One of the reasons insurance for commercial vehicles is so expensive is because there are those that abuse the system, ultimately pushing up premiums. For example, some people falsely claim that they are suffering from whiplash in order to receive compensation, which had led to insurance providers increasing their premiums in order to cover their losses. There are also individuals who purposely get into accidents with other drivers in order to claim monetary compensation, otherwise known as ‘cash for crash’ schemes.
Unfortunately, van drivers are particularly targeted by those that take part in cash for crash schemes as it is claimed that they are often too busy to challenge the claims even if they think they are fraudulent. Last year, around a third of deliberate accidents involved small commercial vehicles such as vans, and this is no coincidence. It is believed that the amount of vans involved in cash for crash accidents is on the rise as criminal gangs are targeting vulnerable tradesmen who are travelling to and from jobs. Discussing the issue, Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at the anti-fraud specialists APU, said: “This is yet another example of how criminal fraud gangs are becoming more sophisticated. They are thinking quite hard about exactly who they target on the roads and it’s based on solid logic.”
Last year, Crimestoppers revealed that Birmingham and Bradford are the two worst places in the UK for cash for crash schemes, where local councils and insurance providers have wasted thousands of pounds fighting fraudulent cases. In general, if a vehicle hits the back of another vehicle it is the car behind that is automatically determined to be at fault, which is why criminals have started to purposely slam on their breaks in front of vehicles and then claim that it was the other drivers fault for hitting them. There have also been claims that some criminals have been cutting their brake lights so that those behind them are more likely to drive into them.
Neil Thomas went on to say: “Britain’s LCV drivers are a hard-working lot and are very often pushed for time, so they are less likely to stand by the side of the road arguing the case about a collision. The criminals are banking on the fact that they will simply exchange insurance details and move on. It’s cynical but it works.” The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has been working on the issue of fraudulent vehicle insurance claims for a while now as they argue that last year alone these types of claims cost insurers £1.9 billion. Furthermore, they state that car and commercial van insurance policies are around ninety pounds higher than they should be in order to cover the costs of false claims.
In their report, the ABI said: “Fraudulent motor insurance claims were the most expensive and common, with the number of dishonest claims at 59,900 – up 34 per cent on 2012 – and their value at £811million, up 32 per cent.” However, it’s not just vans and cars which are involved in cash for crash schemes, as recently shown when a group of people tried to claim compensation for being involved in an accident on a bus, even though only four individuals were involved in the accident. In total, repairs to the bus and the car cost just £500, however Central Buses, the company who owned the bus involved, ended up having to pay twenty five thousand pounds in court costs fighting those who made fraudulent claims.
Eventually, Central Buses axed the bus route in Birmingham where the incident took place as they claimed that it had happened numerous times before and was costing them too much money. If criminals who take part in cash for crash schemes aren’t stopped then van drivers and insurance providers may also start to struggle over the next few years due to increasing costs. If you are involved in an accident and are unsure as to whether it was truly your fault then make sure you stop, talk to the other driver involved, and never agree to let things go and have your insurance company pay out unless you truly believe you were in the wrong.