Auto insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. We can all do our part to hold down costs by reporting suspected fraud and being part of the solution. Insurance fraud is a crime punishable by up to five years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
When you are involved in an automobile accident, you rely on your auto insurer to handle your claim properly, fairly, and with as little inconvenience to you as possible. As a policyholder, you can ensure the efficiency of claims processing by doing your part to assist insurers in providing accurate information when the policy is issued, and in the fact-gathering process that follows an automobile accident. If you give false information to your insurer - such as who customarily drives your car - your claim may be denied.
Buying a Policy
The single most important thing you can do to protect yourselffrom a claim denial is to check that all of the information you provide your insurance company is complete and accurate.
You must indicate where your car is garaged most of the time, regardless of your listed address. Furthermore, you must also list all the licensed drivers who are likely to operate your vehicle. This includes people who live with you (family and roommates) who do not have their own auto insurance, and also people who use your car on any kind of regular basis.
After an Accident
Three simple steps can make a real difference in collecting all of the relevant information in the event of an accident:
- Keep the following items in your glove compartment - a disposable camera, a first aid kit, a tape measure, and blank police reports or accident diagrams.
- Note all participants and witnesses at the scene including their name, address, contact information, and insurers regardless of whether or not anyone was injured.
- File reports with the local police and your insurer promptly after the accident.
These easy steps will allow you to make a contribution to limiting the cost of fraud to all insurers, and thereby hold down rates for all consumers. In addition, you will be far more likely to be satisfied with the handling of your claim.
If you suspect fraudulent conduct on the part of anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident or insurance claim, please call the Insurance Fraud Bureau hotline at 1-800-32-FRAUD. Another number to remember is the Governor's Auto Theft Strike Force Hotline at 1-800-HOT-AUTO when you have information about an auto theft. You will be able to speak confidentially with an investigator about your suspicions.