While most of us know that the phrase “insurance fraud” is one that we never want our names to be associated with, some of us may not be entirely certain which behaviours constitute insurance fraud. Unfortunately for such persons, ignorance is not a strong enough excuse to grand you pardon, should you be found culpable of committing such a violation. For this reason, it is important to educate yourself about the various forms that it takes to ensure that you are blameless; you may be unpleasantly surprised to learn that a “minor” omission of relevant information, or an “innocent” exaggeration of claim details have placed you under the label of fraudulent. Since one of the most common types of insurance that is prone to fraud is auto insurance, let's take a look at some of the ways auto insurance fraud happens.
Pertaining to insurance registration
- Lying about the distances and routes for which your vehicle is driven daily is fraudulent. It is important that you report such details as accurately as possible.
- Indicating a primary driver when, in fact, the main driver of the vehicle is someone else, is fraudulent. You may be tempted to say that a parent is the primary driver when in fact it is their teenage son, in order to get a lower rate. Don't do it. If you get caught, the penalties will sting.
- Moving to a new address without updating this information through your insurance provider is problematic; particularly if this move is out of province. Registering an address other than the one from which you primarily drive your vehicle is not okay.
Pertaining to motor vehicle collisions
- Using an accident as an excuse to invent injuries for the purpose of getting “free” physical therapy or massage treatments is definitely fraudulent. Certainly, you should disclose whatever injuries have truly sustained, and seek the appropriate compensation for them. However, be sure that you have medical evidence of these injuries. If you get caught inventing injuries on an auto-insurance claim, the penalties are severe.
- If you are a healthcare practitioner, indicating that a patient has sustained an injury when they have not, or even “fudging” the details around an actual injury is highly problematic. Additionally, overbilling for treatments, or billing patients for services you have not provided is illegal and could cost you your job.
- Faking a car accident in order to trick your insurance provider into paying for “repairs” or “injuries” as a result of the staged accident is a bad, bad idea. This might sound absurdly obvious, but the number of people who think they can pull this off is astounding. The insurance industry has seen it all, and deals harshly with such cases, so don't ever consider making a second career of staged collisions.