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Auto insurance fraud can have lasting consequences

On Behalf of | May 2, 2019 | Firm News

Your car is getting older, and you don’t really want to have to pay for a new one. You know it’s costly, but you have a great insurance policy that would allow you to buy a new vehicle as a replacement if yours was damaged beyond repair.

You’ve paid into insurance for years without a problem, so would it really be that terrible if something “accidentally” happened to damage your vehicle beyond repair? You’d get what you want and would use a policy you designed for that very purpose.

In actuality, it is against the law to cause an accident that defrauds your insurance company. In this case, crashing intentionally in the hope of damaging your car to the point of getting it replaced is against the law, because you’re trying to manipulate the insurance company into paying for your own intentional act.

Other people take steps such as filing a claim for a crash or incident that never happened or giving misleading information in the hope of obtaining a higher payout of their insurance benefits.

Some common types of auto insurance fraud include:

  • Staging auto accidents to make false claims for injuries or damage
  • False reports of stolen vehicles
  • Making false claims for damage that existed on the vehicle in the past
  • Claiming for an accident in which an uncovered party was driving your vehicle
  • Making a false claim that an accident happened after a policy purchase when it happened prior

Insurance fraud is a Class 5 Felony punished with up to $100,000 in fines and three years in prison in Colorado in most cases. Presenting false information on an application or renewal of a policy would be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, instead, in most instances, being punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and potentially 18 months in jail.

On top of these penalties, there’s a chance you could face administrative penalties, which could result in the loss of business licenses, or civil penalties, where the insurance company could go as far as to sue you for any losses it accrued due to your actions.

Overall, making false claims through your insurer can get you into significant trouble with the law in Colorado. You should take your case to your attorney as soon as there’s any sign of trouble, so you can begin talking about ways to defend your actions and help you prevent fines, penalties, and jail or prison.

Photo of Attorney Phillip A. Geigle