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One in three people may stretch the truth to cut insurance bills

29th May 2012 Print

A third of people (33%) will consider embellishing their responses when completing an insurance application form in order to keep their premiums down, according to new research from Zurich.

In addition the findings show people are equally comfortable not disclosing specific information, with one in three of those surveyed (33%) saying there are also specific questions on the application form where they would be tempted not to disclose information fully.

But the insurer warns that this could be an expensive mistake as it could render any claim invalid.

The research shows that women are more likely to provide incomplete information, with questions about weight, alcohol consumption, family history and medical health most likely to illicit partial responses.

And out of all of those questioned:

More than 4 in 10 (44%) said price was more important than having the peace of mind that they were covered

72% believe there are circumstances where it is acceptable to stretch the truth or tell a white lie.

Phil Brown, Head of Protection and Underwriting for Zurich UK Life, said it was understandable that people put cost first given the current economic squeeze. 

"But failing to disclose all information at the application stage could have disastrous consequences in the long term when a future claim is rendered invalid," he said.

Over three quarters of those surveyed (77%) believe that insurers try to avoid paying insurance claims.  And fewer than one in five (19%) believe insurers care about their customers.

Yet latest figures from the Association of British Insurers show that insurers actually paid out over £2 billion in life insurance and critical illness claims in 2010, with the average amount being £46,166, almost double the average UK salary.  Last year Zurich paid out £64.5m to customers in claims, totalling 92% of all claims.

"Zurich is there for when our customers need us and it's important to us that we always meet valid claims, so we want to do all we can to help people understand the need for them to tell us all the facts when they apply." Said Brown