According to the Insurance Research Council, automobile claims fraud contributed $5.6 – $7.7 billion in excess payments for U.S. auto insurance claims over a one-year period, amounting to 13 – 17% of total auto claims payouts. This fraudulent activity has substantial negative consequences for innocent drivers in the forms of increased premiums, slower claims processing, and even physical injury from staged accidents. Some of the more common types of auto insurance fraud includes:
1) Staged crashes. This often involves two cars setting up a victim through “sandwiching” the victim’s vehicle or giving inaccurate signals to the victim that result in a crash.
2) Vehicle dumping. This occurs when a vehicle owner disposes of the vehicle by dumping it in a lake, burning it, or even selling it, and then claiming the vehicle was stolen.
3) Exaggerated repair costs. Billing for services not performed or using cheaper parts than claimed is a common practice at unscrupulous repair shops.
4) Faulty airbag replacement. Some auto shops never actually replace the airbag after it has deployed in a crash; they fill the space with junk materials, charging erroneously and putting passengers at risk.
5) Unwarranted medical and disability claims. This occurs when a claimant seeks medical or disability payments after an accident citing a false injury.
These are just some of the fraudulent schemes deployed in the auto insurance industry on a regular basis. The impacts are substantial, and as such, many dedicated professionals are focused on reducing fraud and countering its associated risks and outcomes. Investigating suspicious claims, deploying advanced surveillance and analytical techniques, as well as encouraging consumers to be vigilant and report suspicious activity will go a long way to protect all consumers from the financial and physical risks resulting from fraud.