Car Insurance Fraud

Car Insurance Fraud

It never feels good to fall victim to a scam or pay more for a product because of it. That’s what it is like with car insurance fraud.

Car insurance fraud happens when someone lies to get a better rate or a larger payout. It could be intentional or accidental, but either way it can cost you money in premiums. The FBI estimates that car insurance fraud costs the average family an additional $400 to $700 every year. In addition, nearly 7 in 10 consumers are tricked into illegal schemes, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. Here’s what you need to know about car insurance fraud, including some clever scams that could catch you unaware.

What are the types of fraud?

Staged Accidents

In staged accidents, dishonest people intentionally cause a collision with an unsuspecting driver. Then they misrepresent the situation, putting the other driver at fault—and thus get a payout that they don’t deserve. Common scenarios for staged accidents include:

          • Two vehicles trap your car and force you into a rear end collision.
          • Someone waves you on that it is safe to pull out, and then another car collides with you.
          • You are tricked into turning early and the oncoming driver moves forward and collides with you.
          • Another car purposefully sideswipes your vehicle in a dual left turn intersection.
          • A car deliberately and abruptly brakes in front of you.

Injury Fraud

Dishonest people can file claims for unnecessary medical treatments or for treatments that they did not receive. Injury fraud also includes claims where people exaggerate the extent of their injury to get a bigger payout.

Exaggerated Claims

Sometimes after an accident, a dishonest person can cause additional damage to their vehicle to receive a bigger payout. That’s why taking photos of the damage is so important to do at the scene of the accident. Another exaggerated claim could be to file multiple claims for the same accident. Finally, disreputable shops can charge for repairs that weren’t made or for substandard work.

Counterfeit Airbags

If you have your airbag replaced by a dishonest shop, you might be charged for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) bag but get a counterfeit one installed. In a worst-case scenario, a disreputable shop could install a garbage bag stuffed with rags. Counterfeit bags are dangerous and may not protect you in the event of an accident. The good news is that it’s easy to check. With an airbag, the light on your dashboard will flash when you start the car. You can also ask an authorized dealer to check that you have a quality airbag.

Windshield Replacement Scams

There are a variety of different scams associated with windshield replacement. Here are some of the most popular.

          • A stranger approaches you in a parking lot and offers a free windshield replacement. They point out nonexistent damage that can be fixed. They take your insurance information and file an exaggerated or false claim.
          • Windshield scam artists also could go door-to-door or call you with a “special” for customers in your area. Then they follow a similar process of filing a false claim.
          • If you live in one of the states that has no deductible for windshield replacement, con artists can file a claim for your windshield and charge you for the deductible.

Tow Truck Scams

Tow trucks that appear right after your accident could be “bandits” who will only tow your vehicle to their shop and charge you hundreds to repair and release it. Calling your own tow truck will help you to avoid this scam.

False Reports of Stolen Vehicles

Reporting a vehicle that hasn’t really been stolen as stolen is illegal. So is misrepresenting the value of a stolen vehicle.

False Documentation

Intentionally providing a false address for your policy to get a better rate is a form of fraud. Understating the annual mileage, misrepresenting the use of a commercial vehicle, and failing to add a new driver also is fraud.

What are the consequences of fraud?

It depends on the seriousness of the fraud. For minor infractions, your claim can simply be denied. For more serious offenses, your policy may be canceled, you could be fined or even serve jail time. A misdemeanor for auto insurance fraud can come with a fine and probation. A felony conviction can result in significant fines and prison time.

How can you fight against fraud?

  • Carefully check your insurance application forms for mistakes.
  • If you’re in an accident, take good notes of all those involved. Take pictures at the scene. Don’t sign any documents or agree to any terms at the scene of the accident.
  • Don’t accept fault for an accident if you believe you are not at fault.
  • Be wary of individuals offering services that you didn’t request. Avoid sharing details about your auto policy with those who may be disreputable.
  • Don’t tailgate. This gives criminals a chance to take advantage.
  • If your car needs repairs or maintenance, go to a trusted professional.
  • Don’t accept a windshield replacement offer.
  • Choose OEM parts for vehicle repairs to avoid counterfeits. Before buying a used car, have a certified mechanic check that there are authentic air bags.
  • Avoid rushed decisions. If someone is pressuring you into something, that could be a red flag.

If you suspect fraud, report it to your insurer as well as to the National Insurance Crime Bureau at 800-835-6422


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Road Trip Preparation

Road Trip Preparation

May 24 is National Road Trip Day!

As May comes to a close, classes are ending, the days are getting longer, and temperatures are slowly beginning to rise. You know what else that means? Vacation. Summer is calling and many American families are planning to spend their free time on the road relaxing and enjoying the sun.

Traveling, in all forms, is at its peak in the summer months.  Road tripping and RV-ing are currently on the rise, so much so that Fox News reports that 73% of Americans would rather road trip than fly. Aside from all of the scenic views that are available when traveling by vehicle, travelers feel a sense of freedom by land, with the knowledge that they can stop or change their destination at any point in time instead of following a strict schedule like you would in an airport.

Whether your destination is the beach, the mountains, or just the open road, it is critical that your vehicle is ready to make the journey with you. So before you jam all of your luggage in the trunk, be sure to check the following in preparation for your summer road trip adventure:

  • Periodically check and test batteries for proper charging. Summer heat drains batteries faster than the cold of winter.

  • Check the air conditioning system for leaks and proper coolant.

  • Check the tires for tread and proper inflation.

  • Be sure your cooling system has the proper anti-freeze/coolant and all belts, hoses and the water pump are properly working. Never open a hot radiator cap; the liquid inside is a scalding 200 degrees or hotter.

  • Verify the viscosity of your motor oil will stand up to hot weather days, 10W-30 or 10W-40.

  • Make sure the spare tire is inflated and there is a jack and tire changing tool.

  • Test your windshield wipers and change them if they are streaking.

Consumer Reports advises that, as well as checking your vehicle before leaving for your destination, you should also travel with a basic safety kit that consists of:

  • Cell phone and spare battery
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Warning light or reflective triangles
  • Tire gauge
  • Jumper cables
  • Foam sealant for flat tires

We don’t like to think that things could go wrong on vacation, but you never know what you will run into on the open road and that is why it is important to be prepared. Here at California Casualty we proudly support our customers and want you all to have a fun and safe summer full of road trip adventures, so before you hit the road, make sure that you and your vehicle are adequately protected for the unexpected you may encounter far from home.

Current customers call a California Casualty advisor for an auto policy review at 1.800.800.9410 or visit If you are not a customer please contact us 1.866.704.8614 or visit to request a FREE Auto Insurance quote.

Where do you plan on traveling this summer? Or do you have a dream road trip destination? Comment below and give us ideas for our summer travels! And if you are wanting to hit the road, but need a little help as to where check out Fox New’s Top 15 things to do on America’s travel bucket list.


Happy Travels!

More information for this article can be found at:

Tornado Safety and Planning

As weather forecasters are predicting an active few weeks for tornado activity, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages homeowners and renters  to take appropriate steps to be prepared, which includes a review of their insurance policies and discussion of coverage options with their insurance agent or company.

“With wind speeds that can reach nearly 300 miles per hour, tornadoes can be deadly and cause severe property damage,” said Donald Griffin, vice president personal lines for PCI. “Because tornadoes can occur rapidly and with little warning, advanced preparation is very important. We encourage consumers to know the warning signals used in their community and be prepared to take cover when alerted. Maintaining an emergency storm kit with a radio, flashlight, batteries and first-aid items is the first step in preparation. Other steps include conducting tornado drills with your family and ensuring that your property is adequately insured.”

The peak of tornado season in the U.S. varies by geographic region beginning in southern states during the months of March and April. Peak tornado season for the southern plains occurs during May and June and typically takes place during June and July in the Midwest and northern plains. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center there were over 1,400 tornadoes in 2010. The highest concentrations of tornado reports were clustered in the Front Range of the Rockies, the Southeast, the Central and Northern Plains, and the Great Lakes. The largest outbreak of tornadoes for 2010 occurred on June 17th, there were at least 74 confirmed tornadoes reported across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains.

Most tornado, windstorm, hail and similar severe weather-related losses are covered by either homeowners or renters insurance policies. Tornado losses to a home are covered by the “windstorm” peril under the homeowners insurance policy. Renters insurance also provides coverage to policyholder possessions under this peril.  Protection from windstorm or hail damage for cars is covered under the “comprehensive” portion of the automobile insurance policy.

PCI pre-storm tips:
– Conduct a detailed inventory of your possessions including receipts, descriptions and photos of your home’s contents.
– Keep your insurance policy and CalCas Claims information along with other important information with you or in a secure place.
– Keep a cell phone charged and with you for emergencies.
– If you have one, keep a laptop computer close by. Most insurance companies allow claims reports to be submitted via the Internet.

If you experienced a loss from the storms:
– Immediately contact your insurance agent or company representative
– Inspect property and cars for damage
– Inventory losses and photograph damage, and save related receipts to assist with claims handling
– Secure property from further damage or theft
– Check the background and legitimacy of repair contractors. Ask your insurance company for assistance in locating a reputable contractor.

As always, we hope you never have to call to report a tornado related claim, but it pays to be prepared!

Tips for Driving in the Rain

I recently received an email from a co-worker that discussed some unique tips for safe driving in rainy weather. Spring is nearly upon us, and with it comes strong storms and heavy rains. Since we can’t always avoid getting out in the rain, I wanted to share a few interesting tips with you. If you try them out, please come back and let me know what you think!

1) If it’s raining heavily during the day, see how your vision can be improved by putting on your sunglasses. It will help cut down on the glare from the rain and “kickup” from other cars. Many people find that this is a very effective method to improve visibility in the rain.

2) Never use your cruise control in the rain. If you car begins to hydroplane while the cruise control is on, it can accelerate quickly if the tires lose contact with the road, resulting in a loss of control.

Two safety items I wasn’t aware of until today – please share them, who knows, you may save a life!

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