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5/27/2011 - Types of auto insurance fraud

Officials say there are a number of signs to help consumers recognize auto insurance fraud.

Loretta Worters, vice president with the Insurance Information Institute (III), said these auto insurance fraud schemes are becoming increasingly sophisticated and motorists' finances and lives are in jeopardy if they're not aware of the signs.

"Not only do honest policyholders ultimately end up paying more for auto insurance, but those committing the fraud can cause serious injuries or death."

Using information collected by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the III has outlined some of the more common staged accident scenarios, which include the "swoop and squat," "side swipe," "panic stop," and "drive down."

The insurance organization also lists some warning signs motorists should be aware of, whom to contact when fraud is suspected, and to take notes when an accident occurs. Authorities may find them useful if an investigation is warranted.

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud and the Insurance Research Council (IRC), staged accidents and embellished claims have been on the rise since the economy showed signs of weakening in 2007. In that year alone, the IRC says auto insurance fraud added between $4.8 billion and $6.8 billion to auto claim payments.

For more tips on how to spot and stop fraud, click here.

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