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Car insurance - scams and myths
The Brocket Collection - famous insurance fraud
Car insurance companies invest millions trying to avoid having the wool pulled over their eyes by policy holders but that doesn't stop unscrupulous or ill-informed motorists giving it a go anyway.
According to swiftcover.com, there's a whole book of sneaky tactics that claimants will employ but the leading online insurer is confident it knows every trick in it.
As a warning to potential car insurance cheats and to set the record straight on some common misconceptions, here's the swiftcover.com rundown of the most common ways that motorists attempt to get ahead. Try them at your peril...
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1. The "Two For One" claim
The driver says: When making a claim, a driver will pass-off old damage to their vehicle as being caused by the accident they are currently claiming for. They hope to get both lots of repairs carried out, with the insurance company picking up the bill.
The reality: This, like many of the shadier practices in the list, amounts to fraud. It could land you in very hot water, with eagle-eyed insurance assessors and garages well capable of spotting old damage that was clearly not caused by the accident being claimed for.
2. The "While You're There" claim
The driver says: Some drivers will ask a garage to do them a favour by fixing old damage while the car is in the workshop having damage from a legitimate claim rectified. They'll expect the repairer to hide the cost when invoicing the insurer.
The reality: Reputable garages would never agree to this because if caught, they would lose their lucrative insurance work.
3. The "Not Actually a Claim" claim
The driver says: Drivers will sometimes claim for mechanical problems caused by general wear and tear, particularly major issues that result in expensive repair bills. All manner of mechanical problems, owner errors and maintenance issues have been known to crop up on claim forms.
The reality: Car insurance does not cover drivers against these kinds of problems. The manufacturer's warranty, if your car still has one, might.
4. The "It Must Have Been Caused by the Accident" claim
The driver says: When a car goes into a garage for insurance repairs it's not uncommon for additional faults to be uncovered. These will often be unconnected to the accident but that doesn't stop drivers demanding they are fixed as part of the insurance claim.
The reality: Just because a driver was previously unaware of the problem, that doesn't mean it was caused by the accident and if it wasn't caused by the accident, then it won't be covered by the insurance.
5. The "It Was In My Boot or Glove Box" claim
The driver says: Motorists will sometimes claim that expensive items stolen from their vehicle were safely locked up in the boot or the glove box. Insurance policies require that reasonable precautions are taken to keep belongings safe so items carelessly left on show invalidate the cover.
The reality: It's a fact that thieves usually target cars where valuable items are on clear display and insurance assessors are highly experienced at spotting when the facts of a crime do not match up with the policyholder's claim. If a rear window was broken when the driver claims the item was safely locked up in the boot, suspicions will be aroused.
6. The "Showroom Condition" myth
The driver says: Some motorists expect their cars to be returned to "showroom condition" after repairs have been completed, despite the fact their car was a long way short of pristine before the crash.
The reality: It's certainly not unusual for a car to be washed and valeted before it's returned to the owner after work has been completed but in general, a vehicle will be returned in the same overall condition it was in before the crash. Anyone expecting reupholstered seats and touch-ups to stone-chipped paintwork, is likely to be disappointed.
7. The "Free Service and MOT" claim
The driver says: It's not unheard of for drivers to ask for, or even expect, a free service as part of the repairs carried out under an insurance claim. Some even want the repairing garage to carry out their MOT at the insurance company's expense.
The reality: Unsurprisingly, any insurance claim will only cover repairs resulting from the accident in question - not general maintenance.
8. The "Main Dealer Myth" claim
The driver says: Some motorists, particularly those with new cars, insist their vehicles can only be fixed by a main dealer. They believe that if anyone else completes the work, it will invalidate the warranty and main dealers themselves often do little to set their customers straight on this.
The reality: There's no requirement to use main dealers, even if the car is under warranty. Any of the garages approved by the insurer can do the work and the standard of repair should be just as good.