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Nearly 1 in 5 of the UK’s young drivers are uninsured or ‘fronting’

03 February 2014

16% admit their cars are insured in a parent’s name and 3.5% are driving without arranging any cover at all

Nearly 20% of the UK’s 17 to 19 year old drivers are flouting the law by committing insurance fraud or driving without an insurance policy.

New research commissioned by comparison website Gocompare.com has revealed that 16% of 17 to 19 year old drivers have their cars insured in a parent’s name because they could not afford to insure the car themselves. The practice, known in the industry as ‘fronting’, is fraudulent, invalidates a policy and could land in court those who knowingly try to fool insurers into charging lower premiums.

A further 3.5% of the UK’s youngest drivers admit to driving without any insurance at all. Driving a car on a road or in a public place without at least third party insurance is illegal. The consequences of driving without insurance include a fixed penalty of £300, six penalty points and the risk of having the car seized and destroyed. If the case goes to court the driver could receive a fine of up to £5,000 and be disqualified from driving.

  • 24% of 17 to 19 year old drivers struggle to afford to run their car
  • 30% get financial help from parents
  • Average annual running costs are estimated to be £1,753.34, or 22% of income
  • 16% estimate they pay over £3,000 a year keeping their car on the road
  • 16% are ‘fronting’ their car insurance
  • 3.5% are driving uninsured
  • 20% were sure they’d be covered for driving someone else’s car by the vehicle owner’s policy

Nearly a quarter (24%) of 17 to 19 year olds said that they often struggle to afford to keep their cars on the road with 30% saying their parents help out with the costs. They estimate that it costs them an average of £1,753.34 a year in running costs which constitutes approximately 22% of their income. And 16% of 17 to 19 year olds estimated that it cost them over £3,000 per year, or more than £250 per month, to run their cars.

In the survey, 33% of 17 to 19 year old drivers said that they do not own their own car but instead use their friends’, parents’, or other relatives’ cars when necessary. However, just 20% of drivers in the same age group were sure they would be covered in the event of having an accident whilst driving someone else’s car.

Gocompare.com’s head of car insurance, Scott Kelly, said: “The costs of getting your first car on the road can seem sky high to a young driver and certainly the insurance premiums for new, inexperienced drivers can be substantial. However, we’d warn people against fronting in an attempt to reduce the cost of their cover. Fronting is fraud and if you do have to make a claim on the policy the chances are you’ll be found out and you may end up in a lot of trouble. Not only will the policy be invalid but you may find yourself open to prosecution, liable for accident costs and find it hard to get insurance in the future.

“Worse still are those risking a criminal record, penalty points, disqualification, a large fine and the possibility of having their car turned into scrap metal by ignoring car insurance altogether. According to the AA, uninsured drivers cost the insurance industry around £380m a year and add around £33 to the cost of every motor insurance policy.*

“Parents can help their children to become responsible drivers and lower their insurance costs by staying on the right side of the law. Encouraging them to shop around for the best value policy that offers the cover they need is a good place to start, and adding a more experienced driver to a policy as a named driver can also lower their premium. Having their own policy from the start will also help new drivers to build up a no claims discount, which will help them to reduce their premiums further in the future.

“A final warning for those young drivers who borrow other people’s cars is that they must make sure the owner’s policy would extend cover to them if they had an accident whilst in charge of the vehicle. Incorrectly assuming you were covered will not be a sufficient excuse if you have an accident and it turns out you were actually driving without insurance.”


Notes to editors:

On 20th November 2013, One Poll conducted an online survey among 1,000 randomly selected British adults between the ages of 17 and 25.