How to Avoid Fraud

Auto insurance fraud is a multi-billion dollar problem where criminals may indiscriminately target unsuspecting victims on the road. Recognize the red flags that suggest fraud.

Avoiding Fraud

The old adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” applies when insurance premiums are significantly discounted below the industry average. Be aware that insurance policies can only be purchased through licensed agents or brokers or directly from the insurer. If you purchase a policy through a third party, confirm that the third party is an authorized agent or broker and is registered with the provincial regulator. 

What is a Staged or caused Collision?

A staged collision is no accident – it supports false auto insurance claims. A collision scenario can be mimicked regardless of the number of vehicles or occupants reported, the events reported, or the resulting damages and injuries.

Examples include:

  1. A collision in which all vehicle occupants are aware of the scheme – if occupants were not in the vehicle at the time of impact, they are known as jump-ins
  2. The vehicles reportedly involved never actually collided with each other – this is known as paper fraud
  3. Drivers and/or passengers of other involved vehicles are innocent and unaware – this is known as a caused collision.

Ways to Avoid a Staged Collision

  1. Drive defensively and do not tailgate. Allow enough space between you and the vehicle ahead of you; watch for hazards; look beyond the vehicles ahead of you; and adjust your driving speed to weather, road and traffic conditions.  
  2. Be cautious in accepting the right of way. 
  3. Always be aware of the position of other vehicles around you in case you are required to take evasive action. 

How to Document and Report a Collision

As soon as it is safe to do so, take photographs of the scene of the collision and make notes about:

  • The date, time and location of the collision;
  • The position of the vehicles involved in the collision relative to each other and relative to the traffic controls (e.g., stop lights, stop signs, etc.);
  • The years, makes, models, colours and licence plate numbers of all vehicles involved;
  • The names, licence numbers, addresses and phone numbers of all drivers;
  • The insurance company names and insurance policy numbers for all vehicles;
  • Specific damages to all vehicles;
  • The number of passengers in the other vehicle(s);
  • Contact information, descriptions and licence plate numbers (where applicable) for all witnesses and passengers;
  • Whether occupants from other vehicles suddenly act injured when the police or other emergency response staff arrive;
  • ​If police attend the scene – record the officer's name and obtain a copy of the collision report if one is made, even if the damage is minor;

If you self-report a collision, include as much information – such as comments on any photos taken – as possible. Notify your insurance representative as soon as possible with all available information. If you witness a collision, get involved by watching for the warning signs of a scam and assist victims with collecting details. 

If you suspect an insurance crime, make an anonymous call 24/7 to 1-877-422-TIPS (8477) or submit report the crime using Équité Association's online tip form. Give the collision location, the licence plate number(s) of the vehicle(s) involved, the names of people involved, the reason why you think the collision is suspicious and as many other details as possible.

5 Tips for Avoiding Fraud after a Collision

  1. Contact your insurance company if a stranger tries to steer you to an unknown body shop, doctor, chiropractor or legal representative. 
  2. See only medical and legal professionals you know and trust, or those who are recommended by people you trust. 
    a. Contact medical and legal licensing regulators in your province to ensure that your service provider is licensed and that no complaints have been lodged against that provider. 
    b. Know what your medical benefits are, i.e., what is covered and what is not.
    c. Keep detailed records of your medical appointments including dates, locations, names of people who provided treatments, diagnoses and services, as well as records of the medicine, supplies or equipment provided.
  3. Be involved in your claim. Compare your records against the statements you receive from your insurance company to make sure the bills are accurate and that they don't include goods or services you didn't receive. 
  4. Never sign any blank insurance claim forms.
  5. Know what your full and final settlement includes.