Crash for cash hotspots – where accidents are staged by drivers making fraudulent insurance claims – have been named and shamed across the UK.
A junction in Barking, east London, on the A406 eastbound, tops the list of areas most often targeted, according to research by insurer Direct Line. But its league table reveals scammers are also moving out to rural locations – with junctions in St Albans, Herts, and Little Aston, Staffs, also making the top 10 list.
Direct Line says these prangs – which totalled 30,000 last year – spell trouble for innocent motorists. They typically involve fraudsters making unnecessary emergency stops at busy slip roads and roundabouts, forcing the motorist behind to smash into them. That’s because crashes on rural roads are more likely to happen at high speed.
Some gangs will repeatedly target the same spot, Direct Line claims – something it uncovered at the hotspot in Warrington, Lancs. A spokesman said: “Our investigator identified three accidents involving the same car within two hours. That car also had an accident on the nearby roundabout on the M6/A57.”
These scams cost the industry an estimated £350million a year, according to estimates by the Insurance Fraud Bureau; increasing the premiums of honest drivers and delaying payouts for claims at known hotspots by up to three weeks.
The absence of junctions in Scotland in this table is no coincidence, either, says Direct Line. It told us a ban on ‘no win, no fee’ agreements in Scottish law mean it is less frequently targeted by these fraudsters.
The UK’s top 10 crash for cash hotspots
1. Barking, Essex A406 eastbound, junction with Abbey Road.
2. St Albans, Herts North Orbital Road at Noke Lane/Lye Lane.
3. West London A40, intersection with North Circular Road, also known as the Hanger Lane Gyratory.
4. Kensworth, Beds A5 Dunstable Road/B4540 Lynch Hill junction.
5. Farnworth, Lancs M61 Junction 4.
6. Newton Heath, Lancs Oldham Bypass, roundabout at Manchester Road.
7. Warrington, Lancs Grange Avenue (roundabouts 7A, B, C, D).
8. Little Aston, W Mids Chester Road near Hobs Hole Lane junction.
9. Fen End, W Mids A4177 Honiley Road, heading towards Warwick.
10. Waltham Cross, Herts A10/A121 roundabout.
Source: Direct Line