Imagine you’re driving along a dual carriageway, at speed, with just one car ahead of you – the rest of the road is clear. Suddenly the car ahead brakes hard, for no apparent reason, leaving you unable to avoid slamming into the back of them. The car behind is equally caught off-guard and can’t avoid crashing into the back of your car.
Imagine the shock, the helplessness you feel, as you look at the other people travelling with you in your car (your mum, your children, your partner), hoping they are OK.
The driver of the car in front – and his passengers – get out of their car, rubbing their necks and telling you that you’re at fault. They want your insurance details and, as luck would have it, they have their insurance details already written down on a piece of paper to hand to you.
This is insurance fraud. This is crash for cash.
In addition to putting the safety of innocent motorists and their passengers at risk, the Insurance Fraud Bureau estimates that these scams cost around £340 million a year, which we all pay for in our motor insurance.
Last year, Aviva detected around £59m of motor insurance fraud. Their teams have around 17,000 fraudulent personal injury claims it is currently investigating and rejects around 1 in 8 whiplash-style personal injury claims it receives on grounds of fraud.
“Insurance fraud is not showing any sign of abating. As insurers have improved their fraud detection capabilities, fraudsters are driven to more extreme measures such as induced accidents like crash for cash, which continue to pose a real threat to the safety of innocent motorists. These accidents also divert emergency services from genuine need, and place an extra burden on our court system which is already stressed.”
Why would someone put their own safety – and that of others – at such risk of physical harm? The answer is simple. There’s too much money on offer and it’s too easy to access.
With crash for cash the law is working against the average motorist, not for them. Not only does it offer financial incentives for fraudsters to cash in by endangering the safety of others. But by encouraging fraud, it makes our roads more dangerous and our motor insurance more expensive. This is clearly not what the law had intended.
The good news is that there is a bill going through Parliament right now. The Civil Liability Bill will reduce the compensation paid for minor short-term injuries such as whiplash which we believe will remove the financial incentive to commit this crime. It will also remove temptation for others to lie or exaggerate their injuries.
No-one should be able to put others in harm’s way simply so they can line their own pockets.
Article courtesy of Aviva