What Consumers Need to Know about Auto Insurance Fraud and Staged Accidents

staged-accidentExperts warn drivers to look out for staged auto collisions while they are on the road. More than half of the fraud referrals in the insurance industry are for auto insurance fraud. These crashes are usually planned by organized crime groups. Perpetrators target vehicles with high values and also those owned by counties or cities. The reason they target such vehicles is because they know these types almost always have insurance coverage. Experts say they have been successful in lowering the fraud rates and have been bringing more perpetrators to justice. This helps prevent millions of dollars from being wasted on auto fraud claims. When drivers are forced into crashing by perpetrators, they may only see minor dents or other damages. However, the crooks will always appear to be injured and make immediate complaints of pain. There are several popular methods they use.

Swoop And Squat
With this method, a perpetrator swoops in front of the victim’s car, slams on the brakes and causes a rear-end crash. In most cases, the perpetrator has other passengers in his or her vehicle, and they will all fake immediate injuries. After this, the perpetrator and the passengers will make inflated claims against the victim’s insurance policy.

Sideswipe
People who are driving on the inner side of a a dual left-turn lane when approaching a busy intersection should be extra careful. If a person drifts into the outer lane while making a turn, a crook may purposely hit that individual’s vehicle.

Drive Down
This method is used when a person is trying to merge into traffic. A crook will slow down and wave at the person trying to merge. When the trusting driver attempts to merge, the crook will hit that person’s vehicle. At the time a police report is filed, the driver will deny waving the victim over into traffic. This same tactic may be used in parking spaces as well as on the road.

Shady Helpers
Following a crash, a stranger may approach a victim or phone that person. This individual will try to tell the victim to seek treatment at a specific medical facility or take the damaged vehicle to a certain shop for repairs. He or she may also insist on the services of a certain lawyer. In many cases, these may be attempts to set a person up for fraudulent medical treatment, repairs or legal help. It is best to discuss any concerns with an agent and ask for reliable referrals.

When these scams happen, the victim’s record can be blemished and life is disrupted for a while. Victims also face costly claims against their insurance policies, which means their premiums will subsequently rise. In some cases, this could be hundreds of dollars every year. In other cases, a person’s policy may not even be renewable. Some victims have been killed or terrorized by perpetrators during or after these incidents. When cars are hit too hard, the passengers may sustain permanent disabilities or die. Dealing with endless car repairs, police reports, claim settlements, lawsuits and other problems can be a nightmare and cause a great deal of stress.

It is important to fight back and prevent these incidents. There are several things a person can do while on the road, which include the following:

– Always follow at a safe distance behind a vehicle.
– Look past the car in front while driving to watch for brake lights.
– If a collision happens, count the passengers in the other vehicle or vehicles involved.
– Take photos or videos of the damaged vehicles and injured passengers.
– Call the police immediately after an accident occurs.
– Take note of how the passengers behave after a collision.
– Witnesses should always get involved and watch for signs of scams.
– After an accident, contact an agent if fraud is suspected.
– Visit lawyers, doctors and repair shops that are trustworthy.
– Keep detailed records of medical treatments, repairs and legal info.
– Verify credentials of lawyers and doctors.

About Brian Hendricks

Brian Hendricks is the President of Fidelity Insurance Group. Brian started Fidelity in 2003 with 0 clients. Today Fidelity Insurance Group is a Premier Independent Insurance Agency in Florida with over 3,000 families and businesses insured. Brian currently serves on advisory boards for 2 of the largest property insurance companies in Florida. Knowlege, Integrity, and Committment are his and his agency's guiding principles.
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