MoneySaving Poll: Have you ever 'tweaked the truth' on an insurance claim?

Poll started 10 March 2015

Have you ever ‘tweaked the truth’ on an insurance claim?

Lying on an insurance claim is fraud. No question. Yet many people admit to ‘tweaking the truth’ (still fraud) such as saying their mobile phone was taken from their bag when they know the bag was unzipped and it actually had dropped out.

Have you ever been dishonest on your insurance claims?

Did you vote? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below. To see the results from last time, click here.

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Thanks! :)



  • beebware
    beebware Posts: 5 Forumite
    Closest I came to not 100% truth is a car breakdown. Had just started renting a property down south, but still lived in the Midlands (registered at local Doctors in Midlands, paying mortgage for property in Midlands, had breakdown registered at Midlands address, car insurance etc at Midlands address) and the clutch failed when we returned to the property in the south after we checked up on Midlands house.

    I made the "claim" (just a tow to the local garage) even though we didn't have "Home coverage" for the breakdown on the basis that, *technically*, the South property wasn't my home at the time. If I had updated the policy to be the "new" address, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable claiming.
  • I have always been straight both on obtaining insurance and when making any claims.

    If this survey reveals people not being completely honest, beware that it is just going to give the insurers enough to dine out on for more years with their never ending drivel of fraud press releases etc and will just give them more excuses to rely upon for price rises.

    Expect the ABI mouthpiece,James Dalton, to quote the outcome of this survey....

    Although I have yet to see any insurer define "fraud" and what perameters they use to classify a claim as fraudulent.
  • Flick216
    Flick216 Posts: 8,953 Forumite
    I have always been honest.

    There are some people in life who just seem to get away with stuff and there are those of us who just seem to get caught on the tiniest infraction!
    ENFP - Assertive
    Officially in a clique of idiots
    Smoke me a kipper; I'll be back for breakfast
  • agarnett
    agarnett Posts: 1,301 Forumite
    When I entered the insurance industry as a green behind the ears graduate, donkey's years ago, integrity was the watchword for all our dealings with the customer. If our marketing department had fiddled with a policy wording and created a loophole, that was our tough luck. We didn't need any FOS to tell us that. We self policed.

    My role was a selling one. That meant I sold promises to pay. Another part of my role was dealing with any complaint arising out of disputes about what I had sold. Can you imagine that now? :p

    On behalf of the client, I would argue the case with the claims department. I was exceptionally well-trained to do so. The exams I was encouraged to take led to far higher qualification and understanding than the simple tick-box certificates which are banded about in the industry now.

    I would point out the loopholes in wordings to claims department through which coaches and horses could be driven. And if I was technically right, we paid up, pronto, even if it wasn't quite what the marketing department had in mind with their tweaked wording, and even if the customer in their heart of hearts knew they were lucky to have someone like me arguing for them. But that was how the best insurers worked.

    At that time I received a 10% commission on any home or car insurances I sold to friends and family, just the same as many of the high street insurance brokers were paid by my company (not very much you will notice in today's greedy terms!). I always rebated all of it to the policyholder. In my day job I received no commission at all - it was a well paid salary job.

    The premiums we charged were some of the more expensive on the market. We had a reputation in the market for very fair dealing, so customers knew we were worth it.

    Wide Accidental Damage cover (as opposed to Fire Lightning Burst Pipes, Explosion etc. of old) was only just beginning to take hold in the market.

    In those days many more people smoked, and of course the vogue was fitted carpets throughout most peoples houses and flats!

    Some of my family also smoked. More than once I was approached by family and friends to ask if they could claim on the policy I had arranged for fire damage to their fitted carpets because they had been typically careless and dropped glowing ash on one corner of the carpet on a Friday night after a few beers, and they'd heard they could get new carpets throughout the house if a repair or replacement couldn't match exactly what was there before!

    I always discouraged them from making such a claim on the basis that it was clearly not the intention of fire insurance to cover that kind of carelessness. In short it was not fair dealing by the customer. It was a "try-on" and I know that for many thousands it was a successful one.

    I can remember "customer wheezes" like that beginning to be more and more frequent. It was way before MSE of course, so it was the man in the pub who said you could claim for this and that!

    I even suffered pangs of guilt for a few years whenever I visited my brother-in-law and sat on the sofa and looked down to the right and saw the bare patch where the cigarette burn had been. His Mum had paid for those fitted carpets when they moved into a new house. They were never quite content with their original choice of colour. Within a year they'd had the accident. In the early days of those carpets, you had to know where to look of course, but nevertheless I began to think I should not have been so straight bat and self-righteous about that claim with my own family.

    Over the years those carpets of course collected more cigarette burns from more Friday nights. In a smokers house surely that was wear and tear? But because lots were claiming as a kind of revenge for the more and more prevalent immediate denial of claims as an industry normal first response, or getting caught out by serious reductions of claim amounts by loss adjusters who had no better way of proving their business was better than competitors than reducing claims costs and thereby gaining more loss adjusting business from their Claims Manager contacts.

    So the market declined into the almost totally price-driven insurer versus customer type arena it is now.

    Fast forward 40 years from when I started, and the market culture is turned on its head. The industry is no longer interested in upholding principles. It is not interested in upholding any reputation beyond that required to maximise its short term profit. It is solely interested in profit in every transaction. It has no compunction about deflecting claims as a first response, knowing that is enough to completely discourage a large number of claims.

    All of us have to battle through that first line as a norm, no matter how big or household name the insurer is. We know it. We are changed by it.

    Most of the adult population has been obliged to year after year interact with the insurance industry through compulsory motor insurance if not through sensible insurance of our homes. The way customer service and claims service has changed and been outsourced and cheapened is enormous.

    It sounds corny, but the culture changes in the insurance industry over decades have greatly affected UK culture generally. All is fair in love and dealings with insurance companies is now a valid thread through our culture. And all is fair in seeking maximum profit for shareholders in any way possible that is not going to put us out of business next week is the culture of the insurance companies.

    I watched a movie last night which I thought examined moral principles in a developing business very well - "A Most Violent Year".

    The lead character (who was driven to grow his business as fast as he knew how) was by the end of the movie presented as an acceptable hero, because, as he put it to the policeman who had been tasked with investigating inherent fraud in the industry and had targeted our hero's business, he always tried to follow "the most right path". And he was not the only businessman in the story who also had their own interpretation of "the most right path" and who we as the audience were also invited to accept, or not as "good guys" or "firm but fair" or "weak and stupid" or "nasty but not without good reason" or "collateral damage".

    In a way, is that not what we MSE'ers try to achieve most days in the face of the baddies ? Find the most right path ?
  • I have always played with a straight bat - 100% honest. Simple reason really - I never want to give an insurance company ANY excuse to weasel out of their liabilities. If it is big enough to claim then they will look for reasons to not honour the claim (IMHO). SIMPLES!
  • stevemcol
    stevemcol Posts: 1,666 Forumite
    Should've added another category: MSE Internet surveys
    Apparently I'm 10 years old on MSE. Happy birthday to me...etc
  • stevemcol
    stevemcol Posts: 1,666 Forumite
    agarnett: Really good post that. Not often I read a very long post from start to finish but I did in your case.
    Apparently I'm 10 years old on MSE. Happy birthday to me...etc
  • marleyboy
    marleyboy Posts: 16,698
    First Post Combo Breaker
    The nearest I have come, is in NOT declaring we have a burglar alarm. Sure it may reduce the costs, but should the alarm be off or faulty, they will use that as a reason not to pay out.

    Insurance companies will go out of their way in looking into NOT paying out, I would not want to give them a reason so give as much an honest and accurate claim when applying for insurance.
    "Marleyboy you are a legend!"
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    Marleyboy speaks sense
    marleyboy (total legend)
    Marleyboy - You are, indeed, a legend.
  • marleyboy - it is accepted, if you actually do have an alarm, not to declare it. I have done this for the last few years, with an explanation to any helpdesk operative I speak with. the reason for this, I have heard from several people I know that fit the alarms, is that the wording of the policies state that it has to be set when the house is empty/unoccupied. Now, obviously , when leaving the house to go out or to work, the alarm is set, all doors and windows are locked. No issues there. But what happens when you and the family are all in the garden , having a bar-b, or in the hot tub, with no one in the house .... is the alarm set then, the house is technically unoccupied at that time. that will be enough for any insurance to say that you have not fulfilled your side of the contract, and also enough for your TV, stereo, computer and your car to disappear (not wishing that on anyone) for the sake of £5 or £10 per year. Own conclusions can be drawn at this point.
  • pollypenny
    pollypenny Posts: 29,389
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    Just after we moved here I managed to drop a large shell into the bath on two occasions, chipping it.

    Six months later, the toilet cistern split in half.

    There was no problem with insurance. The loss adjuster did mention that we should have claimed for the bath immediately, but accepted our claim for a new bath and toilet.

    However, the replacement cost for the two pieces was considerably more than buying a new suite! On that occasion we did replace the suite and the plumber gave us two receipts. Twisting the truth, but still saving the company money.

    What we hadn't realised, though, was that a metric measured bath would be lower than the old one. We ended up retiling.

    Our next door neighbours had the works from their company. They also save money by claiming that they have two bedrooms, as they use one as a study. Dubious.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
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