Car insurance fraud is on the rise in the UK
Car insurance fraud is a growing problem in the UK which costs an estimated £780million a year.
Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request by MoneySuperMarket has, however, revealed that a small number of fraud cases are actually reported to the police.
The comparison website asked all 43 territorial UK police forces how many cases of motor insurance fraud had been recorded over the past ten years, breaking down the results by the type of offence.
This includes crash-for-cash incidents, phantom passenger scams, fabricated or exaggerated claims, fronting, ghost broking and obtaining insurance using false information.
Of the 43 forces contacted, 13 returned with data sets, all with surprisingly low numbers of reported cases.
In total there were only 1,087 cases of motor insurance fraud reported to forces over the past decade, while The Association of British Insurers recorded 68,000 cases of motor insurance fraud in 2016 alone.
The police force that recorded the highest number of cases of fraud was City of London Police with 746 cases, followed by West Yorkshire Police (10) and Derbyshire Police (53).
The data also shows that the vast majority of motor insurance fraud in the UK relates to obtaining insurance using false information (54.8 per cent).
Drivers that deliberately provide incorrect details to an insurer about any aspect of their application, including your name, age orb title, is illegal.
In addition to this withholding information such as the type of car you drive, your previous driving history, where you live and who the main driver is, is also against the law.
Crash-for-cash scams are the next most likely type of motor insurance fraud, accounting for over a warted of all fraudulent claims (25.5 per cent).
These scams are becoming increasingly more common in the UK and are situations in which a crash is engineered so the fraudsters can claim on the victim’s insurance.
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Motor insurance fraud remains a big problem for drivers in the UK.
“Although we often hear from insurers about the impact that criminal activity has on car insurance prices, with £50 per policy being mentioned, these figures show that a surprisingly low amount of incidents are being reported to police forces.
“This may be because, historically, so-called ‘white collar’ crime has been less of a priority for the police.
“And in society in general, insurance companies are often seen as ‘fair game’, creating an impression that insurance fraud is a victimless crime. Whatever the reason, what police forces see is clearly the tip of the iceberg.
“Ultimately, it’s honest motorists who foot the bill for fraudulent activity because false claims push up the price of annual premiums by around £50 per motorist.
“With the average cost of a fully comprehensive policy currently sitting at £508 a year, now’s a good time to shop around and see if you could be getting a better deal.
“If you haven’t switched for a while you could be in line for a substantial saving on your premium, potentially in the region of £280, so it’s worth the minor effort.”
Here are MoneySuperMarket’s top tips designed to protect motorists from being a victim of insurance fraud:
1. Always be alert to the possibility of a staged accident – avoid driving close to the vehicle in front in case it brakes suddenly to engineer a collision
2. If you are involved in an accident, call the police immediately and contact your insurance company as soon as possible
3. Never admit liability, even verbally, and never settle for cash
4. A dash cam can provide undeniable evidence of what happened in a motor incident and ensure that any false claim will be instantly rejected.
5. Taking photos at the scene of an incident, especially focusing on how many passengers were in the other vehicle and the make of vehicle involved, can help fight phantom passenger scams.