Monday, 21 July 2008

The car accident scam

A new insurance crime wave is sweeping Britain and is costing innocent motorists thousands. The scam which has been used in the states for a number of years varies in its level of sophistication but usually takes the following form fraudsters will fill a car with as many passengers as possible they then drive in front of an innocent motorist wait for them to be distracted by something like adjusting the radio and brake suddenly causing the innocent motorist to hit the rear of the fraudsters car.

In the eyes of the insurers the innocent victim will be at fault and the fraudsters will often use bogus witnesses who where not even at the scene of the accident and fictitious passengers. Then follows bogus injury claims for all the passengers in the car along with bogus claims for car hire and hugely exaggerated repair bills. In some cases a simple accident can cost an insurer £30,000.

The fraudsters use old cars and tend to target cars that are a few years old with lone drivers. They will often use a round about as the scene of the accident. If you are caught in this situation beware of any witnesses who appear from nowhere blaming you and passengers claiming whip lash after minor accidents.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Fraudsters beware

The insurance industry had a stark warning for anyone tempted to make a false insurance claim. Recently released figures from the ABI (Association of British Insurers) show that last year insurers uncovered 24,000 fraudulent motor insurance claims up 70% over the past three years. In total £260 million, or £5 million every week of false claims where detected.

Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said:

“Insurance fraud is no victimless crime. Honest motorists pay through higher insurance premiums – an extra £40 a year on average. This is why insurers are ramping up their crackdown to weed out the cheats. Anyone committing insurance fraud is more likely to get caught, risks a criminal record, and will find future insurance and credit harder to obtain and more expensive.”

The number of fraudulet claims is expected to rise sharpely as consumers start to feel the pinch of the credit crunch and strugle to meet hire purchase and loan repayments.

Cheats who have been caught out include:

• A policyholder, claiming for damage to her Land Rover when it hit the front of her house, said it was caused when her foot slipped off the brake. However, the damage was caused deliberately, following an argument with her partner.
• A car owner claimed his car had been stolen. It was proved that he had pushed it over a cliff, and planned to use the insurance payout to meet his Hire Purchase payments.
• The owner of a Rolls Royce claimed £10,000 for the alleged theft of the front grill, hubcaps, steering wheel, seats and bonnet mascot. However, he had removed the items himself; they were later found in his home by the police. He received a criminal conviction.