Insurance fraud schemes
Even if you never find yourself in the middle of one of its sleazy scams, auto insurance fraud hits you. Industry experts say it slows legitimate insurance claims, increases premiums and, in some cases, puts innocent victims in danger.
Law enforcement officials say fraud factors into as many as 1 out of every 3 auto insurance claims in New York City. The problem may be even worse in Los Angeles, the city that generates the most questionable claims potentially linked to organized crime, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
That trade group tracks fraud for insurers and ranks California, Florida, Texas, New York and Maryland as the top five states for fishy auto insurance claims.
The cost to motorists is tough to pin down because fraud often goes unreported, but it's definitely a "major-league crime involving a wide variety of schemes," says Jim Quiggle, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud in Washington, D.C.
In New York City alone, officials estimate that fake auto claims add $241 million to premiums. Nationally, experts believe overall insurance fraud costs tens of billions of dollars every year.
Learn how to protect yourself as we uncover the worst auto insurance frauds.