Accidents happen every day, it’s part of life. But some accidents aren’t accidents at all, rather, they’re carefully orchestrated designs to steal money from unsuspecting people. According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, in the United States alone, automobile claim fraud totaled between $5.6-$7.7 billion in auto-injury claims paid in 2012. When you’re the driver found at fault in an auto accident, your car liability insurance coverage pays for the damages to the other person’s car and person. It also means your insurance premiums rise. So not only has your car been hit and in need of repairs, you potentially have to pay for your own medical bills and any additional expenses necessary to cover the other person’s damages. To avoid being taken advantage of by an expert fraud criminal, read on; recognizing a staged accident could come in handy down the line.
The Merge Wave
Switching lanes on the freeway is par for the course. As we take our exit, we’re grateful when another driver acknowledges our blinker and waves us on, especially when traffic is backed up. After having given you the go ahead with a friendly wave, the “waver” will accelerate and rear-end your car. After the police arrive, this crook will deny that he ever waved you ahead, blaming you for the accident.
After waiting your turn at the stop sign, you proceed through the intersection, but before you’ve made it through, a car comes flying out of nowhere and T-Bones you. Once the police arrive, the other driver and their passengers or stand-in passers-by (auto scammers usually have a group to play as witnesses) will say you were the one who ran through the stop sign.
The Brake Check
There are couple good reasons not to tailgate the motorist in front of you. One is just to be a good person (it’s safe to say we ALL loathe tailgaters) and the other is in case the person in front of us has to make a sudden stop. If we’re tailgating someone and they suddenly brake, we’ll rear-end them, causing an accident that is absolutely our fault. For those that don’t tailgate, pay attention to the driver in front of you slowing down to match your speed. Once the scam artist is in range, they will push on the brake, causing you to rear-end them. They will tell the arriving police officer that you were tailgating, and are responsible for the accident.
The Swoop and Squat
Acting as a team, two cars will will come in beside you. One of the vehicles will merge in front of you and slam on the breaks, the other car will block you from switching lanes to avoid the accident. This is a built-in victim and witness situation.
The Working Witness
We’ve discussed the working witness in part in the above scenarios, but here is a little bit more information. Some con artists have their partners hide out, directing them to someone not paying a lot of attention to their surroundings. This type of con primarily takes place in parking garages and parking lots. As the unsuspecting motorist makes their way through the lot, the other car will cut in front of them and cause an accident. Suddenly, their accomplice will appear as a “witness” and refute your report to the police.
Not everyone is a crook, but the few that are have made driving increasingly more unsafe. To protect yourself against fraud by staying vigilant for the above five scenarios. Of course, it always helps to find an insurance package through a company you can trust. Shop CoverHound’s offerings today!