Last month, an woman in Ontario was charged with obstructing justice and fraud over $5,000(*1). The policyholder reported to police that she had a car accident, although the driver of the vehicle involved in a collision in fact was her daughter. To cover for her uninsured daughter, she coerced the driver of the other vehicle into going along with her story. Moreover, to make her premium cheaper, she deliberately didn't disclose her daughter resided in her household.
Fraud is a serious crime regardless of its size.
When you buy travel insurance, insurance agents asks you about your health condition, such as "Was your last medical check-up more than 12 months ago?"
After a little thought, you may say "No" DESPITE you haven't seen your family physician more than two years. Because you've been in a good health, you think that telling a small lie really is not a big deal. Or, you may be afraid of being given higher premium by telling the truth. This is the moment "Fraudulent misrepresentation" occurs.
Fraudulent misrepresentation is: "A false statement made knowing it to be false and intending another to act on it to his detriment, or made carelessly or recklessly without regard to whether it is true or false."(2).
And here's the possible consequences. Failure to disclose or misrepresentation of any material fact, or fraud, either at the time of application or at the time of claim, shall render the entire contract void at the option of the insurer. Any claim therefore will not be payable.
There's a research about "lying" in U.K. (3). The study revealed that quite many people take risk of misrepresenting. "One-in-five (20 %) Brits admit to lying to their insurance company, despite a separate 82% knowing that wrong information registered on an insurance form can render the policy invalid." The study also found 14% will lie if it's to "save money" ,and about 10% will knowingly lie because they're "scared of the consequences of being totally truthful".
By making a false statement in application, you may end up with huge medical bills. Moreover, fraud costs to insurance companies billions of dollars each year which eventually leads to higher premium. It is POLICY HOLDERS who pay for it. In the story of the Ontario woman, what lead this case to a charge was tips from anonymous; Your lie will be detected sooner or later. Well, really, being honest eventually saves you.
(2)PLB insurance, Glossary of Commonly Used Insurance Terms
(3)Source: Zurich Insurance Group