Recently the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has estimated the annual cost of “crash for cash” fraud is £392m a year, with one in seven personal injury claims linked to suspected scams.
In a way this doesn’t surprise me. One only has to watch the TV for a short time to be inundated with ‘ambulance chaser’ type advertisements, amongst all the others for quick credit and ‘cheap’ sofas.
Now, I’m one of the first to complain about the cost of insurance, and how quick insurance companies are to raise rates and how slow they often seem to be to pay out.
I live in an area with excellent public transport links, and recently, after making tentative inquiries about auto insurance decided against getting a car on the road again, as for me, it’s not a necessity.
A few months ago, I was in one of the stores of my phone provider, Three, and I made inquiries about what phone insurance deals they have available.
‘None, Sir’, was the reply. ‘We stopped offering insurance due to the extremely high level of fraud’.
Apparently many people think it’s just fine to ‘add on’ a few extras when making a claim or exaggerate injuries. Thing is, they’re not getting money for nothing – everyone pays a lot extra on their premiums because of such practises.
Some years ago, I spilt paint on a fairly new carpet, and spent some time trying to remove it, with only limited success. I didn’t even think to claim on my home contents insurance which included ‘new for old’ and accidental damage coverage. Silly me.
On the other hand, and around the same number of years ago, when I was moaning about the age and performance of the TV set I owned a friend in all seriousness suggested I claim on my insurance.
‘I can’t claim for a new TV’, I said.
‘You can, if you drop the old one down the stairs, while you were moving it’, he responded.
To be honest, such a thought had never crossed my mind. Suffice to say, I didn’t act on his suggestion. As well as being dishonest, I didn’t fancy trying to cart a 26 inch CRT TV cabinet upstairs; didn’t fancy the mess I’d have to clear up when I dropped it back down them; and I’m a terrible liar.
When I read facts and figures on both the sophisticated methods used, and the amount of money defrauded each year, I’m glad that the IFB along with the police are taking these crimes seriously.
After all, it’s not victimless. We all pay.