Even if you've never been involved in a car insurance scam, rest assured that you have felt their effects in the form of higher premiums. There is no national authority that keeps track of all types of auto insurance scams, but reports from various sources indicate the phenomena can cost insurance companies upwards of $6 billion per year and may account for up to 15 percent of all claims filed. Having to pay these claims results in higher premiums for policy holders, including you and me.
Car insurance companies like State Farm are always on the lookout for scams that are used in an attempt to file fraudulent insurance claims. Being mindful of how you may fall victim to an auto insurance scam can help you avoid it. If you are worried that you may fall victim to car insurance scams, be on the lookout for the following common types.
Staged Car Accidents
You're driving along minding your own business when suddenly another car cuts in front of you and slams on the brakes, forcing a rear-end collision. You've just fallen victim to a staged car accident, one of the most common forms of car insurance scams. In fact, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, reports of this type of scam have increased 102 percent since 2008. Needless to say, it's a growing problem.
To avoid being in a staged car accident, be mindful of your surroundings at all times. Try to predict the behavior of other motorists so that you can react quickly if another vehicle suddenly cuts in front of you. If you do feel that you've fallen victim to a scam, file a police report.
If you have been involved in an auto accident that resulted in your air bag deploying, your insurance company may pay to repair your vehicle and replace the air bag rather than declare the vehicle a total loss. Some auto shops install counterfeit air bags, which they can procure at a much lower rate than one provided by the manufacturer, to make a greater profit on this type of service. Such a practice is both incredibly dangerous and illegal.
Only work with trusted and reputable auto body and repair shops to help protect yourself from falling victim to this type of scam. Your insurance provider will recommend a service shop, which will likely be a business that it has worked with in the past.
Another common type of auto insurance scam is the fake injury. In such cases, the scammer usually exhibits no signs of injury while at the scene of the accident. Only after the fact will he or she claim to have been injured. This individual may be working with a fraudulent doctor or simply claim phantom pains in order to receive financial reimbursement from your insurance provider for medical expenses.
Regardless of how small and insignificant your accident may seem, it's always prudent to file a police report. If the police show up to the scene of the accident, they are required to file an official report on the circumstances of the accident, including the presence of injuries. If the police report makes it seem that injuries are unlikely to have occurred, the claim may be denied, saving you money.