What is Auto Insurance Fraud?

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  • Written By: Rachel Burkot
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Auto insurance fraud is a method by which an individual or insurance company claims more money than they are entitled to. Automobile insurance fraud can involve a staged car accident or a real accident with bills that hide the false claims or state that the costs are higher than they actually are. Insurance companies can also participate in insurance fraud by denying the claims and benefits of victims who deserve them. One in three auto insurance claims are fraudulent.

When a car accident is staged as a way to commit auto insurance fraud, the driver will usually take out an insurance policy that will cover the damage from the accident. The driver then stages an accident to collect more money than he or she deserves. One type of car accident scam is called the swoop and squat, in which two vehicles work together against the victim. One vehicle is known as the squat vehicle and is in front of the victim, while the swoop vehicle cuts off the squat vehicle, causing a sudden stop by the victim, who crashes into the squat vehicle. The swoop vehicle flees the scene, leaving the victim responsible for damages and injuries.


Another type of scam in auto insurance fraud is a side swipe, which usually takes place at an intersection. The driver committing auto accident fraud puts a vehicle in the leftmost turning lane, and the victim is sideswiped by that driver. This type of accident is mostly corroborated only by word of mouth, and the victim is commonly left responsible for the aftermath of the crash.

Finally, a third car accident scam is the panic stop, which involves a vehicle of passengers driving in front of the victim. When the victim is distracted, such as checking the rear view mirror or changing the radio station, one of the passengers in the car in front signals to the driver, who slams on the brakes, causing a rear-end crash. The victim will be at fault because his or her eyes were off the road.

If an accident is not staged, auto insurance fraud can occur by holder-based fraud or bad faith insurance. Examples of holder-based fraud include totaling a worthless car and later claiming it was valuable and pretending to be injured in an accident. Bad faith insurance fraud is fraud in which legitimate auto insurance claims are denied by the insurance company on a nonsensical cause not stated in the policy. This type of auto insurance fraud also works when the insurance company simply refuses to process the claim at all. The policyholder may appeal any denied claim, as long as he or she has reason to do so.


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Post 3

That's terrible that people stage accidents and take money from innocent victims. When I was in a car accident the first time, I was lucky that the other person was at fault. I had car auto insurance, but I didn't have the collision coverage -- only liability. Since the other person had liability coverage his insurance paid to repair my car.

Post 2

I know of car body shops that commonly commit auto repair insurance fraud. They charge people more than the repair work is worth. Then when the insurance company pays the full amount the garage splits the extra money with the customer.

This way the customer gets the work done and then has a few extra dollars in his pocket, and as long as the bill isn't too far off the insurance company doesn't even take notice because they have so many claims to settle.

Post 1

When I had my car accident, the only one I have had and hopefully the last one I will have, I was surprised at how quickly I was contacted by lawyers. I was also surprised by how many different law firms sent me letters saying that I should contact them and let them set up a medical appointment to check that I had not been injured in the accident.

A lady ran a red light and I hit her in the side of the car. I wasn't going anymore than 40 mph, and I didn't even get a scratch. One lawyer even called me at work and explained to me how I needed to go ahead and get a

medical examination because I might have some injuries that hadn't surfaced yet, and I would need to have them documented if I wanted to go to court and get a good settlement.

If I had been hurt then I would have been all for somebody paying for my medical bills and loss of work, but I was fine, and it seemed like the lawyers wanted me to be injured so they could earn a fee. This to me, seems like car insurance fraud or fraud of some kind. It is definitely unethical.

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