It’s a sad fact of life, but there’s a lot of fraud out there. In terms of insurance, it covers everything from lying about your driving record to earning a discount right up to faking medical reports to claim for injuries received in an accident. Why should we care? Well, the estimates of the insurance industry’s annual loss vary between $85 and $120 billion, and the amount involved is growing by about 10% each year. Since this money is paid out by the companies that insure us, we pay for all this fraud through the premiums. If there was less fraud, the premiums would fall.
You will be pleased to know there are FBI and local task forces in every state. Their job is both to respond to specific complaints from insurance companies and to run sting operations to catch the attorneys, doctors, and other key players who help ordinary citizens make false claims. For example, one team staged an accident involving a bus and was surprised by how many pedestrians spontaneously ran onto the bus and claimed injury. It seems large numbers of people seize the opportunity for fraud with both hands. Despite underfunding, police agencies do investigate alleged fraud. It’s therefore uneconomic to risk dishonesty when claiming the discount available as a safe driver. The rewards are less than the risk of prosecution.
The Insurance Industry
How do you prove you are safe? Obviously, the first fact is your claims record. This brings us to the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). This service is run by LexisNexis for the benefit of the insurance industry. All the insurance companies licensed to sell policies in the US send details of the claims they receive. CLUE stores this information for up to seven years. It identifies each claimant by name, date of birth, and the number on the policy held.
As to the claims, it reports all available information about the vehicle(s) involved in the accident, the types of injury or damage, and how much was paid (anything). This information is available to the insurance industry in real-time. So, when you complete the questionnaire on this and every other site giving you a quotation service, CLUE verifies your name, age, and address, and confirms your claims record over the last seven years. If it’s a good record, the insurers want your business and offer you a discount.
The second element proving you are safe is whether you have a “criminal record”. If you pick up a speeding ticket, it might only cost you $75 in a fine, but it can cost you thousands of dollars in increased premiums if your insurer believes you are a reckless driver. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates the risk of an accident within three years is 50% higher for drivers with a speeding ticket. As a result, premiums can double or triple, particularly if you are a young male driver.
Consider fighting the ticket. If it’s dismissed or reduced to an infraction, you avoid premium hikes. The moral of this story is not to speed. You earn increasingly large discounts from the major insurers by avoiding convictions. So when you ask for auto insurance quotes through this site, it’s not in your interest to lie. Central records are quickly and easily checked. Then go back through the auto insurance quotes to see whether there are any other discounts you could qualify for.