All insurers set to clamp down on young drivers using parents' policies
All insurance companies are set to clamp down heavily on young drivers getting cover in their parents' name, but being the only user of the car themselves.
Younger drivers reacted with fury to suggestions by Aviva that they are acting fraudulently by being named drivers on policies taken out by their parents. They say they have no other way of getting on the road as insurance is so expensive.
Insurance experts said all insurers were now set to follow Aviva's lead and clamp down on the activity, which is known in the industry as 'fronting'.
Thousands of young people do it to save money, as insuring a car in a young, inexperienced driver's name can cost thousands of euro each year.
Getting a policy in their own name can cost a young person €5,000, but falls to less than €1,000 if they are a named driver on their mother's or father's policy.
Broker Jonathan Hehir, of CoverInAClick.ie, said insurers were seeing a rise in cases whereby people were making claims on policies that are in the name of the parents, but where the child was the main driver.
"It has become a problem for insurance companies, so they are all now going to start clamping down on it," he said.
Mr Hehir explained that insurers were now sharing more information and were better able to tell when the main driver did not have a policy in their own name.
They were able to cross-check and see when a car is registered in the name of the son or daughter, but the insurance policy is in the name of the parent.
Mr Hehir said insurers tended be sceptical when a parent had two insurance policies, on two cars, in their name.
Insurers and brokers are also suspicious when parents who have not driven for a number of years take out cover again and add a named driver.
"Where the cover is blatantly for the kids, there will be problems. If there is a claim and they discover fronting, then they won't cover accidental damage on the car and won't cover theft, but will cover third-party claims," said Mr Hehir.
Some insurers are making parents sign declarations to confirm that they are not "fronting" for a child.
Kian Griffin, a young driver who campaigns for lower-priced insurance, said many young drivers were not aware that 'fronting' was illegal.
The clamp-down by insurers would force people off the road, with others likely to drive without insurance, he said.
AA Ireland's Conor Faughnan said people who lied to insurers should not be surprised if claims were refused. He said the precarious financial situation for insurers meant that they were now more likely to check out if someone was fronting.
He added: "You can't defend fronting, but it is inevitable when prices go up so much."