Some consumers who owe money on vehicle loans during the COVID-19 pandemic may be tempted to make false auto theft claims, an independent adjuster warns.AutoSpecial Investigations
“Insureds who are desperate for money may have the vehicle stolen and burned to ensure the vehicle is a total loss. In some cases, they may also strip the vehicle and sell the parts to make extra money,” said James Barbieri, CEO of Claims Advantage Inc., in a recent A.M. Best Company Inc. podcast.
Barbieri, a former police officer, was asked how the COVID-19 crisis creates an environment for fraudulent insurance claims.
As a result of the prolonged lockdowns and economic disruption, some people’s life savings are being depleted, Barbieri suggested during the podcast, posted June 25. This, he said, could result in some consumers engaging in insurance fraud scams.
Many motorists who borrowed money to buy a second vehicle before the pandemic may no longer need that extra set of wheels. So they might drive it into a lake or pond, report it stolen and collect the insurance, said Barbieri, adding this is also common with motorcycles and recreational vehicles.