Thinking of telling a white lie to save a few quid on your car insurance? We show you how it could end up costing you dearly.
What happens if I lie on my insurance policy?|What could invalidate my policy?|How to get a cheaper policy
What happens if I lie on my insurance policy?
You may think a little white lie never hurt anyone, but giving your car insurer the wrong information can put you at risk of invalidating your policy.
This could prove to be nightmarishly expensive in the event of a claim.
If you get caught, the insurer has the right to cancel the policy or charge the correct premium as a lump sum.
Drivers who have had their policy cancelled will then have to declare this on any future applications, and could find it harder and more expensive to get covered.
Insurers can also refuse to pay out for any claim you make which means you could be treated as uninsured.
And depending on the severity of the lie, the driver runs the risk of being blacklisted by all major car insurers.
This could make it virtually impossible for the driver to obtain car insurance from the mainstream providers, and potentially get a cheap premium.
What could invalidate my policy?
A lie in this instance does not have to be a blatant mistruth.
It could mean withholding a piece of information that the insurer would use in calculating the insurance premium or misrepresenting certain details to get a better price.
The most common falsified bits of information are:
It’s not worth calling your insurer up if you have brand new seat covers but if you’re modifying your car to add value to it - adding a great big exhaust, for example – you should let your insurer know.
Use of the car
Giving your insurer the wrong information about how you intend to use your car could also get you in trouble.
Insuring your car for “social, domestic and pleasure” use can cut your premium but may not mean you’re insured to drive to work.
Even if you drive to a train station daily before commuting to work, you would still need a “social and commuting” policy as you’re driving on the road in busy commuting hours.
And registering your policy as “social and commuting” only covers you to commute to one place of work.
So, if you’re using your car as part of your job, to drive to other sites as well as your usual place of work, you’ll need to insure it for “Business Class 1”.
For more information, take a look at our guide to classes of use.
Some people think it’s acceptable to buy insurance for their son or daughter, listing them as an additional driver as opposed to the main driver.
This strategy is known as “fronting”, which may result in lower premiums but insurers consider it fraud.
The person who drives the car most often should be listed as the main driver on the policy, and additional drivers should only be added if they drive the car occasionally.
Other pieces of information that are worth letting your insurance know about:
Alterations to the details of other people included on your policy.
Any increase or changes in the type of mileage you do.
Minor knocks, as well as more serious accidents, or if you’re not claiming for the accident, you still need to inform your insurer.
Other incidents, such as fire, theft or water damage - no matter how insignificant you think they are it’s best to let your insurer know.
Penalty points gained on your licence, or any motor-related convictions. Don’t wait until the renewal, tell your car insurer straight away if you get caught speeding or committing any other crime.
Changes to your address, or where the car is parked - for example, if you’re a student and your car is registered to your home but it’s actually kept in university halls.
Changes of career or job title, as this information is used to calculate premiums; your car insurer may ask you to pay extra if you give up the office job for a career in Formula 1.
How to get cheaper car insurance the right way
Take extra precautions by fitting an alarm and immobiliser.
Choose a car with a smaller engine.
Avoid cars with any modifications from the standard manufacturer.
Take the Pass Plus qualification which could result in a reduction of your premium.
Opt in for a higher excess – but be sure you can still afford this amount in the event of a claim.
Consider getting a black box insurance policy if you fall into the high-risk group such as young, inexperienced driver or less frequent driver with a low annual mileage.
Consider fitting a camera to your dashboard (some insurers offer discounts to drivers with fitted dashcams).
For more information, read our guide on reducing the cost of car insurance.