Fleet insurance fraud is growing at a steady rate, and staged auto accidents are a primary example. These common scams are designed to rip you and your insurer off for paid settlements which in turn send your insurance premiums skyrocketing. Not only are the payouts from fleet accidents more lucrative, but the scams themselves are incredibly dangerous. Trying to fake a minor fender bender could easily spiral out of control and result in actual injuries or even death.
In this article we will break down the different types of staged auto accidents so you can learn how to spot, evade, and deal with these insurance scams when they occur.
1. The Swoop and Squat
The Swoop and Squat staged auto accident involves a team of 2 or more vehicles conspiring against you to cause a collision.
You will be driving along the road when a car (the squatter) pulls in front of you. Only a few seconds later another car (the swooper) cuts off the squatter, “forcing” them to abruptly brake in hopes you will rear-end them. (If there is a third driver involved in the plan they will try to drive alongside and box you in so you cannot swerve out of the way). The swooper will drive away unscathed, leaving you responsible for the damages caused to the squatter.
2. The Start and Stop
This type of fraud can happen when you are stuck in heavy traffic. The driver ahead of you will take off fast to make you think traffic is finally moving but then slam on the brakes so you rear-end them.
3. The Side Swipe
These types of staged auto auto accidents or car insurance fraud happen in a dual left turn and can be hard to avoid. As you are turning on the inner lane, the scammer will wait for you to veer slightly over into the outer lane. Once this happens, they will deliberately slam into your vehicle. If the scammer is desperate they may even drive INTO your lane to cause an accident that they will of course say was your fault.
4. The Wave In
This is one of the most blatantly obvious car insurance scams. The wave-in has the scammer literally “wave you in” when you are trying to switch lanes, only for them to rapidly accelerate as you are moving over and hit you from the side.
5. The T-Bone
This insurance scam – much like the Swoop and Squat – involves another accomplice, but here they will act as a “witness” to the events. The scammer will be waiting at an intersection for someone to drive by (presumably you) and t-bone into the side of your vehicle. When the authorities arrive, the two conspirators will give their testimony of events saying you ran a red light, creating a 2-against-1 case against you and your insurer.
How to Prevent Insurance Fraud
The best way to avoid insurance fraud in the first place is to exercise caution when driving. Always keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you and always look for warning signs. Tailgating another car will set up you for an accident whether it is staged or not.
If you believe you are the victim of fleet insurance fraud, do not leave the scene. Call the authorities so they can make a report of the incident and take down both parties’ testimonies. Take smartphone pics of both vehicles with good angles of the damage so they are in clear view.
Also be sure to take down other motorist’s personal information including the following:
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