Direct Line's annual analysis of UK's top ten 'crash for cash' hotspots, has revealed the ten new locations which have become favoured spots for fraudsters. Rural locations are now being used, and five locations are now in the south - in and around the M25.
'Crash for cash' fraudsters fake accidents by making unnecessary emergency stops at busy roundabouts or slip roads, forcing motorists to crash into them. They then make bogus claims to the innocent motorist's insurer, often including fictitious injuries and passengers.
Four rural locations have made it in to the top ten, showing a shift by fraudsters to areas where they incorrectly believe they will be harder to detect. This trend is worrying as the likelihood of serious injury or worse to innocent motorists is increased, due to less traffic enabling average speeds on rural roads to be higher than in urban areas.
As with last year's study, the North West is still a 'crash for cash' hot spot with three sites from this region in the top ten. However, London and the South East take the top three spots and the Midlands has now also become a favourite for fraudsters. The top ten hotspots include roundabouts, junctions and slip roads throughout the UK.
Top Ten Crash for Cash Hot Spots
1. Barking, A406 Eastbound, junction with Abbey Road.
2. St Albans, North Orbital Road at Noke Lane / Lye Lane.
3. A40 Intersection with North Circular, also known as the Hanger Lane Gyratory.
4. Bedfordshire, A5 Dunstable Road junction with B4540 Lynch Hill.
5. Bolton, M61 Junction 4.
6. Roundabout at Oldham Bypass and Manchester Road.
7. Woolston Grange Avenue, Warrington (roundabouts 7A, B, C, D).
8. Chester Road, Little Aston, Birmingham near to its junction with Hobs Hole Lane.
9. A4177 Honiley Road, just past Fen End going towards Warwick.
10. A10/A121 roundabout.
Paul Hubbard, Head of Counter Fraud Operations at Direct Line, said: "Crash for cash scams pose a significant risk to public safety. As well as adding to the cost of insurance, they delay payouts on genuine claims as any reported accident at a known scam site has to undergo additional investigations. Just the actions of a few, can cost motorists a significant amount of money and pose a real threat to people's lives.
"Our investigation systems mean that we can pinpoint areas of concern and the hot spots are just a small proportion of the data that we share with the rest of the insurance industry. We will not tolerate fraudsters and always push for the harshest penalties, as we have a duty to protect our customers. Every pound taken by a fraudster is a pound taken from honest motorists."
The scams are estimated to cost up to £350 million a year increasing the insurance premiums of honest drivers, as well as delaying payouts for claims that happened at known hot spots by up to three weeks.
Direct Line's tips on how to protect yourself against fraudsters
If you suspect someone in front of you is driving erratically give them as wide a berth as possible
In the event of an accident record as much detail as possible including names, addresses and dates of birth of claimants
Make a note of how many people are in the other vehicle
If possible take photographs with your mobile phone
Get full names and addresses of any witnesses
Make sure you highlight concerns to your insurer
You can report information free of charge to the Insurance Fraud Bureau' confidential hotline on 0800 328 2550 or online here.