Tweak your job ti­tle for cheaper car cover

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - MONEY -

Chang­ing the way you de­scribe your job on a car in­sur­ance ap­pli­ca­tion could dras­ti­cally re­duce the amount you pay for cover, ac­cord­ing to Tele­graph Money anal­y­sis. Mo­tor in­sur­ers ask driv­ers to de­clare their oc­cu­pa­tion when they ap­ply for a pol­icy, as peo­ple with cer­tain jobs are more likely to make a claim than oth­ers. But most peo­ple can de­scribe their job in more ways than one and they could save a small for­tune by tweak­ing their job ti­tle.

As with any in­for­ma­tion sub­mit­ted to ob­tain in­sur­ance, the pol­i­cy­holder can­not lie, as this would con­sti­tute fraud and in­val­i­date their cover in the event of a claim. Yet driv­ers can use price com­par­i­son web­sites to shop around for the best quotes and change mi­nor de­tails, in­clud­ing a job ti­tle, to se­cure cheaper cover.

Take a 30-year-old bank teller who lives in south Lon­don and wants in­sur­ance to drive a 2.0L Ford Fo­cus. By de­scrib­ing his job as a “bank clerk” in­stead of a “cashier” he would save al­most £130 on the price of an an­nual pol­icy, ac­cord­ing to quotes ob­tained on GoCom­pare, a price com­par­i­son web­site. Or say he worked in ac­count­ing: choos­ing “book­keeper” in­stead of “fi­nance of­fi­cer” would cut his pre­mium by more than £100.

In­sur­ance firms claim that they need to rely on their own ex­pe­ri­ence of ac­ci­dent claims to es­tab­lish whether one job is riskier than an­other as the quote gen­er­a­tion process gleans only a ba­sic amount of in­for­ma­tion.

Pam Quinn of the British In­sur­ance Bro­kers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (Biba), a trade body, said: “Sta­tis­tics show that pol­i­cy­hold­ers with cer­tain oc­cu­pa­tions, such as roles that in­volve a lot of late-night driv­ing, tend to be in­volved in more claims. Jobs in­volv­ing work around celebri­ties can lead to higher-value claims, and this is re­flected in in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums.

“It pays to be hon­est, and to speak to a bro­ker if there is some con­fu­sion about how to de­scribe your job.”

When faced with a choice about how to la­bel your line of work, se­lect­ing the more generic job ti­tle of­ten leads to a lower quote. If the 30-year-old Ford Fo­cus driver were a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional for the NHS, they would shave £46 off their an­nual pre­mium by stat­ing their job as “doc­tor” rather than “GP”.

Sim­i­larly, a con­struc­tion en­gi­neer who de­clared her job sim­ply as “en­gi­neer” would find her mo­tor in­sur­ance quote re­duced by as much as £125. In this sce­nario, even the sec­ond-cheap­est quote for an en­gi­neer was still more af­ford­able than the best avail­able for a con­struc­tion en­gi­neer.

There are ex­cep­tions to the rule, so it pays to test var­i­ous ti­tles for your job. A “lawyer” would re­ceive the same quote if she en­tered her pro­fes­sion as “so­lic­i­tor”. But if she could change it to “bar­ris­ter” she would cut the cheap­est quote from £820 to £787.

For both the en­gi­neer and the lawyer, as well as the bank clerk and the book­keeper, the cheap­est quote came from Ad­mi­ral Lit­tle Box, a telem­at­ics-based car in­surer. Telem­at­ics in­sur­ance poli­cies can be cheaper as they track your driv­ing style through a “black box” in­stalled in your car. They are in­tended to en­cour­age good driv­ing and could spec­ify that you can’t drive be­tween cer­tain hours, for ex­am­ple.

If any of the driv­ers from the le­gal pro­fes­sion did not fancy hav­ing their driv­ing habits mon­i­tored by an in­surer, they could opt for the sec­ond­cheap­est quote, which was £906 from Esure for all three.

For many pro­fes­sions, job ti­tles are truly in­ter­change­able – such as bar man­ager and pub­li­can, although there is a marked dif­fer­ence in the car in­sur­ance quotes given to each. It would be happy hour for the driver who en­tered pub­li­can, as his low­est quote would be more than £100 cheaper than the bar man­ager’s.

While hon­esty is cru­cial to avoid an in­surer re­fus­ing to pay out in the event of a claim, pol­i­cy­hold­ers shouldn’t panic about how they de­scribe their pro­fes­sion on an ap­pli­ca­tion.

Sarah Cordey of the As­so­ci­a­tion of British In­sur­ers, a trade body, said: “Job ti­tle is one of many fac­tors that make up a quote and it is not typ­i­cally so cru­cial to a quote that peo­ple should get anx­ious about what they se­lect. Pro­vided that they se­lect a job de­scrip­tion that closely re­flects their job, that’s fine. In­sur­ers know jobs are fluid in na­ture and could be con­signed dif­fer­ent ti­tles from those that are of­fered on com­par­i­son sites.”

How­ever, if the job ti­tle se­lected from the mul­ti­ple choice list sup­plied on price com­par­i­son sites bears no re­la­tion to the pol­i­cy­holder’s oc­cu­pa­tion, any claim would be thrown out and se­ri­ous ac­tion taken. De­lib­er­ately mis­lead­ing an in­surer to get cover is fraud.

Sarah Dun­das of the In­sur­ance Fraud Bu­reau high­lighted the dan­gers of de­lib­er­ately se­lect­ing the wrong job ti­tle. She said: “This type of fraud is of­ten be­low the radar as it comes to light only af­ter a claim, and then where the driver has clearly sought to mis­lead the in­surer rather than made a mis­take.” It can also come to light if the pol­i­cy­holder has a dra­matic change in job ti­tle from one year to the next, such as from doc­tor to ar­chi­tect.

Ms Dun­das added: “It can lead to claims re­jec­tions and crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tions, if it is deemed se­ri­ous enough, as well as the driver be­ing placed on the In­sur­ance Fraud Reg­is­ter, which means they are ef­fec­tively barred from get­ting in­sur­ance again.”

Doc­tor or GP? Lawyer or bar­ris­ter? How you de­scribe your line of work could af­fect your in­sur­ance pre­mium, finds Dan Moore ‘Job ti­tle is not so cru­cial that peo­ple should get anx­ious’

The job ti­tles bar man­ager and pub­li­can are truly in­ter­change­able but there is a marked dif­fer­ence in the car in­sur­ance quotes: the pub­li­can’s best quote would be more than £ 100 lower

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