Giving the right information to your insurer is vital. Just simple mistakes in your policy documentation could lead to a real headache or eventually having invalid cover.
The consequences could be even bigger – if a mistake is taken as fraud, you could be looking at fines, penalty points or even prosecution.
We don’t want to scare you, only help you, so let’s take you through some of the basic concepts around car insurance fraud.
How you might commit car insurance fraud (…to avoid, not to take tips!)
When we say “simple mistakes in your policy documentation” we mean giving wrong or out of date information to your insurer. It’s easy to forget your insurer in the long list of places to call after you’ve moved house but it could get you in trouble.
The address where your car is regularly parked overnight has an impact on your premium, just like the intended use of your car, so keep it up to date.
You might not think anything of making a few upgrades to your car but this also influences your premium. Many modifications increase the value of the car whilst, positively, getting a security device might bring your premium down. At drive like a girl we don’t insure modified cars – so it’s best you let your insurer know.
‘Fronting’ is a term that often comes up with young driver insurance. It refers to someone being added to a policy as the named driver when they really are the main driver. This is more common with young drivers, as parents make themselves the main driver for the child’s policy to lower the risk profile – and bring down the cost. One thing to remember…it’s illegal!
‘Car dumping’ is, literally, dumping your car in an attempt to make a claim for theft. The same term is used for damaging your car or setting it on fire to fake an insurance claim. Obviously not legal…
Nearly half a million fake insurance claims were caught in the UK in 2018, according to This is Money. The large number indicates most cases do get caught and with the potentially serious consequences, you don’t want to be in this statistic!
We should also consider the wider impact of fraud. Fraud investigations take a lot of time and effort which essentially is taking time away from your insurer to deal with genuine claims. Overall, this could lead to higher premiums across all providers.
How you might be a victim of car insurance fraud
Social media has increased the operation of so-called ‘ghost brokers’ trying to fool young drivers with fake insurance policies. They act as insurance brokers online; they might even buy a real policy to modify and sell onwards or sell a policy to cancel it immediately and take your refund.
How can you identify a ghost broker?
It can be hard to recognise one but there are a few tips that can help you:
- Always check the official website. drive like a girl only provides policies through our Customer Service team on the phone, the website or official price comparison sites.
- See if the business has an official address: a ghost broker is likely to only operate via phone.
- Check the contact details: a personal email account and a mobile number do not reflect a genuine business.
- As great as a deal might sound to you, if it’s too good to be true it probably is. Ghost brokers also ask fewer questions to get your policy set up.
- If you have suspicions, ask for evidence of authorisation which a real broker would be able to provide.
Some people dump their own car to fake a claim but there are also drivers out there looking to cause accidents with others on the road so that they can blame them for the damage.
A ‘crash for cash’ is when a driver in front of you brakes suddenly causing you to crash them from behind. A ‘flash for cash’ is a term for someone flashing their lights at you at a junction to give you way but then crashing into you.
Fraudsters like this operate quickly and will make a claim instantly to try and get the blame on you.
How can you identify a crash scam?
There are a few signs you should look out for if you’re at the scene of an accident and have suspicions:
- Notice how the driver acts after the accident. Are they surprisingly calm? Do they have quick answers on hand when you’re still wondering what happened? Are they exaggerating the incident?
- Write down details of what happened in your opinion, as you would after any incident.
- If you’re really suspicious or uncomfortable, contact the police and explain.
- Consider getting a black box in your car to provide evidence in the event of a claim – the box will record your speed, location and any impacts which could be helpful evidence. Have a look at what we do at drive like a girl.
We at drive like a girl are members of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB). We advise our customers to report any suspicions to the IFB confidential cheat line on 0800 422 0421.