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From: Nathan Robin

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Thinking of telling a white lie to save a few quid on your car insurance? We show you how it could end up costing you dearly.

Man with long nose

What happens if I lie on my insurance policy?|What could invalidate my policy?|How to get a cheaper policy

What happens if I lie on my insurance policy?

You may think a little white lie never hurt anyone, but giving your car insurer the wrong information can put you at risk of invalidating your policy.

This could prove to be nightmarishly expensive in the event of a claim.

If you get caught, the insurer has the right to cancel the policy or charge the correct premium as a lump sum.

Divers who have had their policy cancelled will then have to declare this on any future applications, and could find it harder and more expensive to get covered.

Insurers can also refuse to pay out for any claim you make which means you could be treated as uninsured.

And depending on the severity of the lie, the driver runs the risk of being blacklisted by all major car insurers.

This could make it virtually impossible for the driver to obtain car insurance from the mainstream providers, and potentially get a cheap premium.

Man dressed as a detective

What could invalidate my policy?

A lie in this instance does not have to be a blatant mistruth.

It could mean withholding a piece of information that the insurer would use in calculating the insurance premium or misrepresenting certain details to get a better price.

The most common falsified bits of information are:


It’s not worth calling your insurer up if you have brand new seat covers but if you’re modifying your car to add value to it – adding a great big exhaust, for example – you should let your insurer know.

Use of the car

Giving your insurer the wrong information about how you intend to use your car could also get you in trouble.

Insuring your car for “social, domestic and pleasure” use can cut your premium but may not mean you’re insured to drive to work.

Even if you drive to a train station daily before commuting to work, you would still need a “social and commuting” policy as you’re driving on the road in busy commuting hours.

And registering your policy as “social and commuting” only covers you to commute to one place of work.

So, if you’re using your car as part of your job, to drive to other sites as well as your usual place of work, you’ll need to insure it for “Business Class 1”.

For more information, take a look at our guide to classes of use.


Some people think it’s acceptable to buy insurance for their son or daughter, listing them as an additional driver as opposed to the main driver.

This strategy is known as “fronting”, which may result in lower premiums but insurers consider it fraud.

The person who drives the car most often should be listed as the main driver on the policy, and additional drivers should only be added if they drive the car occasionally.

Other pieces of information that are worth letting your insurance know about:
  • Alterations to the details of other people included on your policy.
  • Any increase or changes in the type of mileage you do.
  • Minor knocks, as well as more serious accidents, or if you’re not claiming for the accident, you still need to inform your insurer.
  • Other incidents, such as fire, theft or water damage – no matter how insignificant you think they are it’s best to let your insurer know.
  • Penalty points gained on your licence, or any motor-related convictions. Don’t wait until the renewal, tell your car insurer straight away if you get caught speeding or committing any other crime.
  • Changes to your address, or where the car is parked – for example, if you’re a student and your car is registered to your home but it’s actually kept in university halls.
  • Changes of career or job title, as this information is used to calculate premiums; your car insurer may ask you to pay extra if you give up the office job for a career in Formula 1.

Man holding piggy band

How to get cheaper car insurance the right way
  • Take extra precautions by fitting an alarm and immobiliser.
  • Choose a car with a smaller engine.
  • Avoid cars with any modifications from the standard manufacturer.
  • Take the Pass Plus qualification which could result in a reduction of your premium.
  • Opt in for a higher excess – but be sure you can still afford this amount in the event of a claim.
  • Consider getting a black box insurance policy if you fall into the high-risk group such as young, inexperienced driver or less frequent driver with a low annual mileage.
  • Consider fitting a camera to your dashboard (some insurers offer discounts to drivers with fitted dashboard).
There are certain quirks that you can ignore while driving. These ones, however, need fast attention if you want to stay on the road. Mechanic servicing a car

Your car should be serviced regularly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, usually after a certain time period or mileage.

But if you want to know the warning signs that your car is in dire need of a trip to the garage, look no further than these five symptoms.

1. Engine warning light Check engine light on dashboard

Most modern cars are good at telling you when your car needs to be looked at.

If a yellow “check engine” light appears on your dashboard , you should get your car to the garage for a service as soon as possible as there are a range of engine problems that this light could indicate.

A lot of cars also have a service light that will come on when your next service is due.

While this little light – usually in the shape of a spanner – shouldn’t worry you, it’s best not to ignore it for too long.

2. Strange noises Man with fingers in ears

Any new noises coming from your car should be checked out before they develop into serious problems.

Here are some of the sounds you may hear from your car and what they could mean:

Whining from under the bonnet – Usually caused by a loose belt, which in turn can cause all sorts of issues from overheating to battery problems.

Louder-than-usual exhaust noise – This could be a hole or crack in your exhaust. These tend to be easy to fix but should be looked at because there’s a risk your exhaust pipe could fall off.

Uneven engine noise – You’ll usually hear this when the car is idling. It could mean the engine is misfiring and needs fixing pronto. This could be an easy fix like replacing spark plugs, but could also indicate a more serious problem with your engine and how it handles the air/fuel mixture.

Metal-on-metal – Any scraping sound coming from your car needs to be checked out. This could be a broken part of your car scraping on something else, causing extra damage to both.

Squealing when you step on the brake – This could be an indication of worn brake pads.

Crunching gears – Because the gear box get a lot of wear and tear, fluids and parts often need replacing. If you hear a crunching noise as you change gear, it’s probably time to get your car serviced.

3. Smoke or steam coming from under the bonnet An overheated car with smoke pouring out of it

Usually caused by overheating and problems with the radiator, steam is generally white in colour.

While you should get your car checked out ASAP, you’re not in any immediate danger if you do see steam coming from under your bonnet.

Take a look at your car’s temperature gauge. If it’s at maximum, pull over and wait for your car to cool before continuing. When your car is running, the needle should sit in the middle of the gauge.

If you notice blue smoke coming from your car, stop where it’s safe to do so and get someone to tow your car to the garage.

Blue smoke is caused by burning oil, and can be quite a costly problem if left unfixed. Excessive smoke from the exhaust can also signal an oil leak.

This could be caused by a range of problems including:

  • piston wear
  • worn valve seals
  • worn piston rings
  • an intake manifold gas leak
  • worn engine oil seals
  • head gasket failure
4. Vibrating or pulling under braking Mechanic looking at worn brakes

This could be due to worn brake discs or pads, a suspension problem or an issue with your steering.

It’s not safe to drive like this so get your car serviced as soon as possible.

These symptoms could also be a sign of tyre wear, so check that your tyres have at least the minimum requirement of tyre tread – 1.6mm – and that they’re not wearing unevenly.

5. Reduced ride comfort Angry driver

If you find that speed bumps are becoming a problem, your car is riding low or you can hear your tyres scraping on the wheel arch of your car, it’s time to get it checked out.

Any of these symptoms could signal an issue with your suspension.

These are just some of the signs your car needs a service but to keep it in tip-top condition you should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and get it serviced regularly.

Criminals are increasingly stealing vehicles and passing them off as genuine through a process known as cloning. We explain how to ensure you’re not caught out. Man cloning car

Car buyers are being warned to avoid falling victim to the growing menace of vehicle cloning – a crime that could leave them thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Police in England have recently smashed a national cloning ring which had carried out frauds worth more than £2 million on the south coast and in West Yorkshire.

ID fraud for cars

But although one gang has been brought to justice, experts say that there is evidence that cloning is on the rise in the UK – and buyers should therefore be on their guard.

Cloning involves vehicles being stolen and then effectively being given a new identity.

Criminals disguise the 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen car and then use a stolen V5 logbook in an attempt to legitimise its identity.

In this way, it is much harder to check that a vehicle up for sale has been acquired illegally.

No chance of money back

If someone buys a cloned car which is later identified as having been stolen, they face having the vehicle returned to its rightful owner with no chance of getting their money back.

Last month, police arrested six people at addresses in Leeds, Bradford and Bournemouth in connection with the theft and cloning of 180 vehicles.

According to West Yorkshire Police, the gang had been operating for almost seven years.

Spokesman Detective Superindendent Pat Twiggs said: “The operation was focused on vehicles being stolen, primarily in the south of England, without keys using specialist equipment.

Man in handcuffs ‘Not just premium cars’

“They were then transported to Leeds where they were professionally cloned using the identities of legitimate vehicles and sold to innocent buyers through used car publications and websites.”

Neil Hodson, deputy managing director for automotive data firm Cap HPI, said: “Police recovered an Aston Martin Vantage worth £38,000 and an Audi Q7 worth £16,000, showing the range of prices and just how much consumers have to lose on buying a clone.

“But it’s not just premium cars that are at risk from cloning: every used car buyer needs to be aware of the very real threat of cloning.”

Do your homework

“Many buyers are just too trusting and buy a car on face value, which could cost them dearly,” he said.

According to HPI , used-car buyers should ensure they view the vehicle at the registered keeper’s address as shown on the V5 logbook.

They should be wary of any vehicle which is being sold at around 70% of the market value or lower, and should also avoid paying by cash if possible.

Cloning to escape prosecution

Finally, buyers should check whether the V5 logbook is genuine – the HPI Check, for example, analyses DVLA records to ensure the logbook has not been recorded as stolen.

Reports suggest that cloned cars are also being used by criminals to avoid prosecution for motoring offences.

In a recent case, a motorist from north London escaped a fine and points on his licence when he was able to prove that a BMW caught speeding in Lincolnshire was not being driven by him and had in fact been cloned.

The motorist’s innocence was demonstrated by anti-fraud firm APU, which used telematics data from the cloned vehicle to show it was still in London when the offence took place.

APU spokesman Neil Thomas said: “It’s very satisfying to help out innocent motorists of course, but the real worry here is that cloning could be back on the rise again.

“It’s usually linked to large-scale organised crime, and it’s hard to stamp out because the clone is registered to the innocent owner’s address, so you have to catch the crooks out on the road.

“However, we believe criminals are increasingly using cloned cars so that innocent drivers shoulder the blame for their inexcusable driving.”