Car insurance hoax

Media caption The scam relies on drivers using flashing headlights as an invitation to pull out

Motorists are being warned about a new insurance scam where criminals flash their lights to let other drivers out of a junction, then crash into them on purpose.

Anti-fraud experts are calling it "flash-for-cash".

The gangs tend to target new, smarter vehicles or vulnerable road users, including older people and women with children in the car.

The scam is costing insurers hundreds of millions of pounds every year.

It is a new tactic for an already well established crime, called "crash for cash", where criminals slam on the brakes for no reason so that the victim drives into the back of their car.

Police investigators said the criminals will often remove the bulbs in their brake lights so other road users don't know they're stopping.

However, "flash-for-cash" is more crafty, because it is harder to prove in court, often coming down to the innocent driver's word against the criminal's that they flashed their lights to let them out.

Each "accident" can net the gangs tens of thousands of pounds in a variety of ways.

Firstly, they put in false personal injury claims for whiplash, sometimes including claims for people who were not even in the car. Added to that, they might charge the insurance company for loss of earnings, then they put in fake bills for vehicle storage, recovery, repairs, and replacement car hire.

Detective Inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police is an expert at catching them out. He says this kind of crime costs the industry a fortune and, as ever, it's the honest, insurance-paying motorist who is footing the bill,

"The problem is a growing problem. Financially it costs insurers £392m a year - that impacts on motorists as it's an extra £50 to £100 on every person's premium so that's a financial cost.

"[There are] emotional costs [as] if you're involved in a crash you could well lose your confidence, and if your passengers are children they may well become wary of being passengers in cars, and of course you may get injured or killed."

This latest "flash-for-cash" warning has come from Asset Protection Unit (APU), a company which helps the police and the insurance industry investigate fraud. Neil Thomas at APU says the criminals pick on people who are not going to put up a fight,

"Perhaps single females in the car with children in the back, perhaps doing the school run. Where they know there's going to be no resistance, no real argument at the scene. The children are going to be upset".

Generally speaking, drivers are not meant to flash their lights to let people out onto busy roads. It is meant to be used as a warning.

The Highway Code says: "Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users. Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully."

However, the reality is that most people do use it as a friendly gesture, and law-abiding motorists feel it's a shame that something that is meant to be so positive, a rare show of good manners on the road, is now being abused by criminals.

The police and fraud experts believe that by raising awareness, and making people more wary, there is a good chance many drivers won't take the bait when the criminals lay a trap.

Related Posts

Car insurance in europe green card

Our overseas motor insurance policy has been designed for UK residents who travel to France, S...

Car insurance in west palm beach florida

1800 Forest Hill Bld Ste A7, West Palm Beach, FL 33406 At Insurance Solutions of ...

Car insurance instalment singapore

When buying a car in Singapore, the first thing that comes into your mind is how to calculate ...

Car insurance jaguar x type

*Annual average savings for respondents who reported savings based on an insuranceQuotes Septe...

Car insurance jerneh

ACE Jerneh Insurance Berhad (9827-A), a part of the ACE Group of Companies, one of the ...

Car insurance just past test

We think new drivers deserve to be given a chance, not priced off the road Passing yo...

Car insurance kitchener ontario

As the largest region in Ontario's Tri-City, Kitchener is a growing community located approxim...

Car insurance la crosse wisconsin

YP - The Real Yellow Pages SM - helps you find the right local businesses to meet your specifi...

Car insurance legalities

This article explains Colorado's key auto insurance laws and how those laws come into play in ...

Car insurance lexus rx 350

Finding the best deal on an insurance policy for your RX 350 will often seem like a difficult tas...

Car insurance limits deductibles

Car insurance coverage should fit your needs – and your budget To create the au...

Car insurance low mileage

What effect does your annual mileage have on your car insurance premium? Find out more about t...