Preventing Auto Insurance Fraud After a Collision
Being in an accident is bad enough. Having to contend with auto insurance fraud after a collision makes a bad situation that much worse.
You might be surprised to learn just how prevalent auto insurance fraud is. Check out the graphic above from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) with some insights into fraud in our province.
So, given just how common fraud can be and how nonchalant some people can be in the face of fraud, let’s dig into how to protect yourself after a car accident…
Types of fraud
Generally speaking, there are three types of auto insurance fraud:
- Organized fraud: This type of fraud involves staged collisions that are then the basis of fraudulent claims.
- Premeditated fraud: This type of fraud revolves around making up a story around a loss, or signing for repairs or treatment not actually used.
- Opportunistic fraud: This type of fraud takes advantage of an existing situation by exaggerating claims, such as overstating the damage to a car or claiming an injury is worse than it actually is.
How to protect yourself from fraud after an accident
You might think that a staged collision would only involve individuals participating in fraud, but this type of scenario can also rope in another driver that is innocent and completely unaware of the fraud that is unfolding (this is referred to as caused collision). Here are some tips from avoiding being ensnared in this type of fraud…
- Drive defensively (be aware of all that is happening around you on the road and be ready to take evasive action), safely (taking into account weather and road conditions) and at all costs avoid high risk driving behaviour (like tailgating). Fraudsters that are planning a staged collision just may be looking to take advantage of distracted or risky drivers.
- If another driver is offering you the right of way, accept it very cautiously.
Properly Document and Report your Collision
Information is your best weapon in the face of fraud. After the accident, ensure that you record all pertinent details. Don’t trust your memory. Always better to err on the side of too much information, than finding gaps in your data. Use this accident report form from the IBC and take pictures. Get in touch with your insurer right away. If you find anything about the accident suspicious and you’re wary that there may be fraud at play, let your insurance company know.
Click here for more on what to do after a car accident.
Other steps to take after an accident
- Keep your cool (don’t get into heated conversations or arguments with others involved in the collision) and choose your words and actions carefully (never accept fault and never sign anything at the site of the accident).
- After an accident, only deal with trusted medical practitioners and legal professional (think licensed and in good standing).
- If you do need to get medical treatment, ensure that you fully understand the coverage you have, and make sure you keep meticulous records of all treatments and appointments.
- Is someone involved in the accident trying to steer you towards a particular service provider (like a physiotherapist, or a lawyer, for example)? Let your insurance company know.
- Keep on top of your claim. Don’t just assume it’s correct. Compare your files with what is in the claim to ensure they align.
- Understand fully your compensation. If you’re unsure, get clarification from your broker or provider about what is covered in your policy.
- NEVER sign a blank insurance form.
Think you’ve been a victim of or witness to auto insurance fraud? Click here to let the Insurance Bureau of Canada know or here to get in touch with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA).
Auto insurance fraud costs us all – false claims translate into higher premiums for everyone, the last thing we need here in Ontario (given the high rates we pay). Do your part! Do everything you can to prevent fraud from happening and address it promptly when you suspect it’s at play.
Have any questions about getting cheap auto insurance coverage in Toronto and around Ontario? Want to learn more about fraud? Contact one of our insurance specialists today, or click here to get an auto insurance quote online.
Image source: FSCO