Vehicle insurance fraud costs every motorist £50 a year on their premiums. According to a recent survey, about 70% of people believe crash for cash scams are a big problem in the UK, and about the same number are worried about being injured in a deliberate accident. This is a big problem for anyone who drives.
Crash for cash is fraud. The most common form is someone braking sharply and deliberately right in front of you, causing you to rear-end them. They then make huge insurance claims that cover repairs, storage, and of course personal injury. Some deliberately have no brake lights so you get no warning.
In 2015 it is estimated that over 55,000 personal injury claims were linked to crash for cash scams. Overall, the whole scam costs the UK about £336m a year.
In December 2015 the Police bust one crash for cash gang, which had cost the insurance industry over £750,000. More than 80 people were convicted. But that is just the tip of an iceberg.
What you can do
- Take notes and pictures.
- Call the Police and alert them to your suspicions.
- Try to get witnesses straight away.
- Don’t admit liability then and there.
- Don’t let the other driver know you are suspicious.
- Make sure you inform your insurer as soon as possible.
- Call the Insurance Fraud Bureau Cheatline on 0800 422 0421.
- Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
So what can you do to help avoid becoming one of their victims? Well, you could keep away from Bradford, Birmingham and Bolton for starters, since they head up the areas where these crimes occur. London isn’t so much a problem, possibly due to the huge number of witnesses to any event and the proliferation of CCTV.
Generally of course be aware what other road users are up to and simply keep your distance from the car in front particularly if it’s acting oddly. The AA has some other specific advice if you’ve been in an accident and are suspicious.