Car insurance fraud is a serious problem. If you find yourself a victim, you will end up paying higher premiums and could end up with a costly claim. Even worse, since scammers stage car accidents, you and your loved ones could end up paying with your lives. It is important to learn how to protect yourself from those who want to commit fraud.
Insurance fraud started when insurance was invented. There are even recorded incidents of fraud dating back to ancient Greece, where ship scuttling was a popular insurance scam. Insurance fraud traveled to England and then to America. With the introduction of cars, a whole new field for fraudulent claims was invented. Thanks to modern technology, many of the car accident claims that are made come from sophisticated organized crime rings, making them very difficult to detect. Don't think that this means you can't protect yourself. Whether the scam is coming from a crime ring or from an individual, there are steps you can take that will help you avoid becoming a scammer's victim.
To learn to protect yourself, you need to understand the kinds of insurance scams that are used. Set-up car accidents range from cars that stop on purpose in front of a driver in order to cause a rear-end accident to drivers who pretend that they are being helpful but are planning on causing an accident that will make the innocent party look guilty. Doctors and lawyers are sometimes involved in the scams.
Three of the most common scams are the fake helpers, staged rear-end car accidents, and adding damage. Let's look at these so that you will be aware of them.
These are drivers who pretend to be helpful but then cause an accident. They do such things as wave a driver into traffic, pretending to do something such as allowing them to turn or pass, but then they crash into the driver. When the time comes to file the claim, the scammer denies having waved the driver on. Sometimes fake helpers offer to help a driver find a lawyer, doctor, or auto repair shop. If this is the case, everyone is involved in the scam. You'll be charged outrageous rates at the body shop while the lawyer and doctor will lie to be able to collect more from your insurance company.
Staged Rear-End Car Accidents
This is where a scam driver gets in from of an innocent car and slams the brakes. This will cause the innocent driver to rear-end the scammer. While the scammer collects money for damages to their vehicle, they often also fake injuries so that they can collect even more money.
In this kind of scam, the scam driver will add damages to their car. After an accident – and it doesn't matter whether the accident was staged or not – the scammer then goes to a different location where they add damage to their vehicle. They claim that it was done in the original accident and get a larger payout.
You need to be prepared because these scams can happen anywhere at any time. It is very important to be aware. Look out for drivers who seem to be following you or trying to examine your driving habits. Keep plenty of room in front of you so that you will be able to stop. If an accident occurs, take notes. Have notes about everything about the other car, the accident, and everyone that was in the cars. Have a disposable camera in your car – the glovebox is good spot – so that you can take photos of the damage that was done to both cars. This will help back up your claims if a scammer tries to take advantage of you. Trust your own judgment when you drive, not that of others. In other words, when someone waves you in, make your own judgments as to whether it really is safe to do so. You should also make sure that you tell your insurance company if you had any reason to think something was suspicious.