Beware of some common car insurance rip-offs

Insurance fraud began when insurance first began. Incidents have been recorded as far back as ancient Greece. Ship scuttling was an insurance scam in ancient Greece where ships were purposely sunk. Later insurance fraud travelled to England and then to America. When cars were introduced it opened a whole new arena for fraudulent insurance claims.

Today, with modern technology, many fraudulent car accident claims do arise from sophisticated organised crime rings that can be hard to detect. Don't let this make you a victim of an insurance scam. Whether the insurance scam is from an organised crime ring or an individual, there are fraud protection steps you can take to help you be more aware and avoid being a scammer’s next victim.

First, it is important to know what types of insurance scams are used. There are many types of car insurance scams. Set-up car accidents can range from vehicles deliberately stopping in front of a driver to cause a rear-end car accident to drivers who pretend they are being helpful but intend to cause a car accident that will look like the innocent driver’s fault. Scams can also involve people one would generally trust, such as professional businessmen (doctors etc ).

Educating yourself about fraud protection against car insurance accident scams is the best way to avoid being someone's next victim. Here is a list of common scams to be aware of:

•Staged rear-end car cccidents

A senior traffic police officer in London recently raised the nasty practice of deliberately causing a car crash. These ‘staged accidents’ involve a driver deliberately engineering a situation in which you crash into his car.

This is obviously an insurance scam – in fact a whole series of criminal acts in which you as a driver are made a victim of someone else’s desire to make money from your insurance company.

Drivers need to ask themselves the question “How do I spot when this is developing around me?’ Speaking from experience, I developed this awareness when preparing for my Advanced Driving Test. Indeed any occupational driver training course should be a huge help in this regard. Drivers following you too closely, or perhaps two other vehicles apparently driving together behind and in front of you, are worthy of attention.

The easiest situation to create is one where the dishonest party brakes very sharply in front of you, leading you to rear-end their vehicle. So you need to be aware of the actions of others and allow for the risk of unconventional manoeuvres.

•Adding damage

After an accident, either staged or not, the scam driver will go to another location and cause extensive damage to his/her vehicle and claim that the damage happened during the original accident.

If you are caught by the practice, photos of the damage to the other vehicle (as well as your own ) and of the driver, and of how many people were in the car are really helpful in establishing facts.

A single-occupant vehicle which is subsequently the origin of a claim for four sets of whiplash is the kind of issue that faces insurers at a later date. It’s a nasty business, and one I am sure you would all want to help stamp out.

•Fake helpers

Scam helpers will wave an innocent driver into traffic, but then crash into the innocent driver. When it comes time to file the claim, the scam driver will deny waving anyone in. Other ways fake helpers try to scam people is by offering to help an innocent driver find a auto repair shop, doctor, or lawyer. In this case, everyone is in on the scam. The body shop charges you enormous rates, the professional businessmen also lie to collect more from your insurance.

Since these scams can happen at any time and place, it is important to be prepared. Awareness is the most important. Watch for drivers who may be following you or examining your driving habits. Also, make sure you leave plenty of room in front of you in order to stop. If an accident does happen, take notes on everything about the other car, the accident, and everybody that was in the other car. Keep a disposable camera in your car to record damage to both vehicles.

Furthermore, use your judgment in driving, not others. Make sure you have enough room to get out and just let other cars pass instead of letting others "wave you in”. And, when you talk to your insurance company, let them know if you felt something was suspicious.


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