What is crash for cash?
Crash for cash is the term given to staged car accidents. They are typically run by fraudsters with the aim of profiteering from fraudulent insurance claims.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) highlight three different types of crash for cash scam
- Staged accidents
- Induced accidents
- Ghost accidents
What is a staged accident?
This involves fraudsters crashing their vehicles together, or creating damage to their vehicle which mimics a genuine crash
What is an induced accident?
An innocent motorist is targeted by a fraudster to become the ‘at fault’ party in an insurance claim. Fraudsters can use a variety of techniques to induce an accident such as slamming their brakes on unexpectedly to get the car behind to crash into them.
What is a ghost accident?
A fraudster will submit an entirely untrue insurance claim for an accident which never happened
Whilst the video itself is from 2012, this video from the Insurance Fraud Bureau highlights what an induced accident is and shows the type of driving behaviour you may encounter. And this video from Fleet News captures footage of a clear crash for cash scam.
Where are the crash for cash hotspots around the UK?
Whilst you could fall victim to a crash for cash scheme anywhere in the UK, according to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, (IFB) there are several areas which are most affected, making them crash for cash hotspots such as Birmingham and Bradford.
In fact, the IFB have put together a list of the top 30 high risk postcodes for crash for cash schemes in 2021.
The top 10 crash for cash hotspots in the UK currently are:
- Birmingham – B25
- Birmingham – B34
- Birmingham- B8
- Bradford – BD7
- Bradford – BD3
- Walsall – WS1
- Blackburn – BB9
- Bradford – BD8
- Birmingham – B27
- Romford – RM18
If you live in, drive through, or have your business located in any of the 30 areas highlighted as crash for cash hotspots then be extra cautious and lookout for unusual, suspicious, or erratic driving behaviour.
How to protect yourself and your drivers from crash for cash schemes
Crash for cash scammers will look to target victims who they think are most likely to be insured, those who look more vulnerable or won’t want to cause any trouble.
There is also some evidence that suggests fleet drivers are often targeted as part of crash for cash scams as they know the vehicle is highly likely to be fully insured and that the driver may ask less questions at the scene as they do not own the vehicle.
To protect yourself from these scams, consider the following
- Maintain a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead. This can help if they do slam their brakes on suddenly and prevent you going into the back of them. If you do suspect suspicious driving behaviour, then stay back
- Drive safely and in accordance with the highway code. Any of your professional drivers should be refreshed on road safety on a regular basis
- Educate your fleet drivers on crash for cash schemes – how they work, driving behaviour to look out for and how to respond if they think they are a victim of a crash for cash scam
- Be alert for unusual driving behaviour. Once you understand how crash for cash schemes work you can be more alert to the types of driving behaviour which may indicate a scam.
- Only pull out of side roads when it is safe – not simply because another driver is encouraging you too
And if you do believe that you have been the victim of a crash for cash scheme then:
- Gather as much information about the other driver as possible (but remain safe), passengers and how the accident happened
- Look out for witnesses, CCTV or dashcam footage which can support your version of events
- Take photos of the scene of the accident, damage to your vehicle and damage to the other vehicle
- Always swap insurance details with the third party
- Alert your insurer to your suspicions and contact the police
- Report to the IFB Cheatline on 0800 422 0421 or via their online form. It is free, anonymous, and confidential
Anthony Jones has over 30 years’ experience in the commercial vehicle and haulage sector and has built up significant expertise over this time. We also work in partnership with DAC Beachcroft, legal specialists in the motor sector, who can provide support in the event of a road traffic accident. Get in touch with us today to discuss your commercial motor insurance needs on 020 8290 9099 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.