300,000 car crashes faked in past five years

Car crash

More than 300,000 car accidents have been deliberately staged in 'crash for cash' insurance frauds over the past five years.

That's more than 1,000 fraudulent crashes taking place every week, according to research from LV= car insurance.

'Crash for cash' takes place when someone purposely causes an accident in an effort to gain financially via their insurance company or through claiming compensation for injuries.

According to LV=, fraudsters are choosing young women to carry out the scams as they believe they are less likely to cause a fuss about the accident. In the past two years 65% of victims were female and 59% were 34 or under.

The insurer has also seen a large increase in the amount of dishonest people exaggerating the seriousness of their accident or their injuries in an attempt to get a higher payout. One in three drivers (32%) who have been involved in an accident in the past two years said the other party exaggerated the circumstances of the collision in order to get a bigger payout.

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Not a victim-less crime

John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= car insurance, said: "Every year there are tens of thousands of staged accidents, which are putting the safety of innocent motorists at risk. Fraud is not a victim-less crime and the cost of paying fraudulent claims drives up the cost of car insurance for all.

"LV= takes a hard line on fraud, investigates all suspicious claims and pushes for the toughest sentences for those who are prosecuted."

It has identified three of the most common types of staged accidents.

1. The slam-on. This is where a fraudster brakes sharply for no apparent  reason, causing the motorist behind to drive into the back of them. In these cases, the fraudsters will often disconnect their brake lights so the motorist behind does not know that they are slowing down. Over 30,000 accident victims were involved in a staged rear-end shunt in 2013.
2. The flash for cash scam. This is where the fraudster flashes their headlights at the victim to let them merge into traffic, but will then drive ahead and crash into the back of their vehicle. Almost 3% of motorists involved in a car accident in the past year believe they fell victim to this scam.
3. The full-car smash. In these cases fraudsters take a car-load of passengers out on the roads and then induce an accident with another vehicle. The fraudsters then make multiple claims for personal injuries, which often far outweigh the cost of repairing the vehicles involved.

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I get sickened by the obvious awareness by the car insurance companies about scams resulting in enhanced claims and associated with contrived impacts against innocent drivers' cars. Even when another party exaggerates their damage claim, notification of such devious practices is ignored by the insurance companies involved.  The fact that these companies provide statistics on contrived collisions tells me that they do absolutely nothing about involving the police in such manifestly fraudulent claims.  They could easily eradicate such behaviour by taking the appropriate legal action against such scammers.  But they won't.  Why?  Because it's too much trouble for them and the financial consequences are borne by us!
A couple of years ago my car was written off by a hit and run driver, amazingly, right under a cctv camera.  The details were forwarded to the police  -  who weren't interested  -  who incorrectly claimed that there was no cctv at the locus of the accident.  Eventually they had to accept that they were wrong, but they still refused to supply registration details of the hit-and-run driver from the cctv (because that would have added to their crime statistics and work load).  That information was passed on to the 3 insurance companies involved in the claims (three cars were written off by the hit-and-run driver).  Not one challenged the police to supply the registration details.  The sheer hypocracy by the insurance companies in alleging that they are concerned at these scams therefore fills me with contempt for them.
As to the non-cooperation by the police, that's a parallel issue devolving about lying with crime statistics and would require a total purging of the unacceptable face of police culture, only possible by changes at the very top.