6 Craziest Auto Insurance Claims Ever

Craziest Auto Insurance ClaimsAuto insurance rates for some consumers can be difficult to afford. As a result, a small portion of the population goes to extremes to make coverage more affordable. While some look for ways to lower their monthly costs, others take the opposite route of bringing in income by filing insurance claims.

The insurance industry has a long history of battling individuals who file claims fraudulently in an effort to make a quick buck. Luckily, some are not quite skilled enough to get away with their wild attempts, providing us with a substantial list of some of the craziest auto insurance claims ever.

Car Insurance Fraud Thrives in the United States

Over the past few years, statistics have revealed that car insurance fraud is a common occurrence throughout the United States. Some common forms of insurance fraud include underwriting fraud, auto bodily injury claims fraud and staged accident fraud.

  • Underwriting fraud involves a person attempting to lower premiums by lying on an insurance application or renewal. The lies can include registering vehicles in neighborhoods where rates are lower, adjusting vehicle mileage, or claiming to be married when actually divorced.
  • Auto bodily injury claims fraud is the result of scammers receiving claims for unnecessary treatment from fake injuries. We’ve all seen fake injuries play out on TV shows where a person walks into a courtroom with a neck brace or fully body cast. Believe it or not, people actually attempt to pull off similar injuries in exchange for cash from the insurance company.
  • Staged accident fraud is the act of crashing a vehicle or damaging it in some other way, later filing a claim to receive a settlement payout.

Car insurance fraud of all types is so common that task forces are often created to combat the crime.

Of course, accidents do happen and sometimes people accidentally tell fibs that result in insurance fraud. But on other occasions, individuals outright lie to reduce their rates or receive a huge payout.

In Florida alone, the Insurance Research Council found that one claim in 10 made under the state’s no-fault insurance system was fraudulent, while one in three is exaggerated or over-billed.

Unfortunately, the high amounts of fraud in Florida and around the country have a huge impact on insurance premiums. For instance, according to the Insurance Information Institute, in New York, policyholders paid the equivalent of a $229 million tax on their auto insurance policies due to fraud in 2009.

Fraud not only hurts the insurance industry, but it also hurts customers, which is why it’s so important for insurers and law enforcement to stop the crime before or during the occurrence.

Crazy Auto Insurance Claims and Attempts

In a time when car insurance fraud has a negative impact on premiums, it’s interesting to hear about cases when criminals have attempted car insurance fraud but failed. Below are some crazy auto insurance claims and attempts at fraud that are sure to make you smile:

1. The Not-So-Bright Cop

Marvin Johnson, a police officer in Rosedale, Miss. decided he wanted to receive a nice insurance payout for for his Toyota Avalon, so he filed a claim for the vehicle, saying it was stolen. When authorities investigated, however, they found that the car wasn’t his thanks to his lack of knowledge about whether it had automatic or manual transmission, among other disparities. For his crime, he was sentenced to a year in jail.

2. Toy Car Revealed a Fake Claim

Another person, this time a Progressive Insurance customer, claimed that his car had been stolen. To provide proof to the insurer, he produced phony invoices and Polaroid photos of his vehicle. However, when investigators took a closer look at the photos, they realized he had taken close-up pictures of a toy car that happened to be the same color and make of his car. He may have been penalized for committing a crime, but he should have at least won an award for his creativity.

3. Cop + Fraud = Fail

A cop from the New York Police Department, Belinda Lovander, decided it would be profitable for her to take part in a huge auto insurance fraud ring involving 110 people from inside the department. She actually managed to get away with some fraudulent activity, ultimately pleading guilty to filing 22 fake accident reports. Her punishment was a sentence of two to six years in prison.

4. Girlfriends Are Good for Nothing!

A second Progressive Insurance customer attempted to file a fraudulent claim after his girlfriend crashed his motorcycle. He realized that she wasn’t listed on his policy and feared he wouldn’t get paid, so he decided to say he crashed the bike. His plan was to have his friend tie him to the back of a truck and drag him around to produce scrapes and bruises from the “accident.” Unfortunately for him, after all of his painful efforts, his girlfriend came clean to investigators.

5. Didn’t Know I Had a Camera, Did Ya?

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to file an auto insurance bodily injury claim, a guy leaps out in front of a vehicle driving down the street. One thing the man probably didn’t count on, however, is the driver having a camera mounted on the dashboard. There have been no reports of the man attempting to file a claim; he probably figures there’s just no point.

6. The Unluckiest Man Alive

Okay, this claim has nothing to do with fraud, but was so crazy that it had to be mentioned. HowStuffWorks shared the story of a man who couldn’t seem to catch a break. First, he was involved in a minor rear-end collision, smashing the taillight of the car in front of him. When he tried to reverse to look at the damage, he hit the bumper of the driver behind him. Then, as luck would have it, when he opened his door, he knocked down a passing cyclist. One can only imagine how far his rates shot up after all of these mini-accidents.

The financial impact auto insurance claims have on all who are connected to the insurance industry are serious, but as seen in the last example above, not all crazy auto insurance claims can be avoided.

(Photo: cygnus921)