Motorists may not have used their cars much during lockdown, but as restrictions ease, it’s important to be aware of ‘crash for cash’ fraudsters who continue to target unwitting victims.
What is crash for cash?
Crash for cash scams involve a person or people staging a motor accident, sometimes with innocent road users, to profit from fraudulent insurance claims.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), a not-for-profit organisation funded by the insurance industry, estimates 10% of personal injury claims are linked to suspected crash for cash cases, costing insurers £340 million a year*. This is ultimately passed onto honest motorists, who bear some of the brunt through increases to their premiums.
What can you do?
Reduce your risk of being a victim of crash for cash claims by following these simple steps:
- Look beyond the car in front and anticipate any potential hazards
- Allow plenty of space between the car in front at all times, but particularly at junctions and pedestrian crossings
- Consider fitting forward-facing video cameras
- The introduction of telematics technology combined with forward-facing cameras are being used to analyse an accident situation, help prove liability and avoid the escalation of a false claim. Telematics data will record driver behaviour and vehicle location to help build a reliable picture of the accident.
If you suspect that you have been involved in a ‘crash for cash’ situation:
- Don’t admit liability for anything at the scene
- If the driver does not stop, try to get the registration and a brief description of the vehicle (it is best not to challenge the other driver directly with your suspicions)
- Take written notes - what happened, descriptions of the other driver and any passengers, what is said etc.
- Take as many photographs as possible and try to get the following, if you can:
- the general scene
- the damage to both vehicle
- the inside of the other vehicle showing the number of occupants - a picture proving there weren't lots of people in the car reduces the potential for fraudulent injury claims
- Insist on calling the police and discreetly inform the responding officers of your suspicions
- Check, and get the details of, any independent witnesses
- Look for nearby CCTV cameras as your insurers may be able to retrieve footage
- Call an ambulance if there is the slightest indication of injury
- Report the incident to your insurer as soon as possible and tell them about your suspicions
Aston Lark is also here to help. If you have any questions on how crash for cash scams affect your motor insurance premiums, please call 0208 712 8046 or email [email protected].