At Budget Insurance we are committed to preventing fraud
We take every step we can against people trying to commit fraud. Fraudulent activity can lead to everyone else having to pay higher premiums whilst the fraudsters benefit.
Our customers come first which is why it’s essential that we work together to stop fraud and to make sure the fraudsters aren’t profiting from the system at everyone’s expense.
We have outlined some of the various types of fraud, together with how we are doing our best to prevent this, along with some general information on what you can do to help.
To make our fraud prevention measures as effective as possible we get data from a wide range of industry-wide sources. These include other businesses, police forces and other law enforcement bodies. Once we have this, we use state-of-the-art technology to cross-reference it with our internal databases and other external data sources, and by liaising with insurers to check information that might look suspicious.
In addition to the above we also undertake checks against public information such as the electoral register, County Court Judgments, bankruptcy or repossession information. In order to prevent and detect fraud we and/or the insurer or the re-insurer may:
- Undertake credit searches
- Check and/or share your details with fraud prevention and detection agencies; and
- Share information about you with other organisations including the police, where necessary and proportionate
We, the insurer or other organisations may also access and use this information to prevent fraud and money laundering, for example when: recovering debt and tracing beneficiaries; checking details on applications for new products and dealing with claims for all types of insurance.
Once we have this, we use state-of-the-art technology to cross-reference it with our internal databases and other external data sources, and by liaising with insurers to check information that might look suspicious.
You may recognise some of the fraud prevention steps we take from when you last purchased insurance. When you provided personal details, your no claims discount and information about any previous claims you’ve had, these all go through a checking process to help us identify you as one of our valued customers and not a fraudster.
Why do we go to all of this trouble?
Fraud is something that might have a negative effect on our customers, so we’re committed to fighting against it. We are always working hard to improve our security measures, protect our customers and their personal data. It’s as simple as that.
Should you deliberately withhold accurate information about yourself and your circumstances you could invalidate your insurance. It is essential that you honestly disclose all relevant information. Remember we, and the insurers, do make checks on the information disclosed and can identify fraudulent behaviour.
No Claims Discount
No Claims Discount documents are an integral part of purchasing insurance. Documents provided to prove No Claims Discounts are all verified, and any fraudulent or fake documents will invalidate a policy.
Our claims checking procedures help to stamp out fraud so you’re not paying the price for the actions of a small minority. In addition to this we review every claim in detail so that the few people who try to place a fraudulent claim don’t benefit and you don’t have to pay the price as a result.
We can carry out claims checks at any point in the policy purchasing process, and even after payment has been made.
What claims do I need to tell you about?
You need to tell us if you or anyone else named on your insurance policy have made a claim for damage, loss or liability in the last five years. We also need to know if you decided not to make a claim for the loss – for example if your vehicle or property was damaged but you chose not to make a claim.
We have these checks in place to help stop fraudulent activity but also to try and make sure you won’t be disappointed if you make a claim. Not disclosing a past claim could mean your insurance isn’t valid and result in its cost increasing or being cancelled.
It may not be something you’ve thought about before and we know that insurance fraud can seem complicated and confusing. So, what is insurance fraud?
In simple terms this is when you withhold information from your insurer. This could be anything from your occupation and correct age to motoring convictions or your No Claims Discount entitlement. Whether this information was withheld accidentally or on purpose it could mean your policy isn’t valid. The outcome would be that if you make a claim, your insurance company may not pay. It could also ultimately result in prosecution and/or being fined. Car insurance fraud is an increasing area of concern. Below are some of the different ways in which car insurance fraud is committed:
Changes to your circumstances
Your insurance premium is calculated on a wide range of factors, such as your home address, your age, where your car is parked overnight, your occupation, whether you use your vehicle for business or commuting among others. If any of your circumstances change, it’s important that you let us know. This will make sure that you have the correct level of cover in place.
Fronting a policy
This is where someone is included on a policy as a named driver but is in fact, the main driver. For example, instead of a young driver taking out their own policy, their parent includes them on one in their name. The main reason for doing this is to gain a lower premium, however this is illegal.
If you either purchase a car which has modifications, or you make them yourself you must let us know. Some types of modification, such as additional security features, could reduce your premium. However, if performance enhancing modifications are made, this could increase the cost.
Abandoning a Car
If a car is abandoned, set on fire, or disposed of in any way this is considered a type of fraud if the owner then tries to make a claim against it.
Inevitably there will be some people who fall victim to the professional fraudsters. Below are some examples of this:
These are insurance brokers who sell fake policies to motorists. These policies may appear to be genuine. In some cases they are actual policies which have been purchased from legitimate insurers and then altered before being passed on. The unsuspecting customer would not know that they were buying a policy that’s not real.
Other instances of ghost broking can include the fraudsters buying a policy and then cancelling it almost immediately. This would enable to them to claim the refund as well as keeping hold of the customer’s money.
Crash for Cash
You may be aware of this type of fraud, as it has been covered in the news. The three key ways in which they do this are:
- The staged accident – involving two vehicles, both driven by criminals, and crashed away from witnesses
- The induced accident – when criminals brake suddenly or deliberately create a crash involving unsuspecting motorists
- The ghost accident – when there’s actually no accident at all, but instead a fake insurance claim is submitted
In addition to our fraud prevention measures there are some things you can do to help protect yourself as well. We’ve listed some of these below to help you:
Keep your passwords safe
- Don’t share them with anyone and don’t write them down
- Use passwords which can’t be easily guessed, such as your date of birth or your children’s names
- Create passwords which include both letters and numbers in a mix of upper and lower case
- Use a different password for each online account you have
Always log out of any websites which hold information about you, including payment details
- It’s important that you log out of any online accounts you have when you finish the session. This is especially important if you are using someone else’s computer, or a public one
Keep your personal information private
- Keep your privacy settings up to date on social network sites such as Facebook to make sure no one unscrupulous can see your personal information – this is a great source of information for fraudsters!
- Do not give out any personal details to anyone, even if the request appears to be from a legitimate source, such as your bank or insurer
Keep your bank and credit cards safe
- It’s important to sign your bank and credit cards as soon as you receive them and keep them in a safe place
- When using your card, make sure those around you can’t see you input your PIN into the card machine
- Report a lost or stolen card immediately
Keep your kit safe
The points below are relevant to all devices you use to access the internet, including computers, laptops, mobiles and tablets
- Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date. If your device should get a virus it can steal your personal information, or even take over your computer and use it to attack others.
- Set your anti-virus software to scan files as and when you access them and to also download any available updates when you go online
- Keep your software up to date
- Register for your software support package
Uninstall any unwanted software
Sometimes companies may need to access your computer remotely (for example, IT companies for repair purposes). Unfortunately, fraudsters can also use this to gain access to your devices. It is always best to remove any software which you don’t need.
Take care when buying items online
It’s always best to only buy goods online from reputable companies. However, there are still a number of things to look out for to help spot a fraudulent website:
- Does the site look genuine? Easy things to spot are; spelling mistakes, strange payment methods, pages which look odd. It’s also worth checking out any reviews
- Always check the small print, remember if a deal looks too good to be true…it probably is!
If you would like more information about how to help protect yourself against financial and cyber crime we have included links to some external websites for you to visit: