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Car insurance fraud on the rise in Singapore. 4 tips to keep you safe.
If you’ve skimmed through a newspaper in Singapore lately, you may have noticed a significant increase in reporting about car insurance fraud on the Little Red Dot.
“The number of reported cases of car insurance frauds in the first 9 months of 2017 stands at 26, which is already double the total number of cases reported in 2016.” valuepenguin.com
What should you look out for?
Many recent cases of car insurance fraud are being initiated by large-scale syndicates.
According to the Singapore Law Watch, these cases are investigated by Singapore Police’s 12-member strong Insurance and Specialised Fraud Branch.
The team has busted at least five major syndicates over the past six years.
Typically, CAD officers uncover sophisticated operations, sometimes with over 100 people acting as recruiters, vehicle suppliers, drivers and fake passengers. These groups rely on making sure that their victims become the party at fault in a carefully staged accident; responsible for footing the bill for any repairs and medical treatment that result from the accident. A popular scam involves staging an accident, then forcing victims to claim on their car insurance, often under the pretense of car repair or personal injury fees.
Scam accident leads to arrest
A recent investigation led to the conviction of a former dispatch rider. The man was sentenced to six years and two months in March 2016, after having been accused of helping to stage 21 car accidents. The fraudulent insurance claims involved in this case were worth up to SGD 1.1 million.
The unwitting targets of these scam accidents may feel helpless to do anything other than comply. Victims may also be lulled into thinking that their insurance company will pay out and this will limit their financial loss. But, making a claim under these circumstances may lead to an increase in your car insurance premium and can affect your No Claims Discount (NCD). Depending on the type of accident and the terms of your policy, you can also be responsible for a hefty excess payment.
4 ways to protect yourself
The Claims team at Budget Direct Insurance offers expert advice on steps you can take to protect yourself from car insurance fraud.
1. Install a dashboard camera
In a staged accident, a group of people will accuse the target of having caused a collision. Scammers can take advantage of the stress and confusion surrounding events, applying significant pressure to make the victim comply to their demands.
As with any accident, it is important to keep a cool head. If you can, take photos of the scene and make every effort to record the facts of the event.
It’s a good idea to install a dashboard camera, as this can provide you with a real-time video recording of the accident as it happens. This could be invaluable in helping you to prove your case - either to an insurer, the police or other legal authorities. It could also help you claim for the accident from the other party's insurance company, this would help keep your insurance premium from rising as a result of a claim.
In any road accident you should record the following details:
Location of the accident scene - street signs, road markings plus the surface of the road. Time, date and weather conditions.
Vehicles involved in the accident - make, model, registration, condition and colour. Estimated speed and direction the vehicle was travelling.
Names and phone numbers of other drivers. Take a photo of their IC and a quick photo of the driver if you can.
Damage to vehicles, including your own and any damage to other’s property however small.
If anyone suffers an injury, no matter how small, you are required to report the matter to the police as soon as possible, within 24 hours of the accident.
2. Report the accident as soon as possible
Before you call anyone else, report the accident to the police and your insurer. This way you are more likely to be able to control the flow of information; ensuring that the details of the accident are recorded in a fair and timely manner.
Even if you think you may have caused the accident, you have nothing to lose by reporting it. If this turns out to be the case, your insurance premium would rise anyway.
If you have car insurance with Budget Direct Insurance, when trouble strikes, no matter who is at fault, our knowledgeable claims team is here to help you get life back to normal, as quickly as possible. We will work with you to help you minimise any potential loss.
Need to make a Car insurance claim? Find out how.
3. Always use your insurer’s authorised workshop
You should never use the towing service or workshop that is being recommended by people you do not know, especially just after an accident. Scammers have been known to lure their targets to use tow-trucks or repair workshops that may overcharge you and pay the scammer a referral fee.
At Budget Direct Insurance, we shortlist our authorised workshops based on their workmanship - such as tools, computer system and essential equipment available - to ensure that these workshops can deliver a prompt and reliable service to our customers.
Secondly, repairs done at all our authorised workshop are guaranteed for 12 months. This guarantee applies to all affected/changed parts related to the accident repair.
Last but not least, to give our customers better choice and convenience, we select authorised workshops that are strategically located all over Singapore.
You can find more about authorised workshops, and their locations here.
Want to use your own workshop? Can.
Simply select the "Any Workshop" option when you get a quote with us, then you can have your car repaired at any workshop of your choice.
With this option, you can report your accident at one of our authorised workshops or accident reporting centres before repairing your vehicle at your own preferred garage.
4. Car insurance fraud hotline
In respose to increasing concerns, The General Insurance Association (GIA) has launched a hotline:
Call 1800–44–37283 or GI-FRAUD
You can report cases for investigation using this helpline. Also, if you are reading this and think you are paying a higher car insurance premium because of a scam accident, call the hotline and, also, let your insurance company know. Together, we can fight the fraud!
For more answers to your insurance questions, - PLUS motoring analysis, news and tips, look out for regular posts in this series.
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