Make Sure You’re Not Victimized In Florida By Car Insurance Scams
Whether you live in Venice or Palmetto, there’s always the possibility that while you’re on the road, you may get into a traffic accident. Fortunately, that’s what insurance is for, but that’s where things also get complicated in the state of Florida. Florida is a “no-fault” state, which in this case means that $10000 is automatically paid regardless of who is at fault when a car accident occurs.
However, scammers and fraudsters try to game the system and cheat drivers and insurance companies out of that insurance payout. Insurance fraud can cost up to a billion dollars in fake claims, and in Florida, people have to be especially careful of these scam attempts to create an accident. Here are some of the ways that unscrupulous people on the road try to trap Florida drivers into scam accidents.
This is, unfortunately, a relatively easy accident to stage for patient people. Scammers cruise the road, keeping an eye out for distracted drivers. For example, if someone is looking at their phone and it appears they will be consulting their phone for quite some time, the scammer will deliberately move their car in front, and then suddenly stop when the driver isn’t paying attention, and then claim that they were at fault for distracted driving.
Drivers in this situation, especially if they know they had their phone out at the time, will tend not to challenge this assertion and go along with the insurance payout process.
Perhaps one of the most common scams, and to some, it isn’t even considered a problematic act. In some cases, drivers will exaggerate the damage to a vehicle to secure more money than is necessary to conduct repairs. In Florida, this scam has even been organized at the business level.
Some car windshield replacement contractors, for example, have been known to file higher claims for windshield damage than has occurred. This often happens without the knowledge of the accident victim, who the repair facility tells that the cost to fix the windshield is only a few hundred dollars, which is the truth, while the claim the repair facility filed with insurance is that the windshield damage will cost thousands of dollars to repair.
Insurance Agent Fraud
In some cases, the fraud for insurance comes not from other drivers or scam repair facilities but from the person you’re supposed to trust, the insurance agent. Under normal circumstances, people will work with insurance agents who are licensed and have a track record of ethical business practice, but some insurance agents will abuse this trust or may not even have much in the way of credentials, but they can easily earn people’s trust with charisma.
One of the worst scams such people can achieve is fooling someone into having insurance they don’t have. People pay their premiums, but the scammer is collecting the payments, not the insurance company. When an accident occurs, the victims find they have no insurance at all.
However, a more common, less dangerous tactic is “sliding,” which means sneaking in some additional policy conditions that the user is unaware of and “skimming off the top” of those monthly payments from those extra conditions. In this case, the insurance is legitimate, but the additional costs are unnecessary and go to the scammer agent instead.
A final scam is the tow truck scam, where a towing service arrives at the scene of an accident and makes off with the vehicles. Some drivers assume that someone else called the towing service, or perhaps even their insurance company did. However, these are “bandit towers,” and they’ll hold a vehicle “hostage” until additional costs are paid to release them.