Insurance Insights
Staged Auto-Accident Fraud is on the Rise

Auto Insights

Be Aware! Staged Auto-Accident Fraud is on the Rise

According to the FBI, staged auto accidents – which occur when one or more drivers maneuver an unsuspecting motorist into a vehicle crash in order to file a fraudulent insurance claim – cost the insurance industry more than $20 billion each year.

This massive cost gets passed on to drivers like you in the form of higher insurance rates. The purpose of this blog is to provide drivers with insight on the nature of staged auto accident scams and ways to avoid this highly dangerous form of fraud.

What to Look for When You’re Behind the Wheel

Staged auto accident scams come in many forms. Here are some of the more common scams to identify and avoid:

  • The “drive down” – This scam can occur when you’re attempting to merge and another driver waves you forward. Instead of letting you in, the driver will slam into your vehicle. After the incident, the driver will deny ever motioning you, claiming you merged without looking.
  • The “swoop and squat ”– This scam entails one “squat” vehicle driving beside you while another vehicle suddenly “swoops” in front of you, causing a rear-end crash. After the incident, passengers in the “swoop” vehicle will file bogus injury claims with your insurance company – with passengers in the “squat” vehicle supporting the claims.
  • The “T-bone” – This scam can happen when you’re crossing an intersection and a vehicle approaching from a side street accelerates and hits your vehicle. When the police arrive, the driver and several planted “witnesses” will claim that you ran a red light or stop sign.
  • The “panic stop” – This scam entails a driver operating a vehicle filled with other passengers and pulling out in front of you. From there, the passengers will watch you until you appear distracted, then tell the driver to slam their brakes in front of you– causing you to unsuspectingly rear-end their vehicle and leaving you responsible for the damages.
  • The “sideswipe” – This scam typically occurs at a busy intersection with dual left-turn lanes. The driver will position their vehicle across from you in the outer lane, then sideswipe your vehicle as you drift from the inner lane – making the accident look like it’s your fault.

How to Protect Yourself From Staged Auto Accidents

Defensive driving will go a long way in helping you avoid the risk of staged auto accidents. Specifically, avoid tailgating other vehicles – doing so could give drivers more opportunity to stage an accident. 

If you get in an accident, call the police immediately. Be wary of tow trucks that arrive at the scene without you requesting them, as they are likely scammers. In addition to obtaining a copy of the police report, make sure you document the accident yourself by taking photos and videos on your phone. Also, try to write down as much information as you can about the accident – such as the vehicles and drivers involved, as well as any passengers. Equally important, don’t forget to collect all involved parties’ contact and insurance information.

Following the accident, contact your insurance agent immediately to file a claim. Only consult medical, vehicle repair and legal professionals that you know and trust to assist you in navigating the accident aftermath.

Drive Smart and Stay Safe

To learn more about avoiding staged auto accident fraud and other tips to help you stay safe on the road, talk to the auto insurance experts at VTC Insurance Group. Give us a call at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.


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