It’s understandable how it happens. You searched around for a good deal on auto insurance and decided to go with a smaller, lesser-known company. You’ve been paying the premium for years and just went to file a claim for the first time. Unfortunately after waiting days for a response, you find out that there is no coverage available to you.
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You’ve been the victim of auto insurance fraud, duped by a phony policy. Here’s what you need to know in order to spot fake car insurance.
Take These Precautions:
- Check All Documentation
This is a given. You should always read over everything in your policy, even when it’s from a well-regarded company. Check your ID carefully. If your policy is legitimate, you’ll likely receive some type of declaration page within a few days that documents all of the details. If you haven’t received this by mail or digitally, then you may want to double-check your policy’s validity.
- Scan the QR Code
Many policies now have QR codes that can conveniently be scanned by a smartphone. With fraudulent policies, these codes usually take you to sites that have little to do with auto insurance. Most people don’t bother scanning these codes. Check yours today, as a safeguard.
Always research your car insurance carrier before purchasing a policy. Look at what the other customers are saying both for the larger providers and the smaller ones. If you haven’t heard of the name, read up on the company’s history. Be sure you are purchasing from someone working directly for the carrier, and not someone who simply states they are.
- Check Your Agent’s License Number
When working with an insurance agent, you can always ask for their license number to be sure that your policy is legitimate. You can verify the agent’s number on your state’s insurance website and you can even check the company’s credit ratings online. Do your homework. The extra time it takes is worth it.
Fake Car Insurance Cards:
There are hundreds of fake car insurance cards out there. Don’t get trapped in the scheme. Many people download fraudulent auto insurance cards, thinking that it will help them avoid fines if they are stopped by the police and don’t have state required auto insurance. In reality, most states now have electronic verification systems that can check within seconds whether or not you have car insurance, without even looking at an identification card. Fabricating a car insurance card is a felony. So if your state requires auto insurance, get it.
If you have a car insurance card that you’re wary of, look carefully. Any misspellings or typos are a pretty clear signifier that something else might be going on. If the policy sounds too good to be true, be suspicious. Look for conventional elements such as policy number, vehicle identification number, or in certain states, barcodes. Be vigilant and look for associations. Smaller companies sell insurance too but if your auto insurance card has a strange or unfamiliar name, you may want to check the company’s ratings and do some research.
I Bought a Fake Policy, What Now?
- Pay Up
Chances are if you didn’t find out about the fake car insurance policy until you filed a claim for an accident, then you’ll likely be stuck with the costs. If the accident was your fault, realize that you will be faced with the bill for the other vehicle’s damages and the other driver’s injuries. You may also be hit with fines for not having legitimate car insurance if your state requires it.
- Get Real Coverage ASAP
Get the coverage you need today. A good rule of thumb is to stick with the known names, despite how affordable other policies may seem. Unless you’ve really researched and read all of the fine print, the security that comes with a well-regarded auto insurer is often invaluable. You wouldn’t usually buy a car, laptop, or TV that’s a no-name brand so why buy something as important as car insurance without a name you recognize and trust?
- Report It
Reach out to the NICB or your state insurance department to report any fraudulent policies. Not only will you be helping protect others from the same fate, but you’ll likely receive helpful advice for your situation.
With all the technological capabilities out there, it can be difficult to decipher whether or not your car insurance policy is valid. Do your research and protect yourself by purchasing from auto insurance providers you can trust.
Photo credit (in-line): Pictures of Money