47% of young drivers prepared to ‘cheat’ insurance system, RAC research finds

12.00 | 13 January 2017 | | 5 comments

Nearly half of young drivers are prepared to have their car falsely insured by a parent as a way of avoiding the high premiums, new research has found.

A survey of 500 young drivers, carried out by RAC Black Box Car Insurance, found that 47% were prepared to cheat the system via the illegal practice of ‘fronting’.

When asked whether they were aware that ‘fronting’ is against the law nearly six in 10 (57%) young drivers questioned said they knew it was, with the figure far higher in young males (65%) than young females (49%).

Published today (13 Jan), 62% of the young drivers surveyed by RAC Insurance said insurance was the biggest barrier to owning and running a car, considerably more than the 22% who felt it was the cost of buying a car and 12% who cited day-to-day running costs.

Aside from the illegal practice of fronting, other ways of reducing car insurance costs identified by the young drivers surveyed included opting for a car with smaller engine (60%) and having a telematics ‘black box’ installed to monitor driving behaviour (52%).

A third (34%) said agreeing to restrictions on their driving such as a curfew or limiting mileage was another way to save money on premiums, but only 4% said they had a policy with a curfew whereas 11% had mileage limitations. The percentage with mileage restrictions rose to 16% among young male drivers.

Mark Godfrey, RAC insurance director, said: “It’s worrying to see so many people – both young drivers and by association their parents – who are prepared knowingly to try to cheat the system to get cheaper insurance.

“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. What’s more, it’s 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.”

Want to know more about young drivers and road safety? 
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory


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    To follow on from the previous point, I am the main driver on my dad’s kit car, despite me not being the main user. It’s fraud when a consumer uses fronting to their advantage; when it’s a company that’s reverse-fronting your policy however, it’s a “matter of policy”

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Fronting clearly needs to be properly explained. It is fine for a parent to insure a vehicle and have a young driver as a named driver if both are using the car equally or the parent is using the car more…isn’t it? However, insurance sales staff are grossly lacking in correct information regarding this, whether and what changes should be reported to the insurer, and basic knowledge of their industry. We found it much cheaper to insure our 18 year old son in his own right with me as the named driver rather than the other way round (we use the car equally). However, we cannot insure our 2 cars for my husband, son and me to drive at sensible cost on one policy?? Whole system needs an overhaul with cheaper, clearer policies that can be understood by all.

    Nicola Foster
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Other countries successfully run an ‘insure the vehicle’ system for all it’s drivers. Makes it really easy to lend or borrow a car from a friend when needed as well.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    There is one sure way of fixing this problem and that is to design a ‘system’ which cannot be “cheated”. The current ‘system’ of averaging risk across artificial and arbitrary subgroups of drivers is unfair and clearly wide open to abuse. The result is that insurance companies have too many opportunities to refuse payout based on the excuse that the driver was “cheating” the ‘system’. A better model needs to be developed. Perhaps the idea of free (at the point of use) injury and damage insurance for all citizens should be considered, paid for out of general taxation, like the NHS. That would also lessen the problem of “failed to stop” collisions, currently the subject of another item on this feed at the moment.

    Charles, England
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I cheated the insurance once. Not sure how I did it though, when I was 18 I phoned to report an increase in annual mileage and uh, I ended up with money being debited to my account…? But my anecdote aside, the current insurance set up is flawed.

    In what other industry would a young person willingly pay £2,000+ for a service that realistically very few of them are going to use? That was 14% of my take home pay that year, spent on car insurance. There needs to be a shake up with the insurance industry, a change in how it works – to make it fairer to everyone – both consumers and the underwriters alike.

    (unfortunately I lack the money to start my own insurance company up!!)

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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