We flag some shocking insurance claim search engine results and advise on the best way to work around other well-known insurance scams.
Fake insurance claim search results – beware!
When you use a search engine to research ‘how to claim on my insurance’ for example, you are no doubt aware of the endless links and optimised results that flood the page.
It’s getting harder to know what is genuine and what isn’t. You may also see A-Plan Insurance listed alongside some of these results, as shown in this screenshot which showed several sponsored posts and the 3rd listing mentions ‘A plan Insurance’ by name in the description, above our (authentic) blog article.
Here’s the deal: the claims company listed is not associated with A-Plan Insurance.
It’s not rare, there are many dubious ‘claims’ companies out there paying Google to help them target YOU.
When using Google, search terms such as ‘claim’, ‘insurance claim’ and a brand, like A-Plan, are known as ‘keywords’. What this means is that claims companies can pay good money bidding on popular keywords to ensure their results show up online near the top of the searches or as ads.
These are known as ‘sponsored links’ – whoever pays the most appears the highest in the search results! Some of these unscrupulous companies are even using logos, like A-Plan’s, to lure people into a false sense of security. Here’s the problem – they don’t have our permission to use our logo, or name!
These companies do their research on how people get to their website, so also know that searches are done via mobile, so display a large, clickable telephone number at the top, as shown below. However, the number isn’t for A-Plan’s claims team.
Interestingly, despite using known broker and insurance company logos in their sponsored ads, Report-Accident concedes that “We are an independent claims management company and are in no way affiliated with or work on behalf of any car insurance providers or brokers. Logos are the intellectual property of the respective companies and we have used them for illustration purposes. We are not related to or represent any of the insurance companies listed on this website.”
So, why use unauthorised logos and brand names to begin with? Simple: it’s to attract your eye, and your click.
Known UK insurance scams
Fake No Claim Bonus certificates – a scam!
The more years of no claims you have, the higher the discount you receive. Even in the current inflation crisis, never opt to reduce your insurance by purchasing a fake No Claims Bonus certificate.
You may be tempted via an offer received via email – don’t click the link, it’s not genuine and you could be scammed the moment you enter your bank details.
Although you may still receive your (genuine) insurance information in paper format, be assured that all insurance information is now available via a centralised insurance database (the Motor Insurance Database – read our blog about the MID here), which can be accessed by insurers and the police. Of course, a fake No Claims Bonus won’t be listed on the database.
Genuine No Claims Bonus documentation will always be freely available from insurers, there is no need for anyone to buy one.
Ghostbroking – a warning to younger drivers!
‘Ghost broking’ is a well-known scam, often advertising online in places such as social media, online forums and even paid Google ads with the promise of cheap insurance.
Younger, inexperienced drivers may find themselves at risk as they search out ways to reduce the higher insurance premium associated with being a new, younger driver.
Sadly, the insurance certificate provided by a ghostbroker is 100% FAKE!
They pocket your cash and leave you at risk in the event of needing to make a claim in an accident, fire or theft, or being pulled over by the police for not having valid insurance. Of course, the knock-on effect is that the younger driver may not even be eligible to obtain legal insurance moving forward.
If you are a new driver, always use a reputable broker or insurance company – if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Find out more about A-Plan’s Young Driver Insurance here.
Crash for cash scams – report it!
It may seem unbelievable: scammers intentionally crashing into innocent motorists or submitting false claims for accidents!
Common tactics involve them flashing their lights inviting you to pull out in front of them, then drive into you. Another is to ram on anchors hoping you will crash into the back of them. Or it could even be a ‘ghost accident’ where a scammer submits false claim information for an accident that didn’t even happen.
The RAC reports that this costs the UK around £340 million each year so it is not an uncommon event. Beware of vehicles driving erratically, or slowing down for no reason, signs of prior accidents on a vehicle, or a noted interest in you and your vehicle from the driver and/or passengers.
If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, contact 999 in the first instance.
Insurance scam awareness – talk to the experts
The great thing about A-Plan is that many of our clients grow to trust us over the years and build a good relationship with their branch team. We carefully select our panel of insurers and can advise you to ensure you get exactly what you need, no more, no less.
We would always encourage anyone seeking to make a claim to get in touch with your local branch team in the first instance. Our colleagues are on hand to help you with every step of a claim.
Tip: Even if you receive a communication you’re unsure it relates to a renewal, get in touch with our team and we will happily check it for you.