Crash for cash cases soar
Insurance companies are urging authorities to get tough on fraudsters as cases of “crash for cash” soared by 51 per cent in 2013. Insurance giant Aviva claim that half of the false motor vehicle injury claims that it has uncovered were arranged by organised criminal gangs. Aviva feels that the growing numbers of crash for cash instances may be due to the industry crack down on false whiplash claims where criminals invent accidents and injuries, even though no accident has actually taken place, a crash for cash incident allows the insurance fraudster to show physical evidence that a crash has occurred. Aviva uncovered around 820 staged accidents during 2013, resulting in around 2,200 personal injury claims made by fraudsters.
Unfortunately, as we have reported previously, it is the innocent motorist who suffers in crash for cash incidents, usually the kind of motorist who takes care to use the roads legally with full insurance cover. Crash for cash is nasty enough but even more sinister is the fact that the criminals who perpetuate this kind fraud often target those drivers who are less likely to kick up a fuss or make a scene, they won’t bother the young bloke who is built like a rugby player and looks like he can take care of himself, they will seek out the mother with her children on board or the frail looking, white haired senior couple. They will drive in front of these innocent victims and then slam on their brakes, leaving little to no time for the driver behind to stop. They often also tamper with the brake lights on their own car so the potential victim is given even less chance to stop before a collision.
The Aviva Head of Claims Fraud, Tom Gardiner said ”The fast growth of induced accidents on our roads is cause for serious concern.” He added ”Fraudsters are prepared to put the safety of innocent motorists and their families and passengers at risk for their own personal gain.” Calling for tougher penalties for this kind of insurance fraud Mr Gardiner said ”We believe that convictions for motor injury fraud resulting from induced accidents should result in more custodial sentences that recognise the unique physical harm that this form of insurance fraud poses to motorists, as well as the wider social costs.”
The insurance industry estimates that insurance fraud adds approximately £50 to the cost of our premiums, but of course the worst part of the crash for cash fraud is the risk of injury or death to any potential victim. To limit the risk of becoming an innocent victim of a crash for cash fraudster it is recommended that you maintain a good safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you, if you notice the driver in front is checking the rear view mirror more than is usual you should be extremely cautious as they may be preparing to slam on their brakes. If you see that the brake lights on the car in front are not working you should take particular care and even consider pulling over for a while until there are other cars between you and that car.
If you have been involved in an accident and suspect that you may be a crash for cash victim it is recommended that you call the police and request they attend before the suspected fraudster leaves the scene.
Special Thanks Josh Semans for providing the image.