Avoid Auto Insurance Fraud

While some may believe that auto insurance fraud does not impact them directly, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) notes that these types of crimes are universally felt in the form of higher insurance premiums, healthcare and court costs.

Given its prevalence, the IBC notes that it has worked with legislators and law enforcement officers to diminish the illegal activity. Officials' efforts have often paid dividends through arrests and convictions.

However, IBC says auto insurance fraud can be reduced even further through the efforts of policyholders themselves. To help, IBC offers a few suggestions:

Avoid getting into a collision. One of the biggest ways in which auto insurance criminals carry out their plans is by impacting unsuspecting victims. This can easily be done by slamming on their brakes, forcing drivers behind them to slam into their rear. IBC advises motorists not to tailgate under any circumstances so that there's plenty of time to stop safely if a driver quickly applies their brakes. Another way to avoid collisions is to look several cars up in traffic rather than at the vehicle ahead. This will enable drivers to better anticipate traffic activity.

What to do if a crash is unavoidable. Despite motorists' best attempts, some crashes may be unavoidable. As a result, it's important to be wary about the other drivers involved in the crash, as it may have been intentional. Motorists can better determine this by analyzing their behaviors. For instance, IBC says that the other driver involved in the accident may behave one way before police officers arrive to clear the crash and then much differently once they get there, acting as though they were severely injured.

Even if there's no suggestion that the crash was intentional, IBC recommends writing down as much information as possible about the incident in question. This includes getting the other car's license plate number, counting how many passengers were in their car, as well as jotting down phone numbers and drivers' license numbers. This type of information may be critical should there be an investigation, but it will also be important for auto insurance claim processing if the crash was a legitimate accident.

After a crash scene has been cleared, there are other important actions that must be taken to resolve the incident. This includes calling one's auto insurance company to inform them of the accident. This may be particularly important to do if the other motorist involved volunteered information about a body shop, doctor or lawyer that doesn't exist. Policyholders should provide their insurance company with this information, as they can then confirm or deny whether these companies are legitimate operations or were made up, IBC advises.

Confirm VIN is accurate. Another form of auto insurance crime is carried out by people who re-use vehicle identification numbers. Every vehicle has its own unique VIN, but some auto insurance criminals steal these numbers from other cars and use them on stolen vehicles. The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure your VIN is the accurate one. Checking the title of the car and matching it with the numbers that are printed on the vehicle itself, (usually found on the dashboard), is the best way to prevent VIN fraud. There are also VIN etching kits that can be purchased, which enable motorists to permanently imprint another portion of their vehicle with the VIN, such as the windshield or back window.

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