Car insurance fronting
Could you be committing fraud by lying about who the main driver of your car is to get cheaper premiums? Read on to find out all about fronting.
Fronting is when a more experienced driver tells an insurer that they’re the main driver of a car, when in fact it’s mostly used by a higher-risk motorist, like a new or young driver.
For instance, a parent may say they’re the main driver, adding their child to the policy as a named driver. But in reality it’s their child who uses the car the majority of the time.
It’s usually done to get lower premiums. But it’s a type of insurance fraud which could have serious consequences and even result in a criminal record.
Is fronting illegal?
Yes, but many people are unaware that fronting is illegal and how serious it is. It’s a type of insurance fraud and a criminal offence which can have far-reaching consequences. It could result in a disqualification from driving, a fine, or even a criminal record.
And telling your insurer that you weren’t aware it was illegal won’t help in your defence either.
At the very least, if an insurer finds out you’re guilty of fronting they can declare your policy void and refuse to pay out for any claims.
Why does fronting happen?
It usually happens when high-risk drivers try to get lower insurance premiums.
For example, let’s say that a young person has just passed their test and gets their first car. They’re going to be the main driver of the car, using it to commute to work every day and for leisure at the weekend.
It’s likely that, as the main driver of the car, they’ll be quoted a high price for their car insurance.
That’s because young, inexperienced drivers (under 25) are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident than older drivers. They’re considered high-risk drivers. So insurers balance out the risk by charging them more than they’d charge an experienced driver with a proven track record of safe driving.
Bearing this in mind, if the young person got a quote for the same car - but instead declared one of their parents as the main driver on the policy and added themselves as a named driver instead - it could shave hundreds of pounds off the price.
It can be tempting to try to save money in this way, but insurers are expert at spotting this type of fraud and can refuse to pay out a claim and cancel your insurance if you’re found out.
What’s more, many people don’t realise fronting is a criminal offence, so it’s just not worth the risk.
What are the potential consequences for car insurance fronting?
You could receive:
- A fine
- Six to eight penalty points (you can lose your licence if you get six or more points on your licence within two years of passing your test)
- Prosecution for fraud and a criminal record
- Your insurer can declare your policy invalid, cancel it (leaving you uninsured) and refuse to pay a claim if you’re involved in an accident
- You may be forced to pay compensation for damage to other vehicles if you’re in a crash
- You could find you’re quoted much higher premiums for car insurance in the future
- Some providers may refuse to offer you cover
Who is the main driver on a car insurance policy?
In insurance terms, the main driver on an insurance policy should be the person who uses the car most regularly.
They may be the owner and registered keeper of the car and use it to commute to work daily and for weekend trips to see family and friends, for example.
A named driver, meanwhile, is someone who uses the car occasionally - and always less than the main driver.
As a named driver, you get the same level of cover as the vehicle’s main driver.
How to avoid fronting
It’s always best to be completely honest when you’re buying insurance. Answer all questions as accurately as possible and if you have any doubts or confusion about who should be the main and named driver on your car insurance policy, check with your provider.
So, how can I legally add my child as a named driver on my own car insurance policy?
Adding a child as a named driver to your policy can be cheaper than taking out a separate car insurance policy for them.
It’s perfectly legal to do this. But only as long as your child uses the car infrequently, and less than you. If they’re the only, or most frequent driver of a car, then they must have a car insurance policy in their own name.
Adding a young, inexperienced driver to your policy will mean a rise in your premium costs. And most insurers won’t allow them to build up their own no-claims discount (NCD) as a named driver. You could also lose your NCD if they have an accident in your car.
Legal ways to save money on car insurance
Here are eight legal tips to help young or new drivers save money on their car insurance:
Add a named driver
You could save £62 by adding an experienced additional driver - like a parent - to your policy
Engine size matters
A smaller engine (less than 1000cc, or close to 1.0 litre) will mean the vehicle is in a lower insurance group, resulting in cheaper premiums
Black box policies
A telematics policy, which monitors the way you drive, can give you cheaper premiums when it’s time to renew if you’re a safe driver
If you can afford to, choosing to contribute more to the cost of a claim can lower your premiums
Advanced driving courses
Taking these types of courses shows insurers that you’re committed to safer driving while also building up your confidence behind the wheel. Pass Plus courses, for example, offer sessions on things like driving at night, in adverse weather, on rural roads and on dual carriageways and motorways. If you successfully complete these types of courses, you may be offered a car insurance discount
Buy insurance in advance and in one go
Buying your insurance policy in plenty of time could mean insurers see you as less of a risk. And if you can afford to pay for the policy in one upfront annual payment, you can avoid being charged interest on monthly payments
Ask insurers if they offer discounts for certain makes of car alarms or immobilisers. Keeping your car in a garage or parked off the road at night can also get you cheaper insurance
Each insurer will have something slightly different to offer young drivers, so compare policies to find the right one for your needs