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  • Crash for Cash Scams on the increase - How to Protect Company Vehicles

    There have been many recent headlines regarding the cost of living crisis, increasing mortgage rates and rising fuel prices – and that's certainly understandable. However, there are other costly issues that are not making front-page news. Crash for cash scams are on the rise, and the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) estimates they cost the industry approximately £340 million annually.

    Crash for cash

    What is a crash for cash scam?

    According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), crash for cash scams fall into three different categories:

    Staged accidents

    Insurance fraudsters may attempt to crash their vehicle into another, or create damage to their own vehicle in order to make it appear as if they have been involved in a genuine crash.

    Ghost accidents

    Fraudsters file insurance claims for accidents that did not occur.

    Induced accidents

    In an effort to defraud insurance companies, criminals target innocent motorists and make them appear at fault. They use various methods to induce accidents, such as unexpectedly slamming their brakes to make the car behind them crash into them.

    These acts not only result in increased insurance premiums for everyone, but also put innocent drivers at risk of injury and financial loss. On average, innocent motorists pay an extra £50 per year for car insurance fraud. This underscores the importance of preventing fraud, as it not only affects the pockets of honest citizens; it is a direct threat to their safety, their assets and their peace of mind.

    Why are crash for cash scams on the rise?

    Crash for cash scams are a daily occurrence on UK roads. According to IFB analysis, there are suspected crash for cash claims every four minutes. With such a high frequency of fraud occurring, drivers must take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their vehicles.

    These activities only become more prevalent in times of economic hardship, and it's sadly unlikely that criminals will change their behaviour anytime soon. Crash for cash scams demonstrate fraudsters' willingness to take advantage of motorists by any means possible, and for fleet owners, this is a worrying scenario.

    Spotting the signs

    Taking extra care to recognise suspicious driving habits can be an effective way of protecting yourself against crash for cash insurance fraud.

    • Be sure to keep an eye on vehicles that suddenly accelerate or decelerate for unclear reasons, as well as those who appear to be watching your driving closely.
    • Existing damage can also be a giveaway, since fraudsters are likely to have targeted innocent drivers and caused collisions in the past.
    • To be extra vigilant, make sure to monitor any vehicles that appear to be operating together. Doing so can help you quickly identify and address any suspicious behaviour.

    What are the UK's crash for cash hotspots?

    A crash for cash scam can occur anywhere in the UK; however, the Insurance Fraud Bureau warns that certain areas are most vulnerable.

    The UK's top 10 crash for cash hotspots are:

    1.            Birmingham – B25

    2.            Birmingham – B34

    3.            Birmingham – B8

    4.            Bradford – BD7

    5.            Bradford – BD3

    6.            Walsall – WS1

    7.            Blackburn – BB9

    8.            Bradford – BD8

    9.            Birmingham – B27

    10.         Romford – RM18

    How to prevent crash for cash scams and protect your company vehicles

    Crash for cash schemes are becoming increasingly common, but they don’t have to be a threat to your company. By implementing the right security measures, you can protect your vehicles and ensure that your fleet isn’t targeted by criminals looking to make a quick buck and increasing premiums on your fleet insurance.

    1.            Don’t tailgate

    Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) recommends the following time to safely stop:

    • 2 seconds in dry conditions
    • 4 seconds in wet conditions
    • 20 seconds in snowy or icy conditions

    2.            Take advantage of vehicle dash cams

    Dashboard cameras are extremely useful in situations like these, and many are specially designed for these scenarios. Place stickers on the back of your vehicle to announce their presence – this could prove an invaluable source of evidence when defending your case and discourage crash for cash scammers.

    3.            Telematics

    Telematics combined with forward-facing cameras can help analyse accident situations, prove liability and prevent false claims. Their data can help establish a clear timeline of events, providing a reliable picture of the incident based on driver behaviour and vehicle location.

    4.            Keep your focus while driving

    If you're distracted by your mobile phone or any other device that can hinder your concentration, you could have difficulty proving your liability.

    Prevention is key

    For many fleet owners, the idea of their company vehicles becoming victims of a crash for cash scam isn't something they want to entertain. But it happens more frequently than you might think.

    If something doesn't feel right, encourage your drivers to report it to the authorities and your insurance provider immediately. With some knowledge and a little foresight, you can avoid becoming one of the many thousands of people who fall prey to these fraudulent schemes every year.

    If you wish to find out about Bluedrop’s Fleet Insurance for your company vehicles, visit our Fleet Insurance page.

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