Car insurance fronting: 1 in 5 parents risks prosecution for trying to get cheap insurance for young drivers

Fraud warning over common method of lowering policy costs that could result in a fine, points and a criminal record

As many as one in five parents could be committing insurance fraud in a bid to keep car costs down for their children.

As motorists face continued pressure on their budgets, a new study into driver behaviour has found that up to 20% of parents admit “fronting” for their children on their insurance in an effort to save money.

Fronting involves an older or more experienced person being named as the main driver on a policy but a younger or higher risk person is actually the vehicle’s main user. The practice often helps generate lower insurance prices but is against the law and can cause serious problems for drivers caught doing it.

Insurance service GoCompare questioned more than 1,000 parents of children aged between 17-25 who were either learning to drive or were a new driver. When asked about their child’s car insurance, 20% said that the insurance was in their – or their partner’s - name and the child was named as an additional driver.

Insurance remains one of the biggest costs in motoring

Although it seems like an easy way to save money, being caught fronting can end up costing families far more. Insurance fraud is illegal and you’re found guilty of fronting you could be fined thousands of pounds, have six points put on your licence and end up with a criminal record.

Fronting could also see your insurer cancel your policy and refuse to pay out in the event of a claim, leaving you to cover any costs for damage or injuries. And being caught committing insurance fraud will make it more difficult and more expensive to get insurance in future.

Ryan Fulthorpe, motoring expert at GoCompare, said: “We’re seeing a period of huge financial strain on families at the moment, and it’s not surprising at all that families would want to save money wherever they can – particularly those who are facing big, new expenses like buying someone their first car.

“Unfortunately, parents often don’t realise that insuring a child’s car in your name, despite the fact that you won’t be its main driver, is an offence.  It may seem like a workaround that can help cut costs but as fronting is considered insurance fraud, you may well end up with at best a voided policy, at worst a substantial fine and a criminal record.”

Falling costs

Average insurance costs have fallen in recent months, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), but young drivers still face far higher premiums than older motorists. The latest data from quotes on GoCompare shows the average policy for a driver aged 17-19 is £1,161, almost three times the national average.

The study also found geographical differences in attitudes towards fronting, with nearly a third (30%) of parents in London admitting to putting their names on their child’s policy, possibly due to the relatively high cost of car insurance in the capital.

Mr Fulthorpe added: “The good news is that the figures appear to have decreased since last year, when nearly one in four (24%) admitted to fronting, whether accidental or otherwise. These stats are encouraging, particularly because of the financial pressures a lot of people are under right now – that we aren’t turning further towards risky decisions to save money.”