What is crash for cash?

In Crash for Cash scams, fraudsters deliberately crash into the vehicles of innocent motorists or submit false claims for accidents. The intention is to make as much money as possible from the exaggerated claim, with proceeds used to fund other accidents or even more serious crimes. The scam goes well beyond the initial car accident, with Car Insurance fraud adding £50 to the annual insurance bill for every UK policyholder. More importantly, it is also puts motorists’ lives in danger.

Crash for Cash Scenarios

Crash for Cash comes in three scenarios:

  1. A Staged Accident is where fraudsters crash two of their own vehicles together, or use a sledgehammer to imitate the effects of a crash.
  2. An Induced Accident is where a fraudster will deliberately slam on the brakes of their car to ensure the car behind crashes into them.
  3. A Ghost Accident is where a fraudster will submit false claims for accidents that didn’t even happen.

Crash for Cash what to do

  • Stay alert. Be aware of your own driving and motorists around you.
  • Warning signs. Look out for cars that are travelling unusually slowly or for cars that speed up and slow down for no clear reason.
  • Driver behaviour: If you can see that a driver is paying particular attention to the vehicle behind them, this could be a warning sign they are looking to cause an accident.
  • Passenger behaviour: Similarly, if you can notice passengers paying particular attention to the vehicle behind them, this could also be a sign they are intending to cause an accident.
  • Damaged vehicles: Look out for cars that show signs of having been in accidents – especially cars with a damaged back end.
  • Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Always ensure there is a sufficient distance to brake and avoid hitting the vehicle in front.
  • Check for brake lights in other vehicles. Fraudsters often disable their brake lights to increase the chance of causing an accident.

What’s being done to tackle Crash for Cash scams?

In 2006 the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) was created to specifically tackle organised motor insurance scams. The IFB is currently helping the police and insurers to investigate 110 'crash for cash' scams throughout the UK. These insurance rip-offs represent approximately £120 million of financial exposure to insurers.

Find further information here on Car Insurance or speak to one of our RAC advisers on 0330 159 1019* to get a quote.

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