Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies (or rather not)

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.

Those are the findings of new research by global insurer Zurich, which polled 2,000 adults in the UK. The survey was carried out to better understand why many of us either lie or omit necessary information, following an increase in fraudulent claims credited to the rise of internet applications.

One in 10 of us will knowingly lie because we are scared of the consequences of being totally truthful, while just under a third (29.3%) of us lie as we are unsure of the correct information or didn¹t understand the process to begin with ­ 8% even admitting to lying as they don¹t take the process seriously.

However, despite five years of recession forcing people to tighten their belts, the research also found 87% of people would not lie to an official body (e.g. police, accountant, council, mobile phone network) in order to save money.

Zurich home insurance expert, Phil Ost, said: “It’s really encouraging that most people don¹t feel it¹s 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.

Dr Patrick Fagan, Lecturer in Consumer Behaviour, Goldsmiths University says: “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 we¹d 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.”

The study also found:

  • 14% would lie to save money
  • British resolve still ensures the glass is half full, with a third (34%) admitting they’d happily lie to put a positive spin on a bad situation
  • A third of people (32%) are more comfortable lying online than over the phone
  • 1 in 5 Brits (19%) have knowingly given false information to their employer / potential employer
  • One in ten (11%) admit they lie about their weight


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