Insurance fraud is becoming increasingly complex. Induced motor accidents are an example of organised fraud, which is where an innocent motorist is forced to crash into the back of the fraudster’s vehicle (Source: ABI Nov 2011)
Picture the scene: you’re approaching traffic lights or are on a roundabout when the car in front of you slams on its brakes – sharply and without warning. The car in front has no brake lights so you’re not prepared and consequently slam into the back of them. It’s unavoidable. But is it really your fault? For victims of car crash scams, all is not as it seems.
The perpetrators of these scams often work in teams with passengers who corroborate their side of the story and conveniently placed ‘witnesses’. They then claim insurance from their victims both for damage to their vehicle and personal injury, such as whiplash, whether real or not.
What to do if you’re suspicious about an accident or have been a victim of car insurance fraud:
While it is practically impossible to avoid such situations other than to practice standard road safety, such as ensuring you maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, there are recommended procedures to follow if you think you’ve been a victim.
As you normally would in the event of an accident, calmly exchange details with the other driver and call the police and emergency services immediately if anyone has been injured.
Try to retrace the event – were any of the passengers in the car in front turning round to look at you before the car braked?
Write down all the details, including descriptions of the driver and any other passengers in the other vehicle - their age, gender, clothing and any other detail that stands out.
Ask the driver of the car you’ve crashed into to write down their log of events.
Contact your insurance company and inform them it might be a fraudulent claim if you’re in serious doubt about the true cause of the accident.
Never take independent action: notify your insurance company, and they will investigate and liaise with the police, if necessary.
At Zurich, we take these matters very seriously and will make investigations on your behalf.