Auto insurance fraud is unfortunately quite common, especially targeting those who have endured a car accident. They attempt to get victims to pay higher premiums if they acquire a costly claim. They can also put you in danger if the insurance scam curated a staged accident and can even attempt to scam you at car repair shops. Of course, driving carefully is an obvious way to avoid insurance fraud; however, insurance scams can be very sneaky and deceptive. To help you avoid fraud after a car crash, follow these steps diligently.
Gather Your Own Evidence
Insurance scams are known for exaggerating the extent of the damages on the other party’s vehicle or downplaying the damages that exist on your car. You must always contact the police immediately after a fender-bender – even a mild one – and ask for a copy of the report to keep safe. By gathering your own evidence, you can prove what happened in detail on the day of the accident. Keeping a disposable camera and a notepad and pen in your glove compartment can help you track what happened so that you have all the information necessary when filing for an insurance claim. If you are not physically capable of doing this yourself based on the state you’re in from the accident, have an onlooker gather the evidence for you, while you seek medical attention.
Beware of Fake Help
After getting into a car accident, you’ll want to be wary of who assists you during the situation. Call AAA or another reputable service if you need to get your car towed instead of the tow truck that miraculously showed up. Moreover, resist following up with a recommended attorney or insurance company from a convincing bystander who quickly came to your aid. Instead, contact your own insurance company and alert the police officer that arrived, if you feel that you are targeted by insurance frauds.
Consult a Lawyer
The larger the city, the higher the chances you’ll be exposed to heavy traffic. Crowded roads can lead to dangerous driving which is why many vehicle owners fall victim to insurance scams. Auto insurance fraud is common due to the many possibilities of car accidents occurring. To avoid getting scammed, you’ll need to hire an attorney to ensure you’re protected. For instance, if you live in New York, you’ll want an attorney who is familiar with how to verify a legitimate insurance company and knows the several factors that contribute to the dangerous driving conditions in New York that insurance scams take advantage of. If you are involved in a car accident, it’s best to consult a car accident lawyer based in your area. This goes to both parties who may be at fault and those who think they’re eligible for compensation.
Check an Insurance Company’s Validity
Auto insurance companies that are valid will have proper state licensing, claims, and complaints. You can verify an insurance company by going on your state’s Department of Insurance’s website. If the company is legitimate, you will find out how long they’ve been in business. Moreover, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) will have any complaints a particular company has received and its history of payment claims. You’ll also learn whether customers had a satisfactory experience with this particular company’s communication and service.
Ask About the Filing Claims’ Process
If you suspect insurance fraud, ask the company in question what their filing claims process entails. Ask them what steps are taken to resolve claims, how they manage it, and how they settle the claim or come to a compensation award. Notify your lawyer of the company’s process to ensure your protection.
Consider Independent Agents
Independent insurance agents have plenty of experience with various insurance carriers, so they’ll provide substantial insight into how to avoid insurance fraud. Captive agents work for a specific company and therefore, will only offer the company’s perspective, whether or not it’s a reputable company. By reaching out to an independent agent, you can get a clear view of a company’s trustworthiness to support your decision-making process and avoid getting scammed. In any case, always have your attorney help you do your due diligence to find a policy that suits your requirements before accepting any offer.
After a car accident, it is normal to feel shaken up even if you have little to no injuries. This can make you easily susceptible to insurance scams as frauds target the vulnerable. By following the above tips you can avoid illegitimate insurance companies as well as insurance frauds who attend to you during the accident. Be mindful of who you talk to and only discuss your situation with the police and your lawyer.