change how it performs or make it more valuable, it’s important to let your insurer know in advance.

Modifications such as a larger exhaust or expensive wheel trims are likely to increase your premiums.

For example, your insurer might take the view that your car has become more attractive to thieves, and therefore more likely to be stolen.

By contacting your insurer before you make modifications, you can find out how much more you have to pay for your insurance.

This can help you decide whether the changes are worth the extra expense.

How the vehicle is used

It’s crucial that you’re upfront with your insurer about how you use your car.

For example, you say your car is to be used solely for ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ reasons. But then if you use it as part of your job, you could put your cover at risk.

You should also let your insurer know if you use your vehicle to commute to work, even if it’s just driving to the train station. If you’re regularly on the road during rush hour there’s a greater chance you could be in an accident and your premium would need to reflect that.

Who’s driving the car

You should make sure you're the main driver of the policy if that's what you've told the insurer. 

Sometimes, people will declare themselves as the main driver of the policy when it's actually someone else. This is an illegal practice known as fronting.

An example of this is a parent adding a child to their policy. The parent might say they’re the main driver and list their child as an additional driver, even though it's the child who’s driving it most.

The reason for doing this is to save money. For example, young driver car insurance tends to be considerably more expensive. Costs tend to be lower if the young person is an additional rather than main driver.

However, this is considered by insurers to be fraudulent, and it could lead to a policy being invalidated – or you could be charged higher, backdated premiums. 

 

What happens if I lie about my address on my car insurance policy?

Your insurance company uses your postcode when calculating how much you need to pay for your car insurance. This is because different areas have different crime rates and where you live might have an impact on the likelihood of your car being stolen.

This means if you lie about your address, your cover might be invalidated, leaving you without cover.

 

What happens if I lie about my occupation to my car insurance company? 

Insurance is based on risk, and some professions carry higher risks than others. This means your insurance could cost more depending on your job.

For example, in our recent study, we found that a headmaster had the cheapest premiums over all. Mobile food bar employees had the most expensive insurance policies. 

When you're getting insurance, be as accurate as you can about your profession. If you lie about your profession to get cheaper premiums your insurance could be invalid. You could even be charged with insurance fraud. 

 

Do I need to inform my insurance company of a speeding ticket?

If you’re fined or otherwise penalised for speeding or other infractions, you usually only need to tell your insurer about it when you come to renewal.

But some providers require you to tell them straight away. Check the small print on your policy.

The same applies to any penalty points on your licence. And if you have any convictions for motoring offences when taking out car insurance, you need to let the insurer know.

 

Do I have to tell my insurer company about a speed awareness course?

If you choose to take a speed awareness course you usually don’t have to let your insurer know until you come to renew your policy. 

 

How long do you have to declare points for insurance?

Points issued by a court for motoring offences normally stay on your licence for 4 years.

But insurers may ask for any points you have received in the past 5 years – so you might need to declare penalty points even though they’ve expired.

 

What else do I have to tell my car insurance company?

You should tell your insurer about certain changes to how you use your car or your personal circumstance as soon as possible.

Important changes to inform your insurance company about straight away include:

Adding people to your policy

If you want to add a family member or friend to your insurance so they’re allowed to drive your car, you need to tell your insurance company in advance. This usually means you need to pay more for your insurance.

Changes to your annual mileage

If you’re starting to use your car more, for example because the distance of your commute has changed, you should inform your insurer.

After all, the longer you spend on the road, the higher your chances of being involved in an accident.

A change of address

If you move house, you should inform your insurer if only to make sure your policy documents are sent to the right place in future.

Living in a different postcode could also affect premiums - for example if you move to an area where crime rates are higher and car thefts more common.

Changing where you keep your car

If you said your car was normally kept off-road overnight, you should inform your insurer if you now have to park your vehicle on the street. For example if you’re having building work carried out at home. Where you keep your car at night could change how likely it is to be stolen, which could change your insurance costs.

If you’re involved in an accident

Even if you don’t need to make a claim, you should tell your insurer about any minor scrapes or incidents you've had when involved in a car accident.

This could help protect you against any unexpected claims from third parties.

A change of occupation

If your job title changes, you should let your insurer know. You might not need to inform them if you change companies but keep the same job role.

 

How to get cheaper car insurance the right way

Providing false or incomplete information on your insurance application is fraught with risk. But there are a number of legitimate ways you could reduce your car insurance:

  • Fit car security devices like alarms or immobilisers – and park off the street overnight if possible.
  • Choose a vehicle with a smaller, less powerful engine. More powerful cars cost more to insure. This is because they’re more likely to be involved in accidents and may also be more attractive to car thieves.
  • Avoid modifications that are designed to make your car stand out or perform better.
  • Choose a higher voluntary excess. This normally reduces your premiums, although it does mean that you might have to contribute more to the cost of any claim out of your own pocket.
  • Consider signing up for a black box insurance policy, in particular if you’re a young, less experienced driver. Black box insurance could also be worth looking at if you don’t use your car much and have a low annual mileage.
  • Get a dashcam fitted. Some insurers offer discounts to drivers with dashcams.