Fronting is when someone lies to their insurance company about who uses the car the most. That someone is often just trying to save some cash on their car insurance policy, but they’re going about it the wrong way.
Imagine you’ve just passed your driving test. You’re finally a driver! You’ve even got just enough stashed away to buy an old banger to get you to and from college. Maybe you can even take the occasional road trip. Yay!
But then, you try to get a quote for car insurance. The premiums are eye-watering. How does anyone afford this?
If you’re a newly qualified driver under the age of 20, you can expect to pay a staggering £1,800 per year on car insurance on average. Yup – that might be more than you paid for the car in the first place.
But wait – what if you swapped things around? What if you added your mum to the policy instead and made her the main driver? Her spotless record and years of driving will instantly slash your premium. Finally, a more palatable rate you can actually afford. Everyone wins, right?
If you have an accident and it’s found out that you weren’t being honest about your driving habits, your insurance could deny coverage and leave you paying for any damages out of pocket, or majorly reduce any claim payment. Not worth it.
Plus, fronting is considered fraud – and that can land you (and your mum in this example) in serious hot water with your insurer.
And whether you’ve engaged in fronting deliberately or by accident, it has serious implications for any policy that has been bought.
People generally front for two main reasons – because they want to pay less money for their insurance or because they can’t get insurance at all. From sneaky teens who list their parents as the main driver of their car to people with shoddy driving histories trying to save some cash, fronting is a common occurrence.
One of the most popular examples of fronting is a newly qualified driver who lists their much more experienced parent as the main driver to save money on their insurance. That would be fine if their parent was actually the main driver, but it’s often used as a fronting tactic when the newly qualified driver just doesn’t want to pay.
Also, people with lots of driving claims and convictions might take out a policy where they name someone with a better driving history as the main driver. They then drive the car anyway.
The final group is people who don’t understand what is being asked of them when they take out insurance. They engage in fronting by accident, but they’re still culpable.
How does fronting work?
Fronting works by lowering your car insurance premium because you’ve lied about who usually drives the car. But what exactly is behind this fraudulent discount?
Insurance policies have, what is called, a “risk fingerprint” which consists of a range of factors. This fingerprint is used to work out the price of your insurance.
So, for example, let’s say you just passed your test and you’re taking out car insurance with your mum who’s been driving for 20 years. If you claim that your mum will be driving the car most of the time, she becomes the main driver and you, the less experienced driver, will only drive the car occasionally. Your insurance premium will reflect this lower risk.
But, if you’re going to be the main driver, the insurance company will usually assume you’re higher risk than your mum. It’s nothing personal, rather it’s a combination of factors, including the fact that you’re new to driving. This higher risk will usually be reflected in your insurance premium.
This is why people often attempt fronting. They want to make a saving and don’t see the harm.
But here’s the thing – if you’re the one actually driving the car most of the time, you’re actually committing insurance fraud and risking a whole bunch of consequences.
What are the risks of fronting?
There are some serious consequences to being caught fronting. Not only can the insurance company possibly reduce or deny any claim payments in the event of an accident, but they might straight up cancel your policy.
And let’s not even get started on future insurance options – good luck explaining that cancelled policy to future providers, who will probably charge an arm and a leg for coverage – if you can get cover at all.
Bottom line, fronting might seem like a quick fix for cheap insurance, but it ultimately isn’t worth the risk.
What are my responsibilities?
In terms of car insurance, fronting – or misrepresenting who the main driver is on a policy – is definitely not cool.
So make sure you’re representing your driving history accurately. And if there are questions you’re asked when buying car insurance that you just don’t understand, make sure you ask for clarification.
There are no stupid questions, but there are definitely consequences to misrepresenting yourself or your circumstances. And even if you end up committing fraud by accident, your insurer is unlikely to be sympathetic.
What if I front by accident?
So you think you might have fronted by accident, huh? It happens. Not everyone who ends up fronting does it on purpose. Some people are just unsure about who the main driver of the car is.
We’re here to demystify this.
The declared main driver should be the driver who:
- regularly uses a car to drive to or from work or place of education
- uses the car for the highest percentage of the time
- uses the car on a daily basis
As you can see, it’s not about who bought the car, or who’s the registered keeper. It’s about who uses the car the most. If you still have any doubt on who the policyholder should be, we have a dedicated article about what it means to be a policyholder on a car insurance policy.
Ignorance won’t work as an excuse if you end up misrepresenting yourself. This is why it’s so important to get clarity from your insurer about any questions you might have before you take out a policy.
If you think that you’ve taken out a car insurance policy and fronted by accident, you should contact your insurance company at the earliest possible opportunity and explain the situation.
How is fronting detected by insurers?
Let’s be real: fronting is just insurance fraud disguised in fancy lingo. And car insurance companies are pretty good at sniffing out this illegal behaviour.
Take, for example, the classic fronting move of listing a parent as the main driver on a young person’s policy. Sure, it might work temporarily – until the black box placed in the car records that said young person is actually driving to and from college every day.
If the young person is involved in a car crash in front of the college, the insurance fraud investigation team’s alarm bells could start ringing. Oops!
Plus, with technology rapidly improving, insurers have even more sophisticated ways of detecting fronting behaviour, such as social media sleuthing – yep, those Instagram posts showing off about your solo road trip could come back to haunt you.
Bottom line – fronting may seem like an easy way to save some cash on car insurance premiums, but trust us when we say it’s not worth risking your coverage.
How can I legally reduce my premium without fronting?
It’s tough to reduce your premium legally if you’re fairly new to driving. Chances are, you’ll have to bite the bullet and pay the higher premiums for a while.
But, there are ways to lower the eye-watering car insurance quote you received. For instance, if one of your parents does use your car occasionally, you could still add them as an additional driver. This can lower your premium.
Also, by being the main driver on your policy, you accrue a No Claims Discount (NCD) for every year you don’t make claims on your insurance policy. This will result in a saving when the discount is applied on renewal.
Did you know that if you’re listed as an additional driver on someone’s policy, you often don’t accrue NCD in the first place? So while you might save on your premiums in the short term by listing your mum as the main driver on your policy, you’re shooting yourself in the foot in the long term.
We have a whole article on NCD and exactly how it works here, so make sure to check it out if you’re unsure how it works.
Also, it might pay to shop around for the right policy. Temporary car insurance policies like Zixty can provide short term insurance while you look for the best annual car insurance policy.
Fronting: An overview
So, you might want to save money on your car insurance policy by lying about who the main driver of the car is, but that’s fronting and it’s a huge no-no.
First of all, if you get in an accident and they find out you’ve been fronting, your insurance could deny coverage and leave you paying for any damage yourself, or reduce the amount paid for a claim.
Plus, fronting is considered fraud and that can land you in serious legal trouble with your insurer. Bottom line – fronting may seem like a quick fix for saving money, but it’s not worth the consequences.
There are legal ways to lower your premium, like building your NCD over time, or naming your parents as additional drivers if they drive your car occasionally. You can also use short term car insurance policies like Zixty to give yourself time to shop around when it comes to renewal.