Sometimes the policyholder is the victim of insurance fraud by grifters like James Lee Graff, who robbed some 30,000 people of more than $40 million in stolen health insurance premiums, leaving them to pay medical bills from their own pockets.
"That's the most prevalent agent scam," says Quiggles. "The client pays the agent the premium, expecting the agent to forward it on to the company. But instead, the agent pockets the money and issues a fake policy that looks real. But the client is completely uncovered."
Also beware the unscrupulous body shop, which will use substandard parts on a windshield, air bag or other repair, then send an inflated bill to your insurance company. Sure, your insurer may pay the bill. But is your vehicle safe to drive?
Bogus roofers and appraisers spring up like toadstools after severe weather, offering a new roof free, courtesy of your insurance company.
"They'll lie to the consumer that the roof has been seriously damaged," says Quiggle. "Sometimes they'll get up on the roof with a screwdriver and bang on the roof to make it look like hail damage."
Best move: Always call your agent before authorizing any policy-related work.