DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Auto insurance fraud is a crime that costs everyone, AAA Michigan reports. Surprisingly, one in six Michigan residents knows someone who has committed insurance fraud, according to a new statewide poll.
Whenever someone files a false stolen vehicle claim, damages or destroys a vehicle on purpose for money or submits bills for medical services not provided, these claims push up the cost of auto insurance for everyone. Insurance thieves are taking money from your wallet every day in Michigan – in fact, estimates are insurance fraud costs the average Michigan family $100 to $200 in additional property/casualty premiums each year.
Despite the fact that insurance fraud is a felony in Michigan – with conviction including up to $50,000 in fines, mandatory restitution and four years in jail -- these claims are increasing.
That's why Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed "Michigan Insurance Fraud Awareness Week," October 13-19, 2013. A recent survey of AAA Michigan members shows 94 percent favor tighter controls and stiffer penalties to help combat fraud and lower insurance rates. AAA Michigan strongly supports auto insurance fraud awareness efforts.
In fact, AAA Michigan pays millions in legitimate claims each year. The company also works diligently to ensure fraudulent claims are not paid. AAA Michigan has trained claims professionals to help identify and investigate suspicious claims, and when necessary, works with law enforcement to prosecute and seek restitution from those involved in fraudulent claim activities.
AAA Michigan encourages all state residents to keep an eye out for suspicious activities, ranging from a simple exaggerated claim for medical care or vehicle body work to a sophisticated fraud ring involving multiple vehicles.
Anyone who is involved in an accident or witnesses one should report it to the authorities. AAA also encourages motorists to maintain accurate records of accidents – what happened, when, where. Write down names, addresses and phone numbers of those involved, and get names of any witnesses. And, be alert to fraud schemes – if you think someone is trying to entice you into a fraudulent act, contact police and report it.
If involved in an auto accident, AAA recommends motorists not to provide personal information to anyone other than the other driver, police or ambulance attendant. If someone else contacts you at the scene or hospital to ask you about potential injuries, contact your insurance agent immediately. Never provide information to anyone showing up at your home or calling you, unless you are aware of their identity.
AAA is actively involved in two state organizations that have been established to combat all types of arson and auto theft, including fraudulent acts, and – along with other insurance companies -- provides funding for rewards associated with these programs.
Concerned residents can call 1-800-242-H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) to report information on stolen cars and suspected auto theft activities. H.E.A.T. tips are rewarded with up to $1,000 each for information that leads to the arrest and binding over for trail of a suspected car thief, and up to $10,000 if the tip results in the arrest and binding over for trial of suspected theft ring members and /or chop shop operators.
Through ARSON CONTROL, rewards of up to $5,000 are paid to persons who provide information that leads to the arrest and /or conviction of arsons. The phone number for reporting these crimes is 1-800-44-ARSON.
AAA Michigan is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories, including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.
SOURCE AAA Michigan