5 Examples of Auto Insurance Fraud

And tips to help you protect yourself.

5 Examples of Auto Insurance Fraud iStock

Auto insurance fraud adds billions of dollars to insurance claims—costs that are ultimately passed along to consumers. Here are a few common schemes, and advice to help you avoid becoming an insurance fraud victim.

staged crash

Insurance fraud scenario: A car suddenly swoops into your lane one car ahead of you, causing the car in front of you to brake abruptly, which causes you to rear-end it. The car that jumped into the lane drives away, and the occupants of the rear-ended car all claim to have injuries. This type of staged crash is perpetrated by the car in front of you and the car that jumps in front of them—and can even include a third car, to box you in so you can’t change lanes to avoid the crash.

The advice: Avoid tailgating in case the car in front of you stops suddenly. If you’re in a crash, don’t admit fault, call 911, and make sure to get a copy of the official police report, even if the damage is minimal. It’s also wise to take photos of the crash.


counterfeit parts

Insurance fraud scenario: The damage to your car from a crash may be real, but are the replacement parts? Counterfeit and inferior parts put your safety at risk and cost your insurance company money, which can lead to higher premiums for everyone.

The advice: Use a repair shop you trust. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities are regularly inspected by AAA to meet stringent standards, and they employ ASE-certified technicians to fix your car correctly the first time. The work also comes with a warranty.

bogus referrals

Insurance fraud scenario: A stranger approaches you at the scene of a crash you’re involved in, or phones you afterward, and pressures you to get your car repaired at a specific body shop. They may also try to direct you to specific doctors and attorneys—all in an effort to use you to file a bogus insurance claim.

The advice: When you’ve been in a crash, work with people and companies you know and trust. One of your first calls should be to your insurance company, which can refer you to a repair shop.

windshield con

Insurance fraud scenario: “See that damage to your windshield?” is a question you might be asked at a car wash or in a parking lot—even if the damage is a tiny chip. The fraudster may bill for services and never do any work, or replace a windshield that doesn’t need replacing.

The advice: Say no to unsolicited repairs. If you do have a windshield chip and want it fixed, call your insurance carrier to help you find a reputable auto glass-repair service.

shop fraud

Insurance fraud scenario: What you don’t know could hurt you. Unless you’re a mechanic and able to properly inspect repairs yourself, how do you know if they’re done right—or done at all?

The advice: AAA randomly inspects repairs associated with insurance claims filed with AAA insurers. If the repairs do not meet specifications, AAA will require the shop to do the work correctly or reimburse AAA, which then pays to get the vehicle properly repaired.

Coverage is subject to all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations. Discounts and savings opportunities subject to eligibility requirements. Subject to underwriting requirements. Insurance underwritten by one of the following companies: Auto Club Insurance Association, MemberSelect Insurance Company, Auto Club Group Insurance Company, Auto Club Property-Casualty Insurance Company, Auto Club South Insurance Company, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida, or nonaffiliated insurance companies.

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