Poll Reveals How Many People Will Lie To Their Insurance Companies

You’ve probably been in this situation before. You sit down with a representative from your insurance company. You’re adding a life insurance policy, and they have a number of questions regarding your health and wellness practices. You get to that question about alcoholic beverages, and considering yourself a casual drinker who frequently partakes, you say to yourself, “How will they know?” when asked about your drinking habits.


So you have a decision to make: lie or tell the truth?

Global insurer Zurich, taking the lead from just this type of situation, decided to poll over 2,000 insurance customers to see how most reacted in these ethical situations where truthfulness can potentially raise your rates. Here’s what they found:

Of the 2,000 U.K. adults polled, 20 percent admitted to lying to their insurance company even though 82 percent knew that providing wrong information could potentially render their policies invalid.

Zurich also found that these customers lied for the following reasons (via Insurance Information Institute):

• 29.3 percent — because they are unsure of the correct information or didn’t understand the process from the start;

• 10 percent — knowingly share false info “because they are scared of the consequences of being totally truthful”;

• 8 percent — because they “don’t take the process seriously.”

Of course, the inverse of these numbers actually demonstrate some good news with 80 percent not choosing to lie (or at least not admitting to it in the survey). Also, around 87 percent of the respondents “would not lie to an official body, such as the police or their accountant, in order to save money,” I.I.I. adds.

Phil Ost, Zurich home insurance expert, found it “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,” Ost added.

In the U.K., 32 percent of insurance customers were “more comfortable lying online than over the phone.” Thirty-four percent would lie “to put a positive spin on a bad situation,” and one-in-ten would “lie about their weight,” a pertinent question when it comes to getting some insurance policies.

“People lie about all sorts of things — from their weight to their employment experience — but the ‘white’ lie is still the most prevalent,” said Dr. Patrick Fagan, Lecturer in Consumer Behavior at Goldsmiths University, adding that “it’s interesting to see that there are still a sizable group of people who’d be dishonest in more serious and formal situations.”


The Most Important Thing To Remember

Mark Twain had a saying that we’ll paraphrase here: when you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember as much.

So maybe you pay a bit more for a premium. It beats having the policy rendered useless, and with physical examinations and other screening criteria, it’s getting harder to “put one over” on your provider.

With more insurance companies growing vigilant against insurance fraud, it really is a risk not worth taking, especially for products as vital to the protection of your family as life insurance.

If you are proven to have lied intentionally, it can be a death blow to your policy. Even an accidental fail to answer truthfully puts you at risk. Fortunately, of those surveyed in the above study, the majority erred on the side of caution. It may sound hackneyed and cliched, but honesty really is the best policy.

When you’re honest, you don’t cause unnecessary stress on yourself and you help your company to better manage the risks they face on a daily basis — and that’s a perk that gets passed along to you and all insurance customers.

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