We All Pay for Auto Insurance Fraud

PRESS RELEASE: August 9, 2011 - According to the government of Ontario, the new Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force will be investigating the cost of auto insurance fraud, its geographic distribution, the best prevention practices in other jurisdictions and a host of other factors that will aid in the development of recommendations aimed at minimizing the level of auto insurance fraud in Ontario via preventative methods and detection programs. If fraudulent claims go down, eventually insurance rates should also start to decrease accordingly. Because a lower insurance rate is something that all consumers have an interest in pursuing, InsuranceHotline.com focuses on this objective.

Currently, the Ontario government estimates that this form of fraud is a billion dollar business in the province. Auto insurance fraud is typically categorized as either opportunistic or premeditated fraud. Some of the most common types of auto insurance fraud include:

•  Padding legitimate claims

•  Lying about the way a loss occurred

•  Staged collisions (for damages and/or injuries)

•  Including pre-existing damage when submitting a claim

•  Withholding information (accidents, driving convictions, claims, cancellations, medical history, etc.)

•  Claiming for treatments not received or delivered

Anyone caught carrying out insurance fraud will face consequences which can vary based on the type and the severity of the fraudulence. Some examples of the penalties of getting caught or of attempting to commit auto insurance fraud include:

•  Denial of the claim

•  Cancellation of the insurance policy

•  Potential of higher premiums in the future

•  Denial of coverage in the future

•  Imprisonment (Upon conviction, cases involving over $5,000 have a maximum sentence of 10 years and those under $5,000 have a maximum sentence of 2 years)

"While it’s unlikely that forgetting to mention a minor traffic violation when signing up with a new insurance provider will result in the cancellation of your policy, it is important for consumers to be mindful of types of fraud and the potential consequences because insurance fraud is a serious matter." says Tammy Ezer of InsuranceHotline.com ."We all pay for insurance fraud in the form of higher premiums so it’s in everyone’s best interest to be aware and to be honest when providing information for insurance quoting or claiming."

Everyone can play an important role in fighting auto insurance fraud. Some of the best ways to combat this type of fraud include:

•  Knowing the details of any policy as it includes details about coverage, rights and responsibilities

•  Reporting all accidents and losses

•  Checking the details of any insurance application or any claims forms to ensure accuracy

•  Denying requests to sign blank insurance claims form

•  Demanding details regarding repairs and medical treatments and reviewing them for accuracy

•  Keeping detailed records of any accidents (name, address, phone number, license plate and insurance information of all parties involved)

Insurance rates are impacted by fraudulent claims and each company’s experience in this area will differ. It is important for consumers to check for potential savings annually whenever their policy is up for renewal. The company that had the best rate for a consumer's car and driving profile last year may not be the one that can offer the best rate today or even next year. Consumers should shop around to see if they could be saving money on their car insurance.