How to Deal With Crash For Cash Scams

New drivers have a hard enough time as it is, especially younger motorists.

There’s obviously a few nerves to deal with the first few times you hit the road without the calming influence of your trusty driving instructor. Then there’s the notoriously high car insurance premiums for young drivers, even if you shop around for the cheapest insurance quotes. And there’s even been calls from boffins at Cardiff University to ban new drivers from the roads at night or from having too many passengers because of their inexperience.

But there’s also a more sinister problem that young drivers are having to face up to. More and more motorists are staging deliberate accidents so that they can claim money back on car insurance. In simple terms, scammers are crashing for cash.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau estimates around 30,000 crash for cash incidents take place every year, costing insurers around £350 million and pushing up premiums for honest, innocent drivers by around £44 each.
Research from a price comparison website found that one in twenty drivers under 35 confessed to have already staging a deliberate accident, while an astonishing 15% would consider doing so to net some additional cash.

What is crashing for cash?

Car insurance industry research shows that the scammers usually have three different tactics:
  • Staged accidents – two fraudsters deliberately crash into each other and claim on their separate insurance policies.
  • Contrived accidents – where scammers make insurance claims on made up accidents that have never even taken place.
  • Induced accidents – where the “crash for casher” deliberately drives dangerously or badly to force a collision with an innocent motorist.
    For example, they slam on their brakes without warning so the car behind crunches into the back of them, or pull out at a junction or roundabout giving an oncoming car no chance to avoid them.
This final category is the one to be really be vigilant about, as the criminals target younger motorists because they are less likely to kick up a fuss and contest the claim because of their lack of experience.

How can I steer clear of these fraudsters?

The best way to make sure you don’t get caught up in any crash for cash controversy is to remember the wise words of your driving instructor – drive safely and pay attention at all times! Keep your distance from the car in front and always anticipate the road (and any potential hazards) ahead. The better and safer you drive, the less excuse you give the fraudsters to target you.

If you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to a crash for cash scam, try and remain as calm as possible, and whatever you do, don’t admit liability or responsibility for the bump. Keep your wits about you and remember as many details about the incident and the perpetrators as possible. It’s likely they’ll invent a few “invisible” passengers when it’s time to contact the insurers so that they can claim that little bit more. If you can get a quick photo on your mobile phone that shows they were travelling alone, that lie can be nipped in the bud straight away.

And a final word of advice. After reading this you might think that crashing for cash is a cheeky way for you to earn some easy money. After all, it seems enough people are getting away with it at the moment that it’s a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them”. But if you were to get found out, the punishments are harsh and the consequences are long-term. You’ll likely get a “fraud mark” added to your driving license, not only voiding your current car insurance but meaning you’ll be paying much higher premiums for years to come. And the insurance company won’t hesitate in passing your details on to the police. A conviction for fraud doesn’t look good on anyone’s record.