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Smashed headlight on blue car

Drivers are happy to ‘crash for cash’

Adam Aiken, Editor
Sunday, July 17, 2011
11.43 AM

Recession-hit drivers are resorting to dangerous measures to make extra cash, with a growing number admitting to successfully staging or inventing car accidents to claim on their insurance policies.

Research by price-comparison site Moneysupermarket suggests that as many as 1.3 million motorists – or 4pc of all drivers on the UK’s roads – would consider deliberately causing or inventing accidents in order to claim on their insurance, and half of those people have already done so.

The insurance industry separates this type of car insurance fraud into three categories.

A “staged” accident involves two vehicles deliberately knocking into each other; a “contrived” accident involves claiming for something that never happened; and an “induced” accident involves a motorist deliberately forcing an innocent driver into a crash.

“We have all been affected by the recession in one way or another, but crashing for cash is not only illegal but wilfully endangers the lives of others,” said Moneysupermarket car insurance expert Peter Harrison.

“According to the Association of British Insurers, more than 2,000 dishonest insurance claims worth more than £16m were detected every week in 2009.

“Our research reveals there are many more motorists causing this type of fraud and getting away with it.

“Organised motor fraud not only costs the insurance industry but risks the safety of innocent drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

“In addition, fraudulent claims cause insurers to increase premiums for honest motorists as they try to recuperate their losses.”