According to ABI, there were 125,000 dishonest insurance claims in 2016, these were valued at £1.3 billion. 57,000 insurance fraud cases were down to opportunists, making claims when they shouldn’t be.
Despite the high numbers, there are many who do not know about the different types of insurance fraud, and how to spot if they have been a target.
So what are the different types of vehicle insurance fraud, and how do you know if you’ve been a victim?
In this article, we look at the different types of vehicle insurance fraud, the signs you have been a victim of this type of fraud and how to avoid becoming a target.
The different types of vehicle insurance fraud
There are several different types of insurance fraud you should be aware of. When we talk about insurance fraud we are talking about when you are involved in a car accident, and not another type of insurance fraud such as putting yourself as the main driver when you don’t drive the car. Which is also insurance fraud. But that’s not what we’re talking about today.
So here are some of the types of insurance fraud you might be a victim of if you are in a car accident. The ones we are going to talk about first are organised, and often involve several people at a time, and are practised and well-executed. Therefore, they can be harder to spot. However, being aware of them may be invaluable should something like this happen to you.
The panic stop
This is where there is a car with more than one person in it. They will drive around looking for a target and when they have found their victim, they will drive in front of them. One passenger will keep watch out of the back window and will watch their victim.
They will then wait until the victim looks distracted, be it changing the radio station or taking their eyes off the road for even just a second. As soon as they look distracted, the passenger will tell the driver who will then slam on the brakes and cause an accident.
The helpful driver
This fraud scheme happens when you are trying to merge into another lane of traffic. The fraudster will motion for you to come in front of them, and then will speed up so you collide with their car. They will then later deny all knowledge of their earlier signalling, and it’s your word against theirs.
The swoop and squat
This is probably the most sophisticated of the fraud schemes. It’s more sophisticated than the rear-end collision that many are familiar with.
This scam involves three cars, one of which is yours.
The swoop car will pull ahead of the squat vehicle intentionally and will cut it off, causing the driver to slam on their brakes. Following immediately behind is you, who might not be able to react in time meaning you will drive straight into the squat car. The swoop vehicle will then drive off out of sight before you can even grab the licence plate number.
When you talk to the police and your insurance company, you will say that the swoop vehicle caused the accident but of course, no one has their details.
Those are three of the biggest and most sophisticated insurance fraud claims. It’s important that you are aware of them should you become involved in a car accident and they make a claim that you don’t think is quite right.
Other types of insurance fraud
Of course, these aren’t the only ways that people commit insurance fraud. Here are some of the other ways people commit fraud that you should be wary of;
- Low speed impact
- Some drivers will claim injury or make a claim when they have collided with someone at low-speed, such as in a car park
- Phantom passenger
- This is where the claimant wasn’t even in the vehicle at the time of the collision
- Exaggerated loss/damage
- This is when an accident occurs and the claimant exaggerates the circumstances or the damage done to their vehicle
So those are some of the other types of fraud that you may have to be wary of.
How do I avoid becoming a victim of vehicle insurance fraud?
Honestly, if you are a victim of insurance fraud it is because you are very unlucky. However, there are some things that you can do to help lower your chances of being a victim of vehicle insurance fraud.
Keep an eye on your driving
Many insurance fraudsters rely on you being distracted for them to carry out their scheme. Therefore, the top way to avoid being a victim of insurance fraud is to make sure that you are paying attention to the road. Try and avoid distractions and keep an eye on the road and your surroundings at all times. This will be handy even if you are in an accident, as you will be able to recount what happened more accurately than struggling for details if you were fiddling with your radio or talking to a passenger.
Get a good look at the drivers and passengers
This could come in handy if you are to talk to the police or insurance companies.
Take photos of any damage
This includes of your car, any other vehicles and the surrounding areas. Take photos of as much as you can and make sure that they have a time and a date stamp on the photo. This will come in handy should you make a claim.
If someone is injured, call the police
If the damage to the vehicles is bad enough you should call the police anyway, but definitely call the police if someone claims to be injured. It’s a lot harder to commit insurance fraud if the police are called.
Be wary of those who are quick to offer their services as a witness
Obviously don’t treat everyone who offers help as a potential fraudster, but do be wary of those who rush over and are too quick to say they will be a witness. They could be in on the scam as well.
In conclusion, those are some of the types of vehicle insurance fraud that you might come across. It is important that you are aware of them because you don’t know when it is going to happen to you. There are ways you can eliminate your risk of being a victim of insurance fraud, but one of the main ways is to keep an eye on your driving, make sure you are not distracted and be aware of what is going on around you. Hopefully this has cleared a few things up about vehicle insurance fraud, what sort of schemes are around and how to avoid being a victim of insurance fraud.
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