Insurance fraud involving staged car accidents are a growing problem, costing the insurance industry $30 billion annually, and growing. For additional information about how to protect yourself from these scams, contact an agent with Box Insurance Agency’s auto insurance companies in Dallas.
Types of Staged Car Accidents
A staged car accident is not easy to prove. Accidents tend to occur quickly, and the details may seem fuzzy to the victim. Protecting yourself begins with recognizing the methods potential scammers commonly use, and reporting potential fraud to the police and the affected auto insurance companies in Dallas. Common methods of accident fraud include:
- The swoop and squat occurs when a car suddenly cuts in front of you, and slams on the brakes causing an intentional rear-end collision.
- A drive down occurs when you’re attempting to merge into freeway traffic. A driver waves you forward, providing the right-of-way. However, rather than allowing you to enter the lane, the driver deliberately crashes into your vehicle and blames you for the accident.
- A T-Bone occurs when driving through an intersection and a driver intentionally slams into your vehicle. The other driver then tells the police that you intentionally ran the stop sign or traffic light.
- The wave occurs while you’re attempting to change lanes in heavy traffic, and another driver gestures you over. Just as the maneuver is complete, the driver rams into your vehicle.
Staged car accidents may include others such as their passengers, other vehicles, the tow-truck driver, auto body shop, and others.
Signs of a Staged Accident
Participants in a staged accident often exhibit behavioral clues, including:
- The driver and/or passengers complain of back and neck pain even though the damage to the vehicle is minimal. Remember, in a rear-end collision injuries such as whiplash is possible. Complaints of injuries may be genuine, although when the vehicle damage is minor, it’s a reason to suspect a potential scam. Watch those claiming an injury as they speak to a police officer, and paramedics. A scammer’s “symptoms” will often “intensify” as they speak to these persons. Auto insurance companies in Dallas recognize the potential for fraud involving accidents. Notify your insurance agent for suspected fraud.
- When witnesses suddenly appear immediately following an accident, pay attention to their behavior, and interactions with the other driver. They may or may not be part of the staging.
Avoiding a Staged Auto Accident
The best way to avoid a staged car accident is to drive cautiously. Auto insurance companies in Dallas can recommend defensive driving schools to increase your driving skills. Also, utilize these safe driving tips:
- Avoid Tailgating – Leave ample distance for braking and stopping between your vehicle and the one directly in front of you. Allow time to slow down, and stop if the unexpected occurs.
- Monitor the Road Ahead – The flow of traffic can shift quickly. Don’t just watch the vehicles directly in front of you; monitor the road and traffic ahead for changes in traffic flow, and slow down if traffic is slowing.
- Avoid Distracted Driving – Refrain from cell phone use, texting, looking at maps, or other activities while driving. If you need to tend to a crying child, check a map, read or answer a text, pull over to a safe place off the road.
- Listen to Your Instincts – If you suspect a speeding driver who is approaching the four-way stop may run it, slow down until you know they will stop. Erring on the side of caution is preferable to being involved in an accident.
Protecting Against Fraud
If you’re the victim of a staged car accident, the following actions are recommended:
- Take detailed notes, providing the approximate height and weight of the other driver and passengers, a description and prominent features such as scars, or tattoos. Record the number of passengers, their names, and driver’s license number if possible. Additional people may file claims for injuries than were in the other car. Keep a pen and paper in the vehicle for notes. This information may provide valuable information in a fraud case to the authorities, and auto insurance companies in Dallas.
- Jot down a record of the vehicle and insurance information, including the driver’s license number, vehicle registration data, tag number, car insurance information, home address, and phone number of the other driver.
- Auto insurance companies in Dallas recommend taking pictures of the damage to both vehicles with a cell phone. If they come up claiming additional damage after the accident, you have a record proving otherwise.
- Call the police and your insurance company immediately after an accident occurs. A driver who discourages you from reporting the accident may indicate a staged accident fraud. Only the police can provide an accident report for claims with auto insurance companies in Dallas.
- Keep all records, such as receipts and invoices pertaining to your medical treatments and auto repair.
- Don’t settle with cash on the scene of an accident. Scammers out for a quick buck will often offer to settle for quick cash on the scene. Refuse the offer, and contact an agent with your auto insurance companies in Dallas instead.
- If you suspect fraud, call the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s toll-free number at 1-800-835-6422. Provide the license plate number of the other vehicle, location of the accident, people involved, and why you suspect fraud, is involved.
- Consider the installation of a dash camera, the evidence can verify accidents within its range.
If you have potentially been a victim of a staged car accident, inform your insurance agent immediately. Contact the leader in auto insurance companies in Dallas today. A Box Insurance Agency insurance agent offers personalized care for your insurance needs. Protect what’s important in life, with Auto Insurance, Life Insurance, Liability Protection, Home Insurance, Small Business insurance, and all your insurance needs in Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine, and the surrounding areas.