Crash for cash protection

Crash for Cash Prevention

A recent report by the Insurance Fraud Bureau states that organised 'Crash for Cash' scams are on the increase and cost the UK insurance industry £392 million a year, with 1-in-7 personal injury claims likely to be linked to one. As these incidents appear to be getting more and more common and are reported in the media with increasing regularity, we take a closer look at what these scams are and how we can protect ourselves against them.

There are three kinds of scam; the staged accident, where two vehicles are crashed or damaged and fraudulent claims made; the ghost accident, where fabricated claims are made for accidents that never took place; and induced accidents, where innocent drivers are involved to become the 'at fault' driver.

A new twist on this scam is the 'flash for cash' technique where a scammer will flash their headlights to signal you can go, but instead drives into you on purpose. It's then your say against theirs which normally results in a fraudulent claim against you. Read more on the 'flash for cash' scam on our blog.

Induced accidents are usually executed by highly-organised gangs who orchestrate a situation where an unwitting and innocent third-party rear-ends a gang member leading to a costly insurance claim. With multiple techniques at their disposal these scams are almost impossible to detect before it's too late.

'Crash for Cash' scams are on the
increase and cost the UK insurance
industry £392 million a year.
In some cases, scammers may disconnect their vehicles brake lights meaning following drivers have no clear indication of their actions as they then brake suddenly, possibly at an empty pedestrian crossing, giving the innocent driver no time to react. In more elaborate examples, gangs may use multiple vehicles, carefully choreographed to simulate a crash situation. In these examples, one or more of the vehicles involved may leave the scene of the incident making it almost impossible to piece together the details of what happened. Even carefully placed 'witnesses' may also be in on the scam, positioned at the right place, at the right time, to deliver incorrect information to the drivers and police about the incident. All these techniques are designed to create doubt and deflect blame to the innocent party.

Unfortunately, as traumatic as it may be, the crash is only the beginning of the scam. The innocent driver may be surprised to find an exaggerated claim made against them for personal injury, vehicle damage and recovery, loss of earnings, car hire and even claims for bogus passengers who weren't even involved in the incident. In some cases these claims can reach up to £30,000 and are backed by testimonies and paperwork from key individuals such as recovery companies, repair body shops, doctors and solicitors, all of whom are a part of the scam.

So, how can you protect yourself against Crash for Cash scams?

Essentially, by driving more defensively and being mindful of vehicles that are on the road around you. By ensuring that you always give yourself enough room between you and the vehicle in front you will always have time to react and come to a safe stop. Of course, these scams often result in cars swerving in front of you, giving you little or no time to react, so an incident is often unavoidable.

In these cases, being able to provide a clear record of the events leading up to and following an incident can prove invaluable. With a car camera mounted in your windscreen you will have high-quality video that you can use to establish the exact circumstances of the crash. Depending on the camera installed, the video may also provide speed, location and g-force data which helps to paint a more complete picture of the events. This evidence can be provided to the police and to your insurance company in order to establish your innocence.

View our full range of car cameras and dash cams.

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