Parents front up for young drivers

New research has found that more than half of parents would commit car insurance fraud to reduce premiums for their children.

A survey of 1,000 parents of children aged 17-25 carried out by Gocompare.com found that more than half (54%) have ‘fronted’, or would consider ‘fronting’ a policy to secure lower premiums. Fronting is when a parent, usually a more experienced driver, indicates that they are the main driver of a vehicle which will most often be driven by a young or other high risk driver.

Fronting a car insurance policy invalidates the cover meaning anyone driving the vehicle would not be insured. What’s more, anyone caught fronting can end up in court, land themselves with a criminal record and harm their chances of being accepted for any kind of insurance in the future.

The research also found that 53% of parents said that the cost of car insurance for their child was a ‘major concern’ and 30% said that the premiums were ‘far greater than expected’. Premiums were described as ‘a rip off’ by 60% and more than half (51%) suggested that the cost of insurance for young drivers was a major factor in the number of young people driving without insurance.

Parents also indicated that the cost of car insurance was their second biggest concern when getting their child on the road, the first concern being safety.

Gocompare.com experts have come up with a few tips to help reduce policies. Adding another person like a parent as a named driver could reduce insurance premiums significantly, up to £187.83 in some cases, while shopping around saves an average of £286.44. Customers are also encouraged to avoid hot hatches and big engines, while taking out a telematics-based policy could also reduce prices substantially. Opting for a higher excess and taking out a policy in advance can also reduce costs.

Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said, ‘Insurance premiums for new, inexperienced drivers can seem high and people are often surprised at how much they are compared to the value of the car they’re insuring.

‘Unfortunately, according to the ABI (Association of British Insurers), drivers aged 17-to-20 are twice as likely to make an insurance claim as other drivers and their claims costs will be up to three times higher. As insurance premiums are based on risk, these figures mean that the large insurance costs young drivers face aren’t going away any time soon.

‘Although it’s understandable that a parent would want to help their child with the cost of getting on the road, it’s important to remember that fronting is a form of insurance fraud. Insurers always investigate claims thoroughly, which means a good chance that any dishonesty. Fronting can have serious consequences such as the claim being rejected or invalidating the policy, leaving the driver to foot the bill. Worst still, as insurance fraud is illegal there can even be serious legal consequences, as well as seriously hampering your ability to get insurance in the future. The long-term implications of being caught fronting mean it’s really not worth the risk.

‘There are legal ways young drivers can try to keep the cost of their premiums down and the tips we’ve outlined, together with shopping around at the outset and at their policy renewal, should help them find the right policy for their needs at the best possible price.’