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Brits don't think honesty is the best policy

28th September 2010

  • New research from Direct Line shows that Brits aren’t always upfront with their insurer
  • Insurance fraud costs every policyholder an average of £44

While over half of people in the UK (53 per cent)* consider that, in general, honesty is the best policy, it seems that this isn’t always the case when it comes to taking out insurance.

According to a new study by Direct Line**, one in ten (10 per cent) Brits confessed to being less than truthful when taking out a car insurance or home insurance policy, by omitting crucial details to try to get a cheaper quote. The most common details left out of the quote include intentionally forgetting to give details of a previous insurance claim (23 per cent of people), closely followed by bending the truth about their age (15 per cent). One in six (15 per cent) told a little white lie about where they keep the car and 12 per cent have kept shtum about a speeding conviction.

Although over three-quarters of men (77 per cent) claim that they are straight talkers, the research found that men are three times more likely to tell little white lies to their insurance company than women, with young men being the worst offenders. One in ten (ten per cent) Brits aged 18-34 admitted to telling little white lies to their insurer, which is ten times more than those aged over 55.

Matt Owen, spokesperson for Direct Line, comments, “Intentionally withholding information about yourself from your insurer is fraud and is illegal. Whether intentional or not, it would have an impact on any future claim, meaning that your policy may well be void.

“Although people think that they can omit details to make a short term saving, in reality insurance fraud adds an average of £44 to each and every insurance premium***, meaning that a little white lie on an insurance form leaves everyone else footing the bill.The best policy is to always be honest with your insurer.”

The research also found that people are more comfortable telling a porkie on an insurance form than when speaking directly to their insurer, as they are more comfortable lying on a piece of paper than to someone’s face. Almost half of people (48 per cent) admit to being more truthful face to face or on the phone, compared to only one in three people (30 per cent) who are more likely to tell the truth in a letter or email.

Psychologist Glenn Wilson comments, “It’s interesting that the findings highlight the fact that people are more inclined to shy away from the truth when they don’t have to lie directly to another person. Subtle signs such as body language, eye contact and sweating can all be signs of stress when lying so it’s not surprising that people are more comfortable stretching the truth with forms than faces.”

For more information, please contact:

Natalie Wheeler at Unity
0207 440 9819

Notes to editors

About the research

* Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 2,012 British adults from 3rd -7th June 2010

** Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 2,008 British adults from 10th to 14th September 2010

*** Insurance Fraud Bureau, 2010

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting