Sometimes a news item needs little introduction, or a cleverly worded title and sadly the crime of deliberately causing a collision to fraudulently claim for damage and injury is reported to have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

It's difficult for most of us to understand why anyone would want to put themselves, passengers and other road users at the risk of serious injury (or worse). However, this activity is, quite simply, fraud – no different to a claim being inflated or the loss never taking place at all.

As with all such activity, a significant proportion of the cost is ultimately passed back to those not breaking the rules, with fraudulent insurance claims costing hundreds of millions of pounds every year.

LV reported a significant rise in cash for crash incidents in Scotland from 2021 into 2022, also highlighting that, in a You Gov poll, almost half of Scottish residents are unaware of the scam, indicating that improved communication is necessary across the industry.

They further stated that they are investigating ten cases of organised motor fraud, totalling around £2million and identified a number of roads where fraudulent activity has taken place, including the A70, A74, A75, A76 and M74 motorway.

Looking further south, cities and towns stretching from Manchester to London have also been flagged as places where cash for crash fraud is high and the less populated areas haven't escaped either, with rural towns and villages seeing an increase, where local motorists are reported to be less prepared, particularly when using quieter roads that they know well.

What can you do prevent cash for crash?

Whilst it is difficult to predict how other road users will behave, whether they are intending to involve you in a crime or not, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of becoming an unwitting victim.

  • The camera never lies – using a dashcam is a very good start. They will show exactly what took place in the event of a RTC and are accepted in evidence by the police and legal system.
  • Safe space – leave sufficient braking space between your vehicle and other road users at all times. Remember, there's a difference between a fraudster and the innocent vehicle that you were simply driving too close behind!
  • Stay alert – be aware of the way other road users behave. If a vehicle has ineffective or inoperative brake lights, this can be a sign that something isn't right. Watch out for other drivers making space for you too – they may be setting you up for a collision (remember that flashing your headlights at another road user is to alert them of your presence, not to  indicate that they have right of way).
  • If you do have a collision, watch out for the behaviour of the other driver(s) involved. Do they seem unbothered by the incident? Do they appear to be faking or exaggerating an injury? Are they insisting that you admit fault at the scene?
  • If you are involved in a RTC, never admit fault – ensure that you and your passengers are all safe, exchange details and await recovery or the attendance of emergency services in a safe place if necessary; who is at fault is a matter for the relevant insurers to discuss.

It's fair to say that cash for crash is a crime that is difficult to predict or prevent completely. You can certainly implement the measures above to keep safe and we think you'd agree that they're the right way to behave when driving in any event.

If you think that you may have been the victim of a cash for crash incident, then speak to the police and your insurer immediately and, if you need further advice, then please talk to us today.