Birmingham named worst city for crash for cash claims

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Media captionThis crash in London in 2010 was captured by a dashboard camera

Birmingham has been ranked as England's "crash for cash" capital.

The second city is the number one location where motorists are most likely to fall victim to the scam, according to an insurance group.

Aviva said 25% of its 3,000 crash for cash claims last year were in Birmingham, in particular the B11 area of Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Tyseley.

Research showed Leeds, Harrow, parts of London, Bradford, Luton, Coventry and Oldham were all in the top 10 hotspots.

More on crash for cash, plus other Birmingham stories

The figures include induced accidents, where innocent motorists are targeted, as well as staged accidents, when two damaged cars are brought together to make it look like an accident.

The biggest crash for cash scam in the UK involved a gang making bogus claims worth £132,000.

And in one case, a staged accident caused the death of another driver.

Recently, gangs have targeted bus passengers to claim thousands in alleged whiplash injuries.

What is a 'crash for cash' scam?

  • A car in front of you slams on the brakes for no obvious reason and you collide with it
  • The other driver will insist it is your fault and hand over their insurance details - often already prepared and written down
  • Your insurers will write to you with details of the other driver's claim, exaggerated with costs like car hire, recovery and whiplash injuries

Source: How do I avoid being a 'crash for cash' victim?

'Significant drain'

The number of induced accidents in 2015 fell by 2% compared to a record high the previous year, Aviva said.

However, there was a 40% year-on-year drop in the number of staged accidents, which was attributed to the introduction of more stringent measures around taking out a policy.

Image caption The number of induced accidents in 2015 fell by 2% compared to a record high the previous year, Aviva said

Tom Gardiner, head of fraud at Aviva, said: "Induced accidents now account for nearly half of all organised motor fraud we detect.

"Crash for cash does not just push up premiums for genuine customers, it puts innocent motorists at risk.

"It is also a significant drain on scarce public resources such as ambulance, police and A&E time, all of which are wasted on these entirely bogus claims."

The insurer said the problem could also be moving to new areas after some postcodes in Worcester, Margate and Leicester were found to be hotspots.

Former West Midlands Police detective Neil Thomas who now independently investigates fraudulent crashes, said Birmingham and other big cities are specifically targeted.

He said: "Birmingham is quite an obvious choice - it has been a hotspot for a number of years. There's the high volume of traffic and also the road network.

"In any big city... there are going to be genuine traffic collisions.

"The fraudster can then get away with having staged incidents because people won't notice them"

The top 10 crash for cash locations in 2015:

1. Birmingham

2. North London

3. East London

4. Leeds

5. Harrow

6. North West London

7. Bradford

8. Luton

9. Coventry

10. Oldham

Source: Aviva

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