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‘Crash for cash’ scams soar by 51pc, Aviva claims

12:17 20 June 2014

Aviva logo. Norwich Union. Marble Hall. Surrey House, Surrey Street, Norwich.; PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY; COPY:; FOR:EDP BUSINESS; © ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010 (01603 772434)

Aviva logo. Norwich Union. Marble Hall. Surrey House, Surrey Street, Norwich.; PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY; COPY:; FOR:EDP BUSINESS; © ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010 (01603 772434)

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010

The number of "crash for cash" car insurance scams uncovered by a major insurer surged by 51pc annually last year.

It is pressing for tougher penalties and said that often, rather than being locked up, fraudsters end up being sentenced to community orders, which “do little” to deter them from re-offending.

The EDP Top100 firm, which insures around one in 10 cars in the UK, said that organised gangs are behind half of all the fake motor injury claims it uncovers.

It suggested that growing industry-wide efforts to weed out bogus whiplash claims which drive up the cost of insurance could be prompting criminals who may have previously completely fabricated a “ghost” accident which never actually happened at all to instead stage a crash for cash induced accident, in a bid to produce more “evidence” to back up a claim.

Often, innocent motorists get caught up in crash for cash incidents. Usually, in road traffic accidents where one vehicle is hit from behind by another, it is the driver of the car behind who is deemed to be at fault. So, in a crash for cash incident, a car may brake suddenly in front of the innocent victim, leaving them with little chance but to run into the back of them.

There have also been reports of fraudsters disconnecting their brake lights so that the car behind has even less chance of stopping.

Gangs tend to target innocent drivers who appear the most likely to be insured and the least likely to kick up a fuss, such as those with well-maintained cars, older drivers and families with young children.

As well as the risk of physical injury to innocent victims, crash for cash cases also pump up the costs for all drivers through higher premiums. According to industry estimates, frauds of all types add around £50 to the cost of a typical insurance premium.

Tom Gardiner, head of claims fraud at Aviva, said: “The fast growth of induced accidents on our roads is cause for serious concern.

“Fraudsters are prepared to put the safety of innocent motorists and their families and passengers at risk for their own personal gain.”

He continued: “We believe that convictions for motor injury fraud resulting from induced accidents should result in more custodial sentences that recognise the unique physical harm that this form of insurance fraud poses to motorists, as well as the wider social costs.”

Aviva said that as well as maintaining a safe distance behind the driver in front, motorists should be particularly cautious if they notice that the brake lights on the car in front are not working.

If the driver in front appears to be focusing on the back of their vehicle, this could be a sign they are looking for an opportunity to induce an accident.

If someone suspects they have been the victim of a crash for cash scam, they should call the police while they are still at the scene and ask them to attend, the insurer said.

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2 comments

  • No they don't want to know, unless you are doing 25 MPH in a 20 zone then god forbid.

    Report this comment

    Vic Sponge

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Don't bother with the police unless anyone is hurt! That is what I was told when I was hit side on late one March evening by an idiot driving with no lights. Despite the fact he had had 2 accidents in 4 months and was driving uninsured. They were not interested.. Yep I done all the leg work but it still went down as my fault. As I was crossing the road. As for my insurance company at the time. they were not at all interested either, infact Trinity Lane seemed more on the side of the idiot with no lights. Until I sent the EDP report he had been nicked for riding a moped on the local cricket pitch with no insurance. Good isnt it. Can drive at 60MPH on the road uninsured and the police did not want to know but go on the cricket pitch and they nick him!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    countrybumpkin

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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