Motor insurance experts have said that undetected acts of fraud and swindles such as ‘crash for cash’ accidents have been behind the record rise in premiums being paid by honest, law-abiding motorists.
There has also been a rise in costs from personal injury claims, which has fuelled the hike in prices, yet many of these claims are exaggerated or bogus.
In the UK, the cost of comprehensive car insurance rose by more than 12 per cent between April and June 2010, with further rises forecast. Motorists will see this as another blow to their already beleaguered cash flow as the British government plans to increase tax on insurance premiums. Even the cheapest quotes for comprehensive cover saw an increase of 11.5 per cent to £704 during April and June, compared with the previous quarter of 2010. Premiums for third party insurance also rose by almost 16 per cent to an average £1,225. This annual policy is popular with younger drivers in older, inexpensive vehicles who already struggle financially. Despite official government figures, revealing there had been a dramatic fall in the number of road accidents and vehicle crime, which fell by 16 per cent in England Wales; insurance experts warned that the statistics were failing to show an unseen increase in fraudulent scams.
One survey published in 2009, revealed that nearly one million motorists in the UK had considered staging a road collision in a bid to raise money because of the recession.
One insurance expert said, “The crime figures suggested crime levels were falling but crucially it missed a new 21st Century wave of fraud, such as providing false information and claiming for non-existent personal injuries, which just isn’t being picked up. It is now much easier to get an insurance quote online, for example, comparison sites can enable dishonest individuals to manipulate information to get a lower premium. Insurers are increasingly charging higher prices to these people to cover the increased fraud risk.”
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) claimed that the estimated cost of fraud in motor and home insurance had increased by £1.9 billion a year, which costs £44 in higher premiums for the average family.