Avoid Being the Victim of Insurance Fraud

by Marion

Many people used to feel that insurance fraud was a "victimless crime", but nowadays almost everyone understands how such fraud affects the cost of insurance premiums not only for the individual who are victimized in specific incidents, but also for the rest of us. Here are a few common factors seen in cases that involve insurance fraud.

Driving while distracted: if you are clearly not paying full attention to your driving, you may be the perfect target. If you are talking or texting on your cell phone, trying to pass things back to rear-seat passengers, or checking on your directions, your awareness and reaction times will be diminished. If another driver were to swerve in front of you and stop suddenly, you may not stop in time to avoid a collision.

Tailgating and other unsafe driving: such behavior makes other drivers around you upset and aggressive driving just multiplies itself. If you were to upset the wrong person on the roadway, they may set you up for an accident. Many people who perpetrate insurance fraud are professionals, but some are just ordinary people who will seize an opportunity when it is presented to them. Don't be that opportunity.

Driving an expensive or newer vehicle: criminals who stage accidents obviously want to maximize the potential payment they could receive for both damage and personal injury claims. If you drive an expensive vehicle, you appear more likely to have a good insurance policy with high liability limits because you can afford it. If your vehicle is new, whether expensive or not, you are more likely to have insurance even in states where insurance is not required because your lien holder will require that the vehicle be insured. This doesn't mean that you can't enjoy your nice car, but just be aware.

Driving alone: obviously this really can’t be avoided, but just try to be even more aware of your surroundings when you are driving by yourself. If you were to have a collision and then a few more people subsequently climb into the other car so that they can claim personal injury when the police arrive at the scene, who do you think the officer is going to believe: you saying that there was only one person in the other car when you hit it, or the other bunch of people? Keeping a camera or cell phone with photo capability in your car will help defend you against this.

Pre-existing damage: as crazy as it may sound, there are cons that actually search for vehicles that already have damage. They find one and write down the license plate number. With that license plate number, they can then pull up your information, which usually includes the name of your insurance company name as well as your policy number. When they notify your insurance company that you struck their vehicle, the damage to your vehicle could suggest that their claim is valid.

Insurance fraud really is a crime. The criminals who perpetuate it use many methods. Those who treat it as a business or primary source of income have tried-and-true processes that they follow, including these and many others. Being an aware, defensive driver goes a long way towards decreasing your chance of falling victim to insurance fraud. Be safe.

This article is written for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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