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29% 'may cheat' on insurance claims

Nearly a third of Britons think its acceptable to commit insurance fraud, with many saying they would make a dishonest claim in order to get the latest gadgets, a survey has indicated.

Around 29% of people would consider exaggerating a home insurance claim, either by claiming for extra items or increasing the value of things that had been damaged or stolen, according to insurer Legal & General.

One in 10 people also said they thought there was no harm in lying on an insurance claim in order to upgrade their mobile phone or other gadget to the latest model.

Men were twice as likely as women to consider this behaviour acceptable at 13%, compared with 6% of women. They were also more likely to think they would get away with it, with 13% of men saying they were confident they would not be caught, compared with 5% of women.

Around 96% of the people questioned said they thought other consumers were dishonest when they claimed on their home insurance, with 62% saying other people exaggerated the value of their possessions by 25% or more.

Insurance fraud is often seen as a victimless crime by consumers, who may have paid premiums for years without previously making a claim. But the crime actually adds an extra £44 to the average UK household's annual insurance bill, according to the Association of British Insurers.

The group also said the insurance industry uncovered an average of 335 fraudulent claims worth £2.3 million every day.

Steve Phillips, head of fraud services at Legal & General's general insurance business, said: "The vast majority of us do understand that insurance fraud is equivalent to robbing other policyholders, but there appears to be a worrying number of people who are willing to make an inflated claim in order to get the latest gadget.

"This is committing fraud and is illegal. If someone is caught their details will be added to industry-wide databases, which could make it difficult to obtain insurance or finance in the future. In some cases they may also be prosecuted."

Opinion Matters questioned 1,099 people during November.


From Belfast Telegraph