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Car insurance fraud extent revealed


By Daniel Machin

Each week more than 1,000 innocent motorists are affected by "crash for cash" fraud.

Research by LV= reveals that fraudsters have staged more than 300,000 car accidents since 2008, pushing up insurance premiums for everyone on the road.

Various methods are used to create an incident, which results in the victim believing they were at fault and admitting responsibility. 

Meanwhile, swindlers are now going to greater lengths to get as much money as they can.

'Slam-on' scam

One common method known as a "slam-on" scam has caught out over 30,000 people in the past year alone.

This is where the driver in front slams on their brakes for no apparent reason, causing an accident.

Females and young drivers are usually targeted as they are perceived to be less likely to challenge the insurance claim.

In the past two years, for instance, 66% of victims were female and 59% were aged 34 or younger.

"Every year there are tens of thousands of staged accidents, which are putting the safety of innocent motorists at risk," said John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= car insurance.

"Fraud is not a victim-less crime and the cost of paying fraudulent claims drives up the cost of car insurance for all."

Fraudulent whiplash claims crackdown

Car insurance premiums have started to fall since ministers began a crackdown on fraudulent whiplash claims, although court awards for those injured in car crashes have increased in recent years.

A staggering £1.1 billion of fraudulent insurance claims were lodged in 2012, according to data from the Association of British Insurers, up £110 million on the previous year.

The level of fraud was actually nearly double that recorded in 2007, with fraudulent motor insurance claims - £610 million - making up 55% of the total.

But fraudsters are becoming greedier. In addition to staging accidents, LV= has seen a marked increase in them exaggerating the circumstances of an accident in an attempt to gain a higher payout.

They may exaggerate or even invent an injury in order to claim compensation, or try to claim for vehicle damage that is unrelated to the accident.

Some 33% of drivers who have been involved in an accident in the past two years say the other party tried to claim compensation for injuries to passengers who were not in the vehicle at the time.

Or they say the other party exaggerated the circumstances of the accident in order to inflate their claim.

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