Car insurance scams cost insurance companies billions of dollars each year. But in the end, everyone has to pay. As a result of scams and staged accidents, auto insurance premiums increase for us all, and innocent people are sometimes tragically injured.
There are well-known tactics that criminals use in their attempts to defraud auto insurance companies. Being aware of these criminal schemes may allow you to protect yourself and your family, and can also help keep car insurance premiums down.
·Swoop & Squat
In this particular scam, the perpetrator’s car (i.e. the criminal) will suddenly swoop in next to the victim’s car, forcing the victim to change lanes. Unbeknownst to the victim, the car that he/she now follows is also involved in the scam. This second criminal car will abruptly slam on the brakes, forcing the victim to plow into the car’s rear end. This “squat” car will often be packed with passengers, who will all file fraudulent medical claims. The medical injuries that are supposed to have been suffered are hard to detect, like neck injuries and soft tissue damage. Also, the doctor who evaluates these fake victims may be included in the scam as well.
On a congested street, the criminal car will “wave” the victim car in, effectively giving them the right-of-way. But when the victim tries to merge into the lane or make a turn, the scammy car will speed up, initiating a collision. When the police arrive, the criminal driver will deny any knowledge of the wave and declare the victim to be at-fault.
This normally takes place on a desolate street. The criminal car will wait an intersection for a potential victim to drive up. Once the criminal sees a car, they speed up and collide into the victim’s car as it passes through the intersection. Bogus witnesses are on the scene so that when the police arrive, they claim that the victim ran a red light or a stop sign.
Criminals, along with shady participants in an auto body shop, will submit a fake claim for a phantom accident. They will keep the claim under a $1000, since car insurance companies will rarely investigate claim for that amount.
In a double turn lane, a criminal car will wait until the victim’s car drifts into the far lane. At the moment they will hit the gas, and side swipe the victim’s car.
This is the name given to scammers who show up at the accident scene with all sorts of helpful information. They appear like angels ready to offer assistance during the victim’s time of need, complete with numbers and contact info for auto repair shops. However, this is the kind of help that you most definitely do not want. These “runners” or “cappers” (as they are sometimes referred to) will be working with body shops that inflate prices in order to rip-off insurance companies.
·How To Avoid These Scams
Now that you know what to look out for, here are some tactics of your own that you can employ to protect yourself and save money on your car insurance:
·Leave plenty of distance between your car and the car in front of you. This is a defensive driving technique that gives you space to stop in case they suddenly slam on the brakes, and can save you if a scammer is trying to force you into an accident.
·Never blindly follow a “wave” when merging, changing lanes or making a turn.
·Take pictures at the scene of an accident (keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment). It is much harder for a criminal to commit fraud when there is visual evidence present.
·Only use auto body shops and doctors that you trust. If contemplating using a new shop or doctor for the first time, seek out recommendations and reviews.
·If you suspect you are the victim of a scam, get in touch with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). They can be reached at 1-800-835-6422 or at their website: www.nicb.org
While it’s easy to think of compelling reasons to get an online auto insurance quote, it is quite difficult to think of a reason not to. Unless, of course, you like to squander money by overpaying for car insurance. But we are willing to bet that this isn’t the case for the vast majority of people out there. You can save hundreds of dollars a year, it’s easy to do, and it’s free – so don’t waste anymore time paying more than is necessary for car insurance. Get an online auto insurance quote Cheap Quotes Car Insurance Today!