Men 50% more likely to think it’s acceptable to lie to an insurer

  • Keeping mum on penalty points among motorists’ top 5 tolerable falsehoods

Male motorists are 50 percent more likely than women to think it’s reasonable to lie to an insurer if it means getting a cheaper policy, it has emerged.

The data is contained in an AA Motor Insurance survey in which over 8,400 motorists were asked to assess whether various “white lies” were acceptable to tell insurers in return for a cheaper premium.

The responses depended on the issue with people feeling some lies or exaggerations were more acceptable than others. As many as one in ten drivers felt it was at least somewhat acceptable to give inaccurate information about their annual mileage or their occupation, whereas less than three per cent of people felt they could fail to mention that they had been given a driving ban.

Overall though it is men who have emerged as significantly more willing to be economical with the truth.

“Given the increasing cost of car insurance it’s unsurprising that motorists will try whatever they can to cut costs,” says AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “You have to have some sympathy for them given the increases we are facing. But it is not properly appreciated that this can have serious consequences. You are entering into a legal contract with your insurance company and you cannot expect them to keep to their side of the deal if you have effectively lied to them.”

The AA also carried out a similar survey back in 2012 and the responses indicated that people were less inclined to tolerate lying then than they are now. The apparent hardening of attitudes is probably a side effect of frustration caused by the recent surge in insurance prices, says the AA.

Further findings from the survey reveal that motorists believe falsifying their relationship status is the most admissible “white lie” (10.64%) to tell an insurer, and in turn may be netting themselves unjustified discounts.

Giving inaccurate information about a profession ranks as the second most acceptable fib among motorists (10.46%), while 1 in 10 believe it’s okay to keep quiet on their true mileage.

Other tolerable “white lies” include lying about where a vehicle is parked at night (8%) and staying tight-lipped on the possession of penalty points (4.86%).

“These are otherwise decent citizens who are trying to manage their costs but they should know that fibbing about their information can cause huge problems,” warns Conor. “If an insurer finds out that that you have lied on your policy they’re within their rights to cancel it altogether or, if you have a crash, not pay a claim. You may also find it difficult, if not impossible, to get insurance afterwards.  That’s a very real consequence.”

At the other end of the spectrum, it appears that motorists draw the line at lying about a former driving ban with 94 percent deeming it an intolerable falsehood. Similar sentiment is also shown towards fibbing about a criminal conviction (95.78%).


Fig 1. How acceptable, if at all, is it to tell the following “white lies” to an insurer/broker, if it means cutting the cost of a motor insurance policy? (Based on 8,442 responses via an AA Motor Insurance poll during March 2016)

NATIONAL Very acceptable Somewhat acceptable Neutral Somewhat unacceptable Not at all acceptable
Neglect to tell an insurer/broker about some/all penalty points 1.51% 3.35% 6.45% 9.28% 79.41%
Not give an accurate age 1.30% 1.54% 6.92% 9.28% 80.97%
Not give an accurate marriage / partnership status 4.82% 5.82% 22.22% 14.53% 52.60%
Not give an accurate address 1.49% 1.99% 6.26% 10.00% 80.25%
Not give the security features of a car accurately 1.32% 2.92% 9.81% 16.17% 69.77%
Not give an accurate claims history 1.38% 1.06% 3.79% 6.63% 87.14%
Neglect to mention an existing medical condition 1.46% 1.54% 5.55% 11.19% 80.27%
Not give an accurate number of kilometres driven each year 3.09% 7.31% 17.69% 28.58% 43.34%
Not give accurate information about where a car is parked at night 2.27% 5.63% 13.86% 23.23% 55.02%
Not give accurate information about a profession 3.80% 6.66% 17.60% 20.73% 51.20%
Not give accurate information about criminal convictions (e.g. speeding, careless driving etc.) 1.46% 1.17% 3.59% 5.94% 87.84%
Neglect to mention a former driving ban 1.51% 0.73% 3.33% 4.18% 90.25%


Fig 2. Average rate of tolerance split by gender:

Male avg. rate of tolerance towards aforementioned “white lies” 6%
Female avg. rate of tolerance towards aforementioned “white lies” 4%


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