Car insurance scams are on the rise and you can avoid being a victim by recognizing if you‘re involved in one. Truth is, one of the fastest-growing types of fraud involving the car insurance industry takes in an estimated $30 billion dollars annually. That’s the amount industry insiders believe they lose each year to staged accidents. What are staged accidents? You may have been a victim of one and weren’t even aware of it, because there are a number of organized schemes that cost you, as well as the rest of us, a good deal of money in the form of higher insurance premiums.
Staged accidents are completely avoidable car crashes plotted and performed by teams of professional criminals with only one goal in mind…to scam your insurance company out of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, the accident is designed to point the finger at you as being completely at fault, making you the unwitting culprit and the only one whose insurance rates are going up. Oh, and don’t forget that little black mark on your DMV record that‘ll stick with you for a while. It’s a lose-lose proposition for you any way you look at it.
Research indicates that there are a variety of insurance scams out there that have become quite common. Knowing what to look for will aid you in quickly identifying a possible scam situation before you become a victim. The following are some of the most popular among the schemers:
Fake rear-ender – This one is a frequent choice among scammers. The set up: a car cuts in front of you, then suddenly and intentionally slams on their brakes so you hit them from behind. Regardless of the damage, you can expect the driver of the other car to complain of a serious injury. It’s normally fake…but, you don’t know that.
More damage than expected – Here the scammers will inflate the actual amount of the original damage you may have caused in the accident and add substantially to it in their final claim. Use your cell phone and get plenty of good pictures so you can prove otherwise.
Fake witness – If driving alone, this one can definitely hurt you. The “fake” usually waits at a particular spot near the predetermined accident zone. He’ll back up the scammer’s version of what happened and unless someone else saw the accident and can vouch for your side of the story…it’s two against one. You lose.
The wave – With this one a person waves you into busy traffic, and then deliberately crashes into you. Again, if you’re riding alone and they have a fake witness standing nearby, they will validate the other driver’s account of the events, not yours. They just won’t mention the part about anyone ever waving you into traffic when they file their fraudulent claim.
The sideswipe – The sideswipe is usually run at an intersection where cars are making left turns against traffic. The scammer generally waits until a car is in the process of turning left in front of him, at which time he quickly speeds to get in the way of the left turn. This results in the vehicle that’s turning left sideswiping the scammer’s vehicle. Once again, it’ll look like you did the hitting to your insurance company…and, the repairs are on you.
As a final note, if you suspect that you’ve just become the victim of car insurance fraud by being involved in one of these familiar scams, call the police immediately from the scene of the accident. Write down the description of the car, year, make, and model. They might switch cars on you when they go for the estimate. Get all of the other driver‘s information, including name, address, phone number…as well as their driver‘s license, insurance information, and plate number. Furthermore, take lots of pictures of the damage to their car and yours. If they’re pulling a scam, they may get nervous and not be willing to exchange all you ask for…especially with the police on the way to complicate things.
By protecting yourself with as much information and photos as possible, you are less likely to be taken for a financial ride by these car insurance schemers. Although you can’t be completely sure you won’t fall prey to a scammer, you can be sure you’re getting the best rate on your car insurance. Why not get a free car insurance quote today.
Have you ever been a victim of a car insurance scammer? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.