We all know that insurance is important to protect the things we love and when it comes to car insurance, it is essential that you have the correct cover. Not only is having car insurance a compulsory requirement for motorists in Ireland, it is also crucial to have sufficient cover in the event that you cause an accident.
The Gardaí have issued a warning to Irish drivers about the emerging fraudulent practice known as “Ghost Broking”. Ghost Brokers pose as legitimate insurance intermediaries selling cheap insurance policies. In reality, their policies are fake and not worth the paper they are written on.
What is Ghost Broking?
A Ghost Broker is not authorised to sell insurance to the public and is not supervised by the Central Bank. A GhostBroker is acting illegally by pretending to be an insurance broker.
In many cases, the Ghost Broker buys genuine car insurance policies from an insurance company on the basis of false or inaccurate customer information. Ghostbrokers also operate by selling fake or forged car insurance certificates and discs.
Those most in danger of falling prey to Ghost brokers are:
- Inexperienced drivers – who may be attracted by the promise of cheaper cover without realising the entire transaction is fraudulent leaving them with no cover.
- Foreign nationals – who are unfamiliar with how motor insurance works in Ireland and who may resort to online forums for advice only to come in contact with a fraudster claiming to be a broker and offering cheap car insurance.
What is the effect of Ghost Broking?
If you buy cover from a Ghost Broker you have not actually purchased a valid car insurance policy and therefore, you are, in effect, an uninsured driver. The consequences of not having legitimate insurance are serious and costly.
- Your car could be seized by the Gardaí
- You will have to buy legitimate insurance and pay the costs of impounding your car before the Gardaí will release it.
- You will be liable for any damage you may have caused to property or you may have to compensate someone you injure.
- You may be convicted of an offence under the Road Traffic Acts for driving without valid insurance. Such a conviction could make it difficult and more expensive to obtain valid insurance cover.
- Receiving a conviction could make it difficult for you to obtain other insurance products. It could also impact your ability to secure a loan or a mortgage.
How can I avoid becoming a victim of Ghost Broking?
At Aviva, we have the following advice for car owners buying insurance:
- Research your provider.
- Check the Irish Broker Association’s web site at www.iba.ie for a full list of approved brokers. The Insurance Ireland’s web site at www.insuranceireland.eu provides a full list approved insurance providers.
- Check all insurance documents you receive for accuracy. If any detail is incorrect, contact the insurance provider.
- Beware of buying insurance from unusual sources such as social media sites like Facebook, or newspapers.
If you have any concerns you can e-mail Aviva at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Motor insurance fraud is paid for by the vast majority of drivers who abide by the law. Aviva is committed to fighting fraud where it can. Fraud adds to the cost of a person’s car policy and reducing fraud will be a major factor in containing increasing insurance costs.