According to a report by the AA, around 66 pounds of every car owner's insurance premiums goes on funding personal injury claims. However, the Association of British Insurers has released figures that show there were around 33,000 fraudulent claims detected in 2009, meaning that a large portion of that 66 pounds is funding unscrupulous motorists. But what can the consumer do to fight back?
Whiplash - An Easy Claim?
Fraudulent personal injury claims come in a variety of forms. Perhaps the most common fraudulent claim comes from those who are prepared to exaggerate or fake the symptoms of whiplash. Whiplash is an injury that does not necessarily carry obvious physical evidence of its symptoms and medical professionals have to rely on testimonies from victims, meaning that there is plenty of scope for faked claims. Also jumping on the whiplash bandwagon are 'cash for crash' fraudsters. These are often criminal gangs who will operate on two levels. Firstly, they will offer the owner of a low-value car a sum of money to use their car in a staged crash. Once they have procured the car, they will then target another driver, slamming their brakes on at the last possible moment so that a rear end collision is unavoidable. At the scene of the accident, the fraudsters will then fake injuries and demand on-the-spot compensation from the innocent driver. The owner of the car used in the crash can then also claim for damages to the vehicle.
Other forms of fraudulence have been discovered where people who have genuinely been in accidents exaggerate their injuries or fake them altogether. The result is that insurance companies are forced to increase the cost of premiums to cover the price of compensation paid out to unscrupulous motorists.
Fraudulent Whiplash Claims Spell Trouble For Motorists
The rising cost of insurance could also spell more trouble for fully paid-up motorists.
As the costs increase, more and more drivers who cannot afford to insure their vehicles are predicted to drive without any insurance at all. This practice already costs the insurance industry millions of pounds each year and an increase in numbers could be disastrous for innocent motorists, who are left to pick up the bill.
However, a good driving record could make careful drivers more desirable with insurers and, therefore, give them greater choice when it comes to choosing which company to go with. As a result of fraudulent claims, some insurers are choosing to check databases and credit agencies in the search for good drivers. These drivers are being rewarded with the offer of low premiums, sometimes up to a third less than what they would normally pay.
The best way drivers can hit back at fraudsters is to ensure that they have the best cover for their circumstances. Not only will they receive favourable terms as a reward for their good driving practices, but they will also be safe in the knowledge that should they be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, their chosen insurance company will work on their behalf to secure financial compensation for injuries and vehicle damage.