You’ve probably heard about cash for crash scams that are hitting drivers. A cash for crash scam is when someone deliberately crashes into the vehicles of innocent drivers in order to submit false insurance claims. Or sometimes they submit a claim when there hasn’t even been a crash! These are called ghost accidents. The aim is to make as much money as possible. It is estimated that such false claims cost honest policy holders nearly £4million each year! (Reference crimestoppers website).
So, how can you, the honest driver, protect yourself and avoid such claims? Here are some useful tips on keeping safe on the road:
- Be aware. Drive carefully and pay attention to the drivers around you.
- Statistically these accidents occur most frequently at roundabouts and on slip roads. So stay alert.
- Look out for warning signs such as cars speeding up and slowing down for no apparently reason. They may be looking for an opportunity to cause a crash with your vehicle.
- Also, look at the passengers – are they paying particular attention to your car? They may be looking for ways to cause an accident.
- Many of these crashes are choreographed by gangs with more than one vehicle. Stay vigilant if you notice two cars driving erratically. They may be looking to cause a crash.
- Fraudsters often switch off their brake lights. If you noticed a car in front’s brakelights aren’t working be aware and keep a safe distance.
- Look at the car in front. Is there any damage on it? It could just be a sign of a bad driver but it could also be a sign of a fraudster.
- Be aware of flash for cash. This is when a driver flashes their lights at you to signal you can go but then drives into you instead.
If you suspect you have been the victim of a cash for crash scenario stay calm. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself in the situation:
- As we said, stay calm. Don’t argue with the driver or passenger. You never know what sort of person they might be. Protect yourself.
- Call the police immediately while you are at the scene. If you suspect anything, tell them.
- Take as much information down as possible about the incident. The make and model of the car. The date and time of the incident. The location of the incident. If you can, take photos or video the scene and any damage. Take a note of who was in the car – drivers and passengers.
- Take a note of any injuries (or not) that the drivers and passengers are complaining of.
- Take details of any witnesses.
- And importantly, inform your insurers immediately.
Some drivers are investing in car cameras which are mounted on the windscreen of your car as a way of protecting themselves from these claims.
So just be aware and safe driving.