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Submitted by: Mike McDonough
Wouldn’t you love to be able to convince your money guzzling auto insurance company into paying off your debt? That’s exactly what some SUV owners out in California thought, and they successfully managed to use their auto insurance companies to pay off their debt. It was great-until they got caught! Here’s what happened out in California and why insurance fraud just isn’t worth it.
Several years ago the economy began to droop-but then again, you already knew that! What you might not have known is that drop in economy left hundreds of SUV owners holding “upside down” bank notes stating that they owed more on their lease or current car loan than their truck was worth. They were struggling to make their payments while still keeping their SUVs insured, and many of them turned to GAP insurance to make up the difference between their auto insurance coverage and their vehicle loan if disaster struck.
This meant they were still paying extra every month and struggling to make ends meet. Something had to be done.
Who They Turned To
Many SUV owners contacted the Southern California dealer (names are not being revealed at this time) to see if they could trade their SUV in and purchase a cheaper model-like a nice four door, gas friendly sedan. Their dealers shifted them over to another department, who had a better proposition for them. They would connect them with a ring of arsonists who, for $300, would torch their SUV, allowing them to claim the loss through their insurance company.
Fraudulent arsons take place every time the economy takes a dip. One arson investigator not so fondly recalls the night he was called out to thirty two vehicle fires in a single evening. What most of these drivers didn’t know was that cops are good at identifying fraudulent vehicle fires. Really good. Why? There are a few tip offs that are impossible to fake. First and foremost, in most vehicle fires the owners are still standing nearby. When a vehicle is alone and burning the cops always start asking questions.
Anticipating this response many of these drivers had the foresight to declare their vehicles stolen, which only raises more eyebrows. And then there’s the little matter of accelerant. For an SUV to burn enough that the auto insurance provider will declare it totaled before the comps and the fire department arrive the arsonist is almost always going to use an accelerant. Most drivers assume that because cars use gasoline anyway no one’s going to notice if a little gasoline burns.
News Flash: There’s not usually gasoline INSIDE the cab. And yes, arson investigators notice these things.
How They Got Caught
Eventually the wheels of justice started turning and the police caught wind of the scam. They set up a sting, contacting the dealer and making arrangements with the arsonists to torch a vehicle fully equipped with cameras and a fuel switch. When the arsonist climbed into the cab, picked up their money and tried to drive away the SUV locked down and the firebug was trapped until the police arrived. This sting led to the arrest of seven other people and the end of the arson ring.
It just goes to show that no matter how well insurance fraud might pay, it’s always a bad idea.
About the Author: Mike McDonough is a National Account Representative for QuoteScout.com. For more information on
and auto insurance fraud visit them on the web at http://www.QuoteScout.com.