The scam against innocent drivers was worth millions. Two men from Slough, Berkshire, orchestrated 250 collisions with innocent drivers, mainly on mini-roundabouts, making claims against dozens of insurance companies for fabricated injuries or vehicle damage.
It seems a little unreal that someone could claim on your car insurance without you being aware of it. But it can happen. There are two main scenarios where this can occur - one where the claim made is genuine, and one where it's a fraudulent one. Here’s how to recognise the signs of a fake car insurance claim and steps you can take to protect yourself.
Fake car insurance claims are on the rise
According to accounting firm KPMG, the number of fraud cases reaching courts in the UK rose by 78% in 2018, as insurance scams increased in value despite a fall in case number.
Cloned car registration claims a real issue
These are situations where someone might be making what looks like a claim against you and your car but where actually, a cloned version of your car is part of a fraudulent claim. These scams work around the fact that insurers might not inform you about a Third Party claim being made against you.
Why you should report any car incident immediately
When anything happens to your car, whether you think you will want to claim for it or not, you should always report it to your insurer. Yes, it's tempting not to, especially if it's only a scratch, a dent or minor damage.
If you have had an incident with your car and suspect the other driver might attempt a fraudulent claim for damage or personal compensation, you can give your version of the facts to your insurer first and warn them about what you suspect might happen. If you don’t tell your insurer, you might regret it later.
Always try to collect the following details if you’re involved in a road accident with another driver:
Vehicle details: Make, model, colour
Driver: Driving licence number, name and address shown on it
Name of all the passengers
Name and contact details for any witness at the scene
Insurance details (insurer's name, policy number)
TOP TIP: TAKE PICTURES OF DOCUMENTS, DAMAGE TO BOTH CARS, ROADS AND CAR POSITIONS
Finally, try to make a note of the accident details on your phone or a diary. Even if you just write down a few details like where you were coming from, going to….It might come handy later.
What to do if you suspect a fraudulent car insurance claim is being made
- Challenge your insurer
- Show them proofs of where you were on that day if you know for sure you were somewhere else (it could be train tickets, receipts, colleagues who can testify you were in a meeting….)
- Ask your insurer to ask the Third Party claimant to confirm specific points like who was driving "your" car, the exact address of where the incident happened
If someone is trying to submit a fraudulent claim involving a cloned car registration and a different owner, they are unlikely to be able to describe you accurately. That could make all the difference to prove it’s a fake claim.