'My Porsche is a tractor' insurance scam

An unusual scam has emerged in which drivers are claiming a 'farm use' discount for high performance cars including Porsches, Audis and BMWs.

Insurers in America will offer discounts of up to 20 percent for cars used almost exclusively on farms; the less time a car spends on public roads, the less chance it has of crashing or being stolen.

But a company called in to assess the 80,000 cars registered for the discount found that models including a Porsche 911 Carrera, Mercedes SL-Class and BMW Z4 were insured under the scheme - hardly suitable muck spreaders.

The company, San Francisco-based Quality Planning, discovered an Audi A4 registered as a farm vehicle in Brooklyn - a densely populated New York suburb not famous for its agricultural industry. The driver was enjoying a $389 (£250) annual saving on his premium.

Of the 80,000 registered cars, 6,382 (around eight percent) were kept in areas in which less than one percent of the population work in agriculture.

The fraudsters are seemingly able to get away with it because of lax checking by the insurance companies - farm use claims are rarely verified.

Talking to the New York Times, Quality Planning's Robert U'Ren said: “honest people end up subsidising the insurance premiums of dishonest people. It is an easy tool that cheats can use to reduce the cost of auto insurance.”

It's not just drivers that are in on the scam, however - insurance brokers are at it, too. Pete Moraga of the Insurance Information Network of California confirmed that brokers are willing to use it to cut premiums in order to gain business.

Drivers aren't often prosecuted for misrepresenting their cars as farm vehicles, but simply have their vehicle re-classified and the discount rescinded.


Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Car Reviews

Order a free car buying guide

  • Family Cars Guide
    Family Cars Guide

    Compare some of the best family and compact cars in the market. Independently reviewed cars. Free brochures and test drives available … More »

  • Eco Cars Guide
    Eco Cars Guide

    Independently written eco-car guide, covering everything you need to know about greener car travel. … More »

  • Small Cars Guide
    Small Cars Guide

    Compare some of the best superminis in the market; independently reviewed cars; free brochures and test drives available. … More »

  • 4x4 Guide
    4x4 Guide

    If you are thinking of buying a 4x4 request this free guide to help you make a more informed decision. … More »

  • Executive Cars Guide
    Executive Cars Guide

    Our executive cars buying guide covers everything you could want to know about executive car travel. … More »