We all know forms are tedious to fill out. As UX designers, we want to make our forms as effortless as possible in order to help our users save time and maximise completion rates. However, we need to be careful when using defaults or pre-populating fields, to make sure we are helping our users and not creating more problems or facilitating mistakes.
For example, if users are purchasing an insurance, we could pre-populate the 'start date' with today’s day if we know this is the most likely starting date for that product. On the contrary, when users are filling out a claims form for the same insurance product, it might be better to leave the field 'Date of the event' blank, since it’s unlikely that most users fill out the claims form the same day of their accident. Furthermore, having a default option already selected might lead to some users providing wrong information (by skipping this field and just leaving the default option selected).