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Published On: Wed, Apr 25th, 2018

Are You Contributing to Insurance Fraud Without Realizing It?

Insurance fraud is a serious problem that is costing drivers higher premiums. It can range from seriously pre-planned scams, like staged accidents, to crimes of opportunity, like mechanics overcharging for services after a collision. It can even include something seemingly harmless, like embellishing an injury for a higher insurance payout. So, how could you be contributing to the problem?

photo supplied, courtesy of guest blogging network

You haven’t updated your insurance provider on life changes that affect your policy

There’s a lot going on in your life, so calling your car insurance provider to let them know you’ve changed addresses isn’t high on your priority list. But failing to report changes in your life that affect your car insurance policy could be considered presenting misleading information – and that counts as insurance fraud. Some common things that your insurance provider expects you to tell them include: moving addresses; changing where your car is regularly garaged or stored; allowing someone else to regularly drive or access your vehicle; and using your car in the operation of your business. Failing to disclose important information could void your policy, so it’s in your best interest to advise your insurer of any major life changes.

You signed a blank work order from your mechanic

A recent investigation by one Canadian insurer uncovered the startling fact that 9 out of ten mechanics committed fraud when working on cars that had been damaged in accidents. The offences ranged from billing for services that didn’t happen, to causing (and charging for) further damage to the vehicles. While you might not condone this bad behaviour, you could unintentionally help your mechanic get away with fraud by signing a blank work order – which would allow the shop to make and charge for any repairs they say are necessary – even if you and your insurer disagree. Instead, if your car was damaged in a collision, make sure you receive a detailed estimate of the required repairs, and have your insurer sign off on the work. If the mechanic finds additional repairs that need to be done while they are servicing your car, ask for a detailed explanation and consult with your insurer before green-lighting the new services. Finally, ask for a detailed repair bill, and make sure you received all the labour and parts that were billed.

You suspect fraud but don’t report it

By not reporting suspected instances of fraud, you’re enabling criminals to break the law, and it costs regular drivers like you. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario encourages Canadians to reject and report any instances of suspected fraud, which could include: participating in staged collisions; falsely reporting a loss; including previously existing damage to a vehicle when submitting a new claim; receiving payments for unnecessary or fake health treatments; and presenting false and misleading information. If someone suggests that you engage in fraudulent behaviour – like a medical professional offering to provide unnecessary treatment – you can report it to your insurer, the police, or the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Author: Jacob Maslow

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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