Friday, 9 February 2018

Finance Fridays – Ghost Car Insurance

We were talking about holiday companies charging to reserve sun loungers and other extra holiday charges for last week's Finance Fridays. This week we are looking at another news story. There's lots of scams about now and one of the latest is that of the ghost car insurance. Let have a look at what it is about and how you can stop yourself falling for it.

Nobody likes paying for car insurance. It seems to go up every year and if we don't have to claim on it we don't seem to get much back for our money. Everybody will need to pay at least a couple of hundred pounds a year for car insurance. If you are the wrong age, drive the wrong car or live in the wrong area then a quote for car insurance can run into thousands of pounds. Therefore it is very tempting if you are contacted about cheap car insurance to enquire further about it. However it is not all it seems.

Fake car insurance brokers have been contacting people directly on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to offer them cheap quotes on car insurance. It looks as if they are able to negotiate big discounts for well-known and long established firms. You accept the quotes, pay the premium and then receive the policy documents and certificate of insurance. The first time alarm bells start ringing is when they try to contact the insurance company and find there is no trace of the policy. It could be all the documents were faked and there never was a policy at all. Alternatively some 'brokers' are legitimately obtaining the lowest possible quote and buying the policy with the customer's money. After the documents have come through they then use the cooling-off period to cancel the policy.

If you find you have no car insurance this is a criminal offence. Driving without insurance will leave you liable to pay all the costs yourself if there is an accident. You will also be at risk of criminal prosecution for not having car insurance. This could result in a large fine, points on your licence and also the possibility of your car being seized and crushed. You can check to see if your car is insured on the Motor Insurance Database.

To stop falling prey to this scam you can do two simple things:

- Don't respond to unsolicited messages on social media or cold calling on the telephone.

- Only buy through reputable websites, checking the phone number of the insurance company before you buy or go through an established insurance broker.

Have you ever bought car insurance through a social media contact? Do you check if your policy is valid?

If you want to join in with this week's Finance Fridays then add your link to the linky below. Any post concerning financial matters is allowed. Full details here. It doesn't have to be published today as you have until 23.55 on Tuesday 13th February 2018 to join in.

Finance Fridays

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Twitter: @jibberjabberuk - please use the hashtag #FinanceFridays
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