When A Car Crash Is No Accident

In addition to safety precautions, it is important to guard against the malicious acts of others. Regardless of how conscientious a driver you are, anyone can fall subject to a dangerous form of insurance fraud – staged auto accidents. They can lead to injury, as well as indisputable surcharges on your policy. In one version two vehicles pass you. One pulls in front of the other, forcing the second care to brake suddenly. This causes you to rear-end the second car, becoming liable for damages. Meanwhile, the first car flees. To help protect becoming a victim, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Pay attention to the traffic around you. This is especially important if you drive an expensive, late model, or commercial vehicle that is likely to be heavily insured. Be wary of cars driving too slowly, driving erratically, or not allowing you to pass.
  • Look beyond the vehicle in front of you. Start braking as soon as traffic begins to slow, even if the car in front of you does not slow down.
  • Stay at least three car-lengths behind the vehicle you’re following. This allows adequate time to brake.
  • If you hit another car, count the occupants. Perpetrators of scams often use older model vehicles carrying many passengers. obtain the full names, telephone numbers, and driver’s license numbers of all occupants. This identifying information helps prevent others, who were not in the car, from filing false claims.
  • Call the police to the scene. Request a detailed police damage report on the spot. This prevents scam artists from damaging their vehicles later and blaming you.
  • Report suspected scams to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB). The NCIB works in conjunction with law enforcement authorities, as well as insurance carriers, to help identify and prevent possible insurance fraud. Their hotline number is 1800-TEL-NICB.

Because driving a vehicle is an everyday occurrence, everyone has the potential to fall prey to this type of insurance fraud. Increasing your awareness of staged accidents and following these tips may help you prevent involvement in an incident that happens “accidentally on purpose”.

-Robert Catalano