This article aims to inform consumers about the incidence of auto insurance fraud, help them to recognize if they are potential targets of it, how to protect themselves, and what they should do if they suspect that they are victims of insurance fraud. We’ve all heard stories about people who commit insurance fraud and get caught—thanks to whom our collective insurance rates have raised over the years. But less publicized and equally real are all the cases of innocent, oblivious consumers who get roped into insurance fraud as well. People will go to terrible lengths to make some quick money, and this is how elaborate schemes that include doctors, fake insurance agencies, body shops and seemingly well-meaning passers- by are born. Today, we’re here to alert you to this growing phenomenon that is a cause for grave concern so that you can recognize this kind of fraud and protect yourself from it.
– Unsolicited offers
Firstly, please be wary of door to door car insurance salesmen or any other unsolicited offers for auto insurance. Any auto insurance company worth its salt would not have to resort to such desperate measures. Most likely, these are scam artists who will take your monthly premiums, bleed you dry and then disappear off the face of the earth for all practical purposes.
– Dirt cheap premiums Usually when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. So if you are offered a ridiculously low quote by one of the aforementioned unsolicited insurance salesmen or even on the Internet, please refrain from jumping with joy and signing on the dotted line. Even if they aren’t scam artists, remember that an obscure provider is unlikely to have the means or inclination to provide you the service you need. When choosing an insurance provider, look for an affordable auto insurance quote offered by a reputable reliable company.
– Check on the provider
If you have any doubts whatsoever about the legitimacy of an insurance provider, you can contact your State Insurance Department and check if they are listed and licensed. You can also check an insurance company’s ratings at the Better Business Bureau, and report a less than satisfactory provider on the same website.
– Staged incidents
If a car stalls, draws dangerously close, or stops abruptly in front of you, be aware that there’s a good chance you’re being roped into an insurance scam. Pull over the first chance you get, wait for it to drive past you and call the police to report suspicious behavior. Remember, that if a staged accident is successful and you are found at fault, you will be required to pay for the other party’s damages. Even if you have insurance, you’ll have to pay the deductible and there’s a chance of your auto insurance rates rising. In case you crash into a car before you have the chance to do so, call the police immediately, report exactly what they did, take down their insurance information and convey your suspicions to both your and the other party’s provider.
– People who try and steer you to specific doctors, body shops, or lawyers at the accident site
Accidents frequently lead to injuries, property damage and law-suits. However, don’t panic in the moments after. Just call 911, take photographs of the accident site and both cars, call your insurance company and don’t get carried away by overly specific suggestions and overly-helpful witnesses, especially if they try and push you in the direction of a specific doctor, lawyer or body shop. This is a clear indication of some sort of fraud. The paramedics and ambulance will take care of your medical needs, the police will file the reports and lawyers and body shops can be contacted later. Reject any offers made to fix your car for a few quick bucks and be careful about individuals who suddenly show up at the scene of the accident and steer you towards any sort of business enterprise.
– Doctors who insist upon you filing Personal Injury claims,
If your doctor is insistent upon you filing a Personal Injury Claim, especially if you are unhurt, question his motives. His preoccupation should be with your health and well-being not with details such as this one. If he volunteers this information and is pushy about it, something is definitely amiss.
– Don’t lose your insurance identification code
Protect your insurance identification code as closely as you would your passport or social security number as it can be misused in a number of ways for insurance fraud.
In case you suspect any form of auto insurance fraud, potential or otherwise, immediately report it to the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800) TEL-NICB (835-6422) and/or inform your State Fraud Bureau.
About the Author: Harris lives with his wife and two kids and does photography for a living. He loves to read and surf the internet looking for new money saving tips, recipes, etc. In his spare time he writes on personal finance home, life and car insurance companies, budgeting, and other investment options] and grows organic vegetables in his small vegetable garden.
Like to Add a Guest Post?
This post was written by a guest writer mentioned above. If you’d like to add a guest post in Money Hacker, please check out Welcome all Guest Writers page for details about how YOU can share your knowledge with our community.