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Considering the fairly detailed laws mandating auto insurance in each state, car insurance companies can't so much scam you as opposed to rip you off. Be aware of cheap insurance companies that will offer incredible premiums, only to send a company rate error notice a few months later, asking for more money.

A driver looking for car insurance can evaluate an insurance company through its A.M. Best rating, which tells you its ability to pay off. Companies with A ratings are usually solid, and B ratings are fairly safe, but for peace of mind you might want to simply go with a reputable company like State Farm or Travelers.

Unscrupulous insurance scammers are not really out to scam you, but they will drag you down for a chance to take a swipe at your insurance company. Their schemes can range in complexity and sometimes even include doctors, lawyers and machine shops that are all in on the loop and charge exorbitant amounts of money for poor or shady service.

Staged Rear-End Accidents This is a classic where the scammer pulls out in front of an innocent car and then slams the brakes, causing the driver behind him to rear end him. The scammer then collects money for vehicle damages and will often fake injuries to collect even more.

Adding Damage It doesn't matter if the accident was real or fake, the scammer will take their car to another location and inflict additional damage to their vehicle. They will then attempt to claim that the damage was caused by the original accident. This is why it's important to have a camera on hand to photograph the original accident scene. A police statement helps too.

The Fake Wave A scammer will wave an innocent driver into traffic and then deliberately crash into him. The scammer will deny waving anyone in, come time to file a claim.

Left Swipe A scammer will haunt left turns where there are multiple lanes. If a not-so-innocent driver maneuvers into his lane, the scammer will suddenly accelerate and force a collision.

False Witness This is usually done at an hour and place where there are no other people around as witnesses. A scammer will deliberately cause an accident with another vehicle and then tell a false story when the police arrive. Bogus witnesses planted at the predetermined spot will confirm the scammer's version of events.

Most insurance scams are run by professionals who know exactly what they are doing. Exchanging basic contact information and having a disposable camera handy is important precisely to prevent yourself from becoming an unwitting victim. Even if you don't pay the upfront cost out of your pocket, you end up with a blemished driving record that comes with a higher insurance premium.

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