D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Insurance fraud hits every driver where it hurts the most: the cost of his or her car insurance policy premiums. These costs are especially high on residents of Florida, as it now leads the nation in auto insurance fraud, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The NICB is a non-profit organization that receives support from nearly 1,000 property and casualty insurance companies that has a stated mission is to help identify, detect and prosecute those who commit criminal acts involving insurance.

Just how big an impact do Florida drivers take due to auto insurance fraud? More than $80 million in 2011, says NICB. Some criticize Florida’s no-fault auto accident law as making it easy for criminals to stage accidents for cashing in on insurance payouts. Florida’s law has a personal injury protection feature that requires insurers to pay up to $10,000 per occupant of a car, no matter who caused or is responsible for the accident.

While $80 million is a large amount of money, the impact on individual drivers and policy owners is approximately $50 added on to their annual premium, at least in 2010. For 2011, that amount is expected to increase to $83 added to every insurance premium. Considering there are more than 11 million drivers in Florida, the total costs for car insurance fraud in that state may soon pass $1 billion each year.

How Can You Spot Insurance Fraud in Florida?

Nobody wants to pay higher insurance rates than they have to. It’s one thing if you got in an accident because you ran a stop light. It’s another if you’re paying more just because you live in an area with more fraud. Consumer complaints don’t make these fees go away. So how do you recognize insurance fraud when you’re on the road?

These staged accidents come in two distinct forms. One version uses two cars, where all the occupants are in on the operation. The other version sees criminals targeting innocent drivers as their victims taking advantage of their collision coverage and sometimes injuring them while causing financial losses. They file claims with insurance carriers, and victims don’t know the difference.

The following graphic shows the top five cities in Florida for auto insurance fraud, and the number of confirmed staged accidents that took place in each of them in 2009:

Top Five Cities for Car Insurance Fraud in Florida

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Top Five Cities for Car Insurance Fraud in Florida
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