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NORTHWEST LEGAL NEWS

Thursday March 31 2016

Don't risk breaking the law when insuring your teenage driver, warns FDR Law




Don't risk breaking the law when insuring your teenage driver, warns FDR Law

Warrington’s FDR Law is calling for parents to make sure they protect themselves and their teenage children by avoiding the fraudulent act of ‘fronting’ when arranging car insurance.

With insuring a young driver costing upwards of £1,000 it’s no wonder that parents are desperate to find lower premiums. But ‘fronting’ - naming an older, more experienced motorist as the main driver to cut the cost of cover -  is illegal and the insurance industry is cracking down on it. Each year the Financial Ombudsman estimates some 1,000 insurance claims aren't paid because the relationship between the teenager and the car hasn't been accurately described.

Gary Heaven, Partner and Compliance Officer at FDR Law, Warrington explains; “What initially seems to be a harmless way to save money could have the opposite effect. Fronting is a type of fraud that could lead to criminal prosecution, the outcome of which might be financial penalties, penalty points or disqualification and the recording of a criminal conviction. This would not only seriously affect the ability to obtain financial products, especially insurance, thereafter but also amount to an offence of dishonesty and potentially damage future educational or career prospects.”

A recent survey of 1,000 parents of drivers aged 17-25 carried out by The Co-operative Insurancefound that although 81% of respondents were aware the practice was illegal, 94% wrongly believed they would be covered if they had to make a claim. That puts these young drivers at risk, not to mention the prospect of legal action for the parents.

Says Heaven: “You could argue that it’s not always easy to establish the main driver of a vehicle, particularly if you share a car with other members of your family. However, if you drive the car every day, or are responsible for the maintenance of the vehicle, it’s probably safe to assume you are the main driver. Anyone with any doubts should talk to their insurer.”

Getting a teenage driver insured is invariably expensive but there are still plenty of legal ways to limit the damage. Here are our six top tips for getting the best deal:

1.     Try the usual tricks for cutting car insurance

These include raising the excess, restricting the mileage, fitting vehicle security and parking off-street.

2.     Ensure that the car is in the cheapest possible insurance group

Cars are divided into insurance groups according to various factors including their engine size. The higher the insurance group, the higher the premium. It therefore pays to check a car's rating before committing to buy it.

3.     Consider buying a second car

Add your child as a named driver, but weight car usage in your favour and keep a log to avoid claims that you're 'fronting'.

4.     Investigate Black Box insurance deals

Consider putting in your teenager for the Pass Plus course to better prepare them for the road and earn discounts with some insurers. In a similar way, Black Box insurance, where the car is fitted with a small device which monitors braking and cornering speed, distance travelled and the time of day or night that you are on the road, can save cautious young drivers several hundred pounds a year on premiums.

5.     Add a more experienced driver to the policy

Unlike fronting, you can name an older person such as your parent as an additional driver, and that could bring down the price you pay. Firms may offer a reduced premium on the basis that a more experienced driver is behind the wheel part of the time.

6.     Shop around for the best deal Use a comparison site or broker to compare quotes.

If you need further advice on fronting and its consequences, please contact Gary Heaven at FDR Law on 01925 230000.



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