Latest figures from the insurer Aviva show that the number of people who deliberately cause accidents when driving so they can make fake car insurance claims rose by 51% in the last year.
The growing fraudulent practice is part of what’s been dubbed ‘crash for cash’ car crime, and it now has an offshoot, ‘flash for cash’, which is an increasing problem for motorists and insurers alike.
Growing problem for motorists, and Car Insurers
Fake accidents often involve one car suddenly stopping so that any car behind smashes into it. For insurance purposes, the driver of the car behind is deemed to be at fault and a very large claim is then made to the innocent party’s insurance company.
‘Crash for cash’, as such incidents are known, typically end up with the ‘victims’ claiming for whiplash, or other personal injury claims.
Aviva estimates the cost to the insurance industry to be around 1.5billion, which adds between £50 and £100 to the insurance bills of all motorists who insure their cars.
However, there’s a new variation on the ‘crash for cash’ theme which is growing in popularity among criminal gangs. It’s known as ‘flash for cash’.
How ‘flash for cash’ works
If you’re pulling out into a busy road, whether at a junction or from a parking area, it’s common for fellow drivers to slow down and flash their car’s lights to indicate they’re willing to let you into the traffic flow.
However, with ‘flash for cash’ incidents, the car which flashes then deliberately slams in to the car pulling out.
The criminals involved then make fake insurance claims for anything from loss of earnings to fake vehicle recovery bills and replacement car hire.
What to watch out for and what to do
- The crash scammers tend to target the elderly, or women and men with young children in the car; essentially anyone who is less likely to get involved in confrontational scenes.
- Drivers with new-looking cars who are highly likely to have insurance (there are plenty of cars on British roads that don’t have any insurance at all, unfortunately) are also being targeted.
- If you can keep your head at the scene of the incident, try and get the names and contact details of those who witnessed the car flashing before crashing into you.
- Do this in addition to the usual procedures involving such as noting the number plate of the other car and taking photos and noting the details as soon as you can after the incident has occurred.
- Tell your insurer and the police if you’re at all suspicious; this will help your case if the other party then makes a hugely exaggerated claim for damages from your insurer and, hopefully, potentially help catch a criminal.
The customer service team at Policy Expert is always on hand to help – either online or over the phone. Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0330 0600 600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org