Car insurance fronting is an easy trap to fall into, especially if you’re a young driver and trying to save money on cover. But insurance fronting is a crime and there are severe penalties. Here, we explore what fronting means, what the consequences are and how you can avoid it in the first place.
What is car insurance fronting?
Fronting is when a more experienced driver says they are the main driver when they aren’t, in order to get cheaper car insurance.
Typically, it happens when a parent claims to be the main driver when really it’s their child who has just passed their driving test. However, while this is a common scenario, in reality, fronting happens whenever one person claims to be the main driver instead of another, with the intention of getting cheaper car cover.
Why is car insurance fronting illegal?
Car insurance fronting is a type of insurance fraud and is therefore a crime. Fundamentally, it comes down to the fact that you’re misrepresenting the facts to your insurer in order to avoid paying the true cost of your policy.
Figures from the Association of British Insurers reveal that car insurance fraud is valued in excess of £600 million, yet there’s a myth that insurance fraud is a victimless crime. But it ultimately affects all policyholders as premiums increase to make up for losses faced by insurance firms.
How do you get caught for fronting?
Fronting seems like it might be almost impossible to detect, after all, why would insurers suspect the main driver isn’t who is listed on the policy? Most instances of fronting come to light when a claim is made, and insurers launch an investigation into what happened. More often than not, when questions are asked, it becomes clear whether or not fronting has taken place.
It’s worth remembering that insurance fraud doesn’t just have a financial implication for other policyholders in general. Insurers spend time and resources investigating and dealing with the consequences of fraud, so they are particularly vigilant to it and keen to stamp it out.
What are the penalties for car insurance fronting?
The penalties for car insurance fronting vary. The most favourable outcome is that your insurer simply voids your policy and refuses to pay out. This would mean you’re responsible for covering the cost of repairs. It can also mean you struggle to find insurance in the future.
You can also end up with points on your licence (which can also increase future premiums). You may also be given a fine. In the worst case, you could end up in court and even face time in prison.
If you share a car, who is the main driver?
If your family or household shares a car, working out who the main driver is can be tricky. In which case, fronting can be something you unwittingly end up doing. However, the penalties are the same whether or not you intend to commit fraud.
As a general rule, whoever drives the car most is the main driver. For example, if you share a car with a parent and they use it to drive to work four days a week, and you only use it at the weekend, then your parent is the main driver.
How to avoid fronting
Avoiding fronting is simple, just make sure the main driver really is the main driver. If your circumstances change, just let your insurer know. For instance, if you end up taking the car away to university, you’ll become the main driver and should have the policy updated.
Why does fronting happen?
Car insurance fronting happens because of cost. Car cover is notoriously expensive for young drivers under 25 years old. Being added to the policy of a more experienced driver can help lower that cost. There is of course a much higher price to pay if you’re caught fronting.
How can young drivers get cheap car insurance?
There’s no getting away from the fact that car insurance for young drivers is significantly higher compared to other age groups. However, there are a few practical ways you can help lower costs without resorting to fronting:
- Pay for your policy annually to avoid monthly interest or admin fees.
- Consider a telematics policy which monitors your driving and rewards good drivers with lower premiums.
- Choose your car carefully and opt for a small, less powerful vehicle which will cost less to insure.
- Fit a security device to your car, for example, an immobiliser which will make your car less vulnerable to opportunistic thieves.
You should also compare as many quotes as possible to ensure you’re getting the best value policy. Consider the level of cover and don’t assume that comprehensive cover (the highest level of cover available) is the most expensive. In the vast majority of cases and for young drivers in particular, comprehensive policies can actually be the cheaper option.
Also, only buy the cover you actually need. For instance, if you don’t travel abroad, don’t add cover to drive in Europe. It might be a ‘nice to have’ but it’ll add more to your premium.
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