Is it a bad idea to claim injury on auto insurance when you aren’t hurt?

If you don't have affordable auto insurance, it is a bad idea to claim an injury on auto insurance when you aren't hurt so you can pad your bank account. You could face a lawsuit that decides you must restore any funds you took from your insurance company in addition to punitive charges. The best way to avoid this is by always being honest when filing claims and shopping online to find an insurance company that suits your needs and budget.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and ...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Insurance Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Jun 27, 2022

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Can't-Miss Facts

  • Claiming to suffer an injury in an accident when you haven’t could result in a loss of coverage or a lawsuit
  • Your insurance company will share that you have filed a fraudulent claim with its state’s department of insurance, which will make it hard for you to find coverage again
  • Depending on your state, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony

If you don’t have affordable auto insurance, is it a bad idea to claim an injury on auto insurance when you aren’t hurt in an attempt to pad your pockets with some extra cash? It most certainly is.

Filing a false bodily injury claim can land you in some pretty hot water not only with your insurance company, but with the law.

Even if you need less expensive insurance, since you can find more affordable coverage options by comparing free auto insurance quotes online, is it a bad idea to claim an injury on auto insurance when you aren’t hurt? Again, yes. It is a very bad idea.

If high rates are prompting you to ask, “Is it a bad idea to claim an injury on auto insurance when you aren’t hurt?”, enter your ZIP code to receive free insurance quotes today.

What is a bodily injury claim?

When you file a bodily injury claim after an accident, you are requesting is compensation for any expenses incurred after physical injuries that were brought on by the accident.

As the NAIC states, your auto insurance can cover the medical fees if there’s an accident, but this feature should never be abused. A false accident car insurance claim can have serious consequences.

Your insurance company could not only deny your claim, but you could also be liable for:

  • Any monies paid out to you by your insurance company
  • The costs of the insurance company’s investigation of your claim
  • The Punitive damages in some cases

While “claim denied” is a frustrating message in and of itself, receiving notice that you’ll be prosecuted for filing a false claim is far worse. When engaging in personal injury insurance fraud, you could come face to face with criminal charges.

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What is personal injury insurance fraud?

Is it a bad idea to claim an injury on auto insurance when you aren’t hurt if auto insurance rates offered by your current company are too high? It is, because that is partaking in personal injury-related insurance fraud.

Drivers commit personal injury insurance fraud when they receive compensation for a nonexistent injury, an exaggerated injury, or for an injury that is completely unrelated to any accident that is covered by their policy.

Other examples of personal injury insurance fraud include:

  • Planning a theft
  • Committing arson against your properties
  • Staging a car accident

Now bear in mind that you could face accusations of fraud even if you don’t over exaggerate an accident, but rather lie by omission.

For example, if you fail to share any information that you are legally required to disclose, you could be found liable for pursuing a fraudulent personal injury claim.

Are there different types of personal injury insurance fraud?

In the world of insurance, the two types of fraudulent personal injury-related insurance claims are known as “soft” insurance fraud and “hard” insurance fraud.

Soft insurance fraud, which is also called “opportunistic” insurance fraud, is the more common type of insurance fraud. For example, if a driver were to file an inflated claim, such as the exaggeration of the severity of a back injury sustained during an accident, that is soft insurance fraud.

While injured drivers are entitled to every penny promised to them in their insurance policy for medical expenses, lying about the extent of their injuries is a crime.

The second type of insurance fraud is hard insurance fraud or premeditated insurance fraud. If a driver were to stage an accident, for example, and then file a claim, they would be engaging in premeditated insurance fraud.

What are the penalties for false car insurance claims?

If you were to ask your auto insurance company,” Is it a bad idea to claim an injury on auto insurance when you aren’t hurt?”, you would receive an answer in the affirmative.

If you were to file a false car insurance claim, you could be liable to the insurance company. You might even face criminal charges.

If you filed a fraudulent personal injury claim your insurance company could take any of the following steps:

  • Your claim could be denied
  • Your insurance could be canceled
  • You could be faced with a lawsuit

The first listed, and least severe, action your insurance could take in response to a fraudulent claim is simply to deny it, but as you can see, your insurance company could fire you as a client altogether. This could make finding another insurance company very difficult.

Insurance companies talk to each other by reporting information, like fraudulent insurance claims, to their state’s department of insurance. Since insurance companies regularly check in to receive new information, all companies would see this stain on your personal record.

Of course, if you are discovered to have made a false claim, any money rewarded to you by the insurance company will have to be returned. If you are unable to refund all of it, you could find yourself faced with a lawsuit.

If this is the case, your insurance company would aim to not only recover the money paid out to you, but it would also seek compensation for the costs that resulted while investigating your fraudulent claim.

And that’s not all. If you did something particularly heinous, the insurance company can actually seek punitive damages as a means to punish your bad behavior. The insurance company’s claim against you can double or even triple with punitive damages.

Now, if you do not have the financial capacity to pay the damages, a lien could be imposed upon you in favor of the insurance company.

If this were to occur, the insurance company could garnish your wages and even prevent you from selling off certain assets without notifying them first so they can receive their portion of the profits.

Are there criminal consequences when filing a fraudulent insurance claim?

Filing a fraudulent insurance claim can be regarded as a misdemeanor or felony in any state, but the punishment does vary state by state. The severity of the fraud is also taken into account.

Claiming an Injury When You Aren’t Hurt in an Accident: The Bottom Line

If the high rates at your current insurance company are driving you to question, “Is it a bad idea to claim an injury on auto insurance when you aren’t hurt?”, then buy auto insurance that is more affordable.

Shopping online is a great way to find insurance companies that fit your needs and your budget — not to mention avoiding being charged with a felony. Filing a false injury claiming after being in a car accident can have dire consequences.

Always be honest when filing claims to avoid being dropped by your insurance company, or worse, having your wages garnished.

If the high cost of insurance still has you asking, “Is it a bad idea to claim an injury on auto insurance when you aren’t hurt?”, then enter your ZIP code to receive free quotes from companies near you today.

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