Fraudulent motor insurance claims have increased by more than 70 per cent in the past four years. Insurance companies and fraud experts say that the credit crunch has forced families struggling to meet their hire purchase payments to take desperate measures. It is estimated that fraudsters are submitting dishonest motor claims of £5million a week.
The credit crunch is affecting the whole nation – low income families in particular who have genuine financial problems will go to the extreme lengths such as making fraudulent motor claims.
One man who claimed his car had been stolen admitted that he had pushed it over a cliff after a local newspaper had carried a picture of his wrecked car three days before the alleged theft. He said he needed the insurance money to pay HP debts.
In another example given by the ABI, the owner of a Rolls Royce claimed £10,000 for the alleged theft of the front grill, hubcaps, steering wheel, seats and mascot on the bonnet. He was convicted after the items were found in his house.
In another case, a woman claimed her foot slipped off the brake of a Land Rover and the vehicle was damaged when it hit the front of a house. The insurer found the damage was caused deliberately after the woman had an argument with her partner.
In some cases drivers brake sharply in front of innocent motorists and then make large claims for the damage.
Fraudulent claims led to honest motorists having to pay an extra £40 a year on average on their premiums. Insurers report that anyone committing insurance fraud is more likely to get caught, risk a criminal record and future insurance will be harder to obtain and also expensive.