AT LEAST a million people a year lie to cut the price of their car cover or go without altogether, but the deception could cost them far more than they save.

According to insurers’ body the ABI, 449,000 confirmed or suspected dishonest motor policies were refused or cancelled in 2017.

And these were just the cases that came to light – others might only have been spotted and voided in the event of a claim, leaving the driver with a hefty bill.

The most common deceptions were altering an occupation or driving record and failing to mention previous claims or convictions.

Some applicants were even prosecuted for fraud, making it impossible for them to get competitively priced cover in future.

Meanwhile, price comparison site Compare the Market calculates that one in six Scottish drivers aged 17 to 24 and one in five of that age across the rest of the UK – a total of more than half-a-million young people – have no insurance.

Dan Hutson, the website’s head of motor cover, said: “They are breaking the law and could incur severe penalties.”

It is illegal to drive on a road or in a public place without at least third-party insurance and anyone caught doing so risks a fine of at least £300 and six points on their licence.

If the case goes to court, this could increase to an unlimited fine and disqualification, with the vehicle seized and destroyed.

According to comparison site GoCompare, most of those making dishonest applications are trying to save money. The website’s president, Lee Griffin, said: “Honesty is always the best policy when applying for or renewing your car insurance.

“To make decisions about your application and the terms they offer you, insurers require information about you, your car and any other drivers who use it.”

It is vital to answer their questions fully and accurately, including whether the vehicle will be driven for social purposes, commuting or business.

Social-only use excludes travel to and from work and all business-related journeys. If you ever drive for these, you must declare it, even though this will increase the premium, as you are likely to be on the road at busy times, raising your accident risk.

Similarly, if you work in a stressful occupation, or one that involves long hours or body-clock disrupting shifts, you must accept being deemed a higher risk and pay accordingly.

As well as declaring serious accidents, make sure you mention minor knocks and dents, even if they did not result in a claim.

Mr Griffin explained: “Some drivers mistakenly believe that they do not have to declare damage to their car if they paid for the repairs out of their own pocket, or for a claim which was not their fault and was settled by the at-fault driver’s insurer.

“Typically, insurers require information on all accidents within the last five years, so both of these types of incidents would have to be declared.

“Drivers also need to keep their insurer up-to-date with any changes over the course of their policy. For example, if they change their occupation, receive any motoring convictions or points or make any changes to their car.”

Never lie about who will be driving. Parents arranging cover for teenagers may be tempted to slash the cost by putting themselves as the main driver and the youngster as an additional user. This is a form of fraud known as fronting and can lead to prosecution.

Mr Griffin said: “The consequences of withholding or giving false information to obtain cheaper car insurance can be severe. Far from saving money, being untruthful can be costly should you need to make a claim and may even lead to your policy being cancelled or invalidated.

“There are significantly better ways of reducing the cost, including shopping around at renewal, opting for a larger excess, limiting your mileage or opting for a black box ‘telematics’ policy.”

The simplest way to get a range of quotes is via comparison sites, but not all major providers are listed, so you may want to check one or two direct as well.

You can also save by cutting fuel consumption. George Flinton of the AA said: “Make sure your vehicle is serviced regularly and use the right specification of engine oil – check your handbook or consult your garage if you’re not sure.

“Check your tyre pressures before any long journey, as under-inflated tyres will make your car use more fuel. And to reduce consumption even further, cut out any unnecessary weight.”