5 of the most common car insurance fraud scams (and how to avoid them)

Timothy Alcock August 12, 2013 1
5 of the most common car insurance fraud scams (and how to avoid them)

We’ve all heard about the latest car insurance fraud tactic – the ‘Flash for Crash’ scam.

If you haven’t though, here’s a quick rundown of how it works:

  • You’re waiting to exit a petrol station forecourt, shopping car park, or side street.

  • A nice motorist stops and flashes their headlights to let you know you’re good to go.

  • You pull out, only for them to suddenly speed up.

  • You crash into the side of their car.

  • A ‘your word against theirs’ scenario is set up, and you end up having to pay out on your insurance.

This dirty new trick was discovered by the APU and it’s already said to have cost honest drivers up to £66m.

So, if you want to make sure you don’t get caught out by any nasty tactics like this, check out our list of the top five car insurance fraud scams to ensure you know what to look out for:

1) The Staged Rear End

Have you ever accidentally rear-ended someone, or even been rear-ended, in rush hour simply because someone slammed on the brakes? Well, this is what fraudsters are counting on.

They’ll either suddenly slow down when travelling in front of you, or cut into your lane. There’s absolutely nothing you can do – you’ll always end up crashing into them.

The best way to combat this is to consistently fight your corner concerning what actually happened.

2) The Phony Insurer

In this scenario, the accident has already happened, so there’s nothing you can do about the crash, unfortunately.

Following an accident, you may receive a phone call from an insurance company or mechanic. They’re likely to have been tipped off by a crooked tow truck driver or even the person who caused the accident, depending on how organised they are. The person calling you will try to get you to hand over your card details, all under the pretence of helping out in this difficult time.

The moral of this story is to never, ever hand out your information to unknown parties. If they don’t go through any security questions or if you’re at all unsure, hang up immediately.

3) The Fake Whiplash Claim

More than a few drivers have been hit with this scam before. You’re involved in a minor fender-bender, possibly just a slight bump, and suddenly the other driver is claiming whiplash or back pain and you’re left with the insurance payout.

To avoid this, always file a police report following an accident. This way, you can report the fact that the accident was only minor, proving that whiplash would be impossible.

4) The Invisible Victim

Should you be in an accident, you’re probably going to remember who was in the other car. Imagine, then, that you suddenly receive an insurance claim from someone that you know for a fact was nowhere near the scene of the crime – what do you do then?

This is quite a common scam. Usually, it happens because the person driving wasn’t actually insured to drive the car, so their partner, friend or relative offers to claim in their place. The easiest way to prevent this from going forwards is to always take down the details of everyone in the other car, not just the driver, so you can pass this information on to your insurance company.

5) The Open Parking Space

This one’s very similar to the Flash for Crash. In it, you and another driver have seen a parking space at the same time. You’re both waiting there, when the other driver’s kind enough to wave you on to let you know that you can go ahead and take it.

Before you know it, though, they’ve decided to go for it themselves and you both move at the same time. They’ll carefully orchestrate the crash to ensure you smash into them, making sure you end up looking like the guilty party.

How can you avoid this one then? Well, clearly, you should just move on and find another space!

As you can see, there are quite a few scams around at the moment, along with many others that we haven’t included in this post. Do you know of any, or have you ever been a victim of scams like these? Let us know!