Car insurance customers are being warned to double-check they are calling the right phone number to make a claim after an accident.
Some customers who use the internet browser on their mobile phone to search for their insurer’s claims line are being misled by adverts that appear at the top of search engine results.
The web results they may see are designed to look like they provide contact details for the insurance company but are actually paid-for adverts operated by claims management companies.
Don’t be fooled
It can be stressful standing on a roadside after an accident, so it is easy to be tricked.
When users click on the web page link, rather than going to an actual web page, the phone number appears on their phone, ready for them to click to call.
The caller then hears a list of recorded options, much like they might expect when calling their insurance company. Once the caller has passed on the detail of their claim, the claims management company can then make money by referring them to no-win, no-fee law firms or credit hire companies.
What to do if you need to make a claim
It is important that customers who have been involved in an accident are able to speak to their insurer directly to settle their claim.
Claims management companies have, in the past, been accused of exaggerating claims that push up the costs of insurance for honest customers. They have also been accused of unscrupulous behaviour that has fuelled a compensation culture in the UK.
So, if using a mobile device to find your insurance company’s claims contact number, start at their home page and follow the instructions for making a claim.
And when you get through to somebody on the phone, check that they actually represent your insurer.
If in doubt, use the phone number provided on your insurance policy document and to make life easier save this number to your contacts in your mobile phone.
Gareth Evans, a consultant in Ageas’s counter fraud team, has been shortlisted as Unsung Insurance Fraud Fighter in the Insurance Fraud Awards