20% of UK adults admit to lying to their insurance company

By Bob Atoo
August 15, 2014

Lying about insurance

A recent poll of 2,000 UK adults by insurance company Zurich has found that one-in-five (20%) admitted to lying to their insurer. This is despite 82% acknowledging that providing wrong information on an insurance form could invalidate the policy.

The research was commissioned by Zurich in an effort to understand why many of us choose to lie and/or choose to omit necessary information, and found that 10% lie as they are frightened about the consequences of telling the truth. Almost a third (29.3%) said they lie because they don’t quite understand the process or were unsure of what correct information to give.

Speaking of the results, Zurich’s Phil Ost said:

“It’s really encouraging that most people don’t feel it’s acceptable to lie to save money and honesty really is the best policy when it comes to things like jobs and insurance. The consequences of being found out can be severe and maybe invalidate a policy and potentially result in claims not being paid.”

Other notable findings from the research were:

  • 14% admit they would lie if it meant saving money
  • 34% say they would lie in order to put a positive spin on a bad situation
  • 32% are more comfortable lying online rather than over the phone
  • 19% admit they have knowingly provided wrong information to their employer or a potential employer
  • 11% lie about their weight

To get more insight into the act of lying, Zurich also asked Dr Patrick Fagan, Lecturer in Consumer Behaviour at Goldsmiths University, to comment on the findings:

“People lie about all sorts of things – from their weight to their employment experience – but the ‘white’ lie is still the most prevalent. There is a feeling that the more irrelevant the lie, the less severe the consequences, but this just isn’t true. I think we’d all agree that a little frugality with the truth to avoid upsetting someone is fine, but it’s interesting to see that there are still a sizeable group of people who’d be dishonest in more serious and formal situations.”