It’s an auto insurance scam that costs car insurance companies millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. A cost that’s handed down to drivers in the form of higher insurance rates. Insurance fraud through a fake car accident claim is on the rise across Canada and no driver should feel immune from becoming a victim.
How Fake Car Accidents Happen
Sometimes called staged accidents, they can happen in many different ways. The following are among the most common set-ups that scammers use to make claims for staged collisions.
- Another vehicle intentionally drives into your vehicle
- Real accidents with injury claims for victims who were not involved in the accident, or for fake injuries.
- Accident reports for auto accidents that did not happen
In addition to paying for the overall cost of fake insurance claims through higher average insurance rates, innocent drivers may also face increased rates for their own car insurance if they are found “at fault” in a staged accident.
6 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Fake Car Accidents Claims
If you are in a car accident, take the following steps to reduce your chance of becoming the victim of a car insurance scam.
- Get full names and contact information (mailing address, telephone number, email address) for the other driver(s) and the other occupant(s) of the vehicle(s).
- Write or record your observations about the physical condition of the other driver(s) and occupant(s). Are they injured? What’s been injured? Or are they walking around without any apparent injury?
- Use a camera or your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. Take images of the overall scene from different angles. Take images of each car involved in the accident. Get images of the license plates of each car involved, and pictures of the damage to each car.
- When police arrive, ask for a copy of their accident report. If police don’t attend, write down everything you can remember about the circumstances that lead up to the accident and call the police as soon as you can to file a report about the accident.
- Look for witnesses and ask for their contact information
- If anyone else recommends that you use a particular tow truck company or auto repair shop, don’t take their advice. Research and retain your own tow truck and body shop.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about what to do if you get caught in a speed trap.