Accidents always happen during the most stressful parts of our life. They happen when we’re overwhelmed at work and can’t afford to take time off to deal with injuries, or when we want to go on that big European vacation, but then the accident derails those plans. Having a car that has internal and external damage can be distressing. It’s important to take a step back from your situation and avoid auto body and collision insurance scams.
Insurance scams can be as varied as the minds of the tricksters who practice them. If you’re aware, you can avoid being a victim, and having to pay more than you have to.
While many people don’t willingly participate in an accident, there are those fraudsters who will set up an accident. Their car may already be damaged, and they’re hoping for a free repair. Or, they may wish to benefit financially, hoping that you’ll agree to settle away from the insurance company and write them a big check.
They may suggest that you pay for the damage on their vehicle because the insurance company would probably rule in their favor anyway, or decide there is no-fault. This could result in both of your insurance premiums going exceptionally high the following year.
They may also threaten that your driving record could be affected, if you report the accident. Or, if you don’t agree to their terms, that they’ll call the police and lie about how the accident happened.
So, what do you do if you’re starting to believe that you may be party to an insurance scam? After an accident, you must check yourself first. Ensure that you have no injuries. After that, check your passengers, and see how the other driver is doing. If in doubt, call 911 for an ambulance.
Other situations where you may need to call the police are if it appears that one of the vehicles has been totalled. This is a more serious accident where there could be potentially hidden injuries in the occupants of the vehicles. It’s best to let the professionals decide if you are fit to return home or not.
If at any point the other driver is hostile, you may also need to call the police. In fact, ask them to please calm down. Try not to be hostile yourself. Give each other a few minutes to calm down.
If the other driver starts making outrageous claims, it’s best to exchange information, as well as to take photographs and video of their vehicle. Be sure to call in the accident to the insurance company as quickly as possible, and send in all documentation. The insurance company will be comparing what they say with what you say.
If you have everything fully documented, the claim may go in your favor. Remember that if the accident is your fault, but they make a false claim, the insurance may rule in your favor, as they may have intentionally set up the accident. It’s best to be as honest as possible, and let the authorities handle any disputes.