This month, we wanted to take some time to talk to you about fraud, and protecting yourself from it. Insurance fraud is when someone invents or exaggerates a claim, or does not tell the truth in order to obtain cheaper cover. It is a serious crime which can result in a criminal conviction and even imprisonment.
The ABI (Association of British Insurers), estimates that fraud adds, on average, an extra £50 to the annual insurance bill for every UK policyholder. In 2014, insurers uncovered 130,000 fraudulent claims worth £1.32 billion across all insurance products. To help combat this, UK insurers invest at least £200 million each year to help identify fraud.
With fraudulent claims for personal injury for motor insurance, fraudsters may simply exaggerate injuries they did actually suffer from in order to maximise insurance pay-outs, or may cause incidents on the roads and claim for injuries to ‘ghost passengers’ (the fraudsters claim for injuries to passengers who are not present at the time of the incident). If you are involved in an incident whilst driving, take photos of all vehicles involved, take down as many details of you can about the damage, registration numbers of vehicle involved, and details of anyone present, whether directly involved or anyone who witnessed the incident. Always report any incidents to your insurance providers, even if you do not wish to make a claim to ensure that your insurer is aware of your version of events, in case the third party attempts to make a fraudulent claim against your policy.
In the case of providing incorrect information in order to obtain cheaper premiums, this results in the policies not being rated correctly, and may mean that claims against the insurance are not valid and not covered by the insurance; in essence although the initial outlay for the insurance is cheaper, it is a worthless policy. Not all of these cases are perpetrated maliciously, and many are simply oversights. We would urge everyone to check their documents to ensure that the information held by their insurance providers (regardless of whether cover is held by ourselves) is accurate, and to inform their insurance providers to report any errors or omissions.