Motor insurance fraud, also known as ‘ghost broking’, occurs when organised crime groups or individuals pose as genuine insurance brokers in order to commit fraud.
They deceive you into buying cheap motor vehicle insurance and in many cases, actually buy the cover from legitimate insurance companies on your behalf. However, they are not authorised to conduct insurance business, and the policy will often not be valid. The criminal keeps your premium payment, but you find yourself without insurance cover, with the accompanying consequences. Ghost brokers frequently create fake, but convincing, policy documents to make the scam more realistic.
- You are approached in person, via a social media post, an online advertisement (including an advertisement for a vehicle on a buying and selling site), a door drop leaflet or a letter, with an offer of ‘cheap motor insurance’. If you are aware that the policy is fake at the time you buy it, and you are caught driving an uninsured vehicle:
- You could receive a £300 fixed fine and six penalty points – or a driving ban
- Your vehicle could be seized and crushed
- You could lose your livelihood
- You would not be covered in the event of causing injury or death in an accident
If, however, you can prove that you are a genuine victim of insurance fraud, the above liability may be covered by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
As mentioned at the top of this page, ghost brokers use spurious false policyholder addresses, so even if you have not bought a fraudulent policy you could be listed as the policyholder.
Protect yourself from motor insurance fraud
- Always try to buy insurance from:
- A reputable broker licensed with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can check to see if a broker is registered by visiting this page on the FCA website: register.fca.org.uk.
- A motor insurance company which you contact either direct or via a recognised comparison site. You can check to see if a broker is registered by visiting this page on the FCA website: register.fca.org.uk
- You can carry out a fast, free search for legitimate brokers with the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA), online at www.biba.org.uk/find-insurance or by telephone on 0370 950 1790.
- You can visit the Motor Insurance Database (MID) website to verify that your insurance provider has the correct details on file. The address is www.ownvehicle.askmid.com
- If you have a motor insurance policy and are not sure of its validity, contact the insurance company directly – not the broker you dealt with – to check.
- Think twice: never rush into arranging motor insurance with anybody other than one of the sources listed above, however difficult or expensive it may other be to obtain.
Protect your address from fraudsters
If you think your address has been used by motor insurance fraudsters, do the following:
Carefully check your post to check that all communications are addressed to you or someone else who lives on your premises. If you receive insurance documents for someone with no such connections, call the insurer who has sent them and ask to speak to their fraud department. Remember that if fraudsters are using your address in this way, it could affect your ability to obtain insurance or credit in the future.
If you have been the victim of motor insurance fraud, you think that your address is being used by ghost brokers or you have information about fraudulent motor insurance broking activity
Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, contact Police Scotland on 101.
You can also contact the Insurance Fraud Bureau via its free-to call confidential Cheatline powered by Crimestoppers, on 0800 422 0421, or at www.insurancefraudbureau.org