Insurance scams put Florida drivers at risk

Most drivers in Miami are doing what they can to avoid getting into a car accident every time they get in the car to go somewhere. In addition to property damage, car crashes can result in serious injuries to one’s body such as spinal or brain injuries. Unfortunately there are a small number of drivers in South Florida who are more concerned with money than safety. These people are being sought for committing insurance fraud.

While the number of car accidents reported in Florida has been dropping, state insurance officials are warning drivers about a car accident scams that ultimately raise insurance rates by $50 per driver per year.

In the scam, fraudsters slam on their brakes for no apparent reason, causing a rear-end collision with the honest person who just happens to be driving behind them. The driver who gets hit pretends to be hurt and files a fraudulent personal injury protection (PIP) claim with the honest driver’s insurance company. Regardless of who is to blame for the crash, PIP insurance coves medical costs when someone is hurt in a car accident. State law requires all Florida drivers to carry PIP insurance.

In an effort to combat the practice, earlier this month Allstate Insurance, the Miami-Dade Police Department and Florida Chief Financial Officer gathered at the Miami-Dade County Public Safety Training Institute to provide demonstrations to the public of some of the tactics used such as the “panic stop.”

Officials urge Florida drivers to use a state fraud tip hotline to report suspicious incidents.

Source: SunSentinel, “Florida officials, insurers demonstrate staged car crash,” Danielle A. Alvarez and Julie Patel, Sept. 15, 2011