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Anti-theft group warns of rising fraud in car insurance claims

A Michigan-based anti-theft organization is warning drivers of an increase in unconventional auto-related crimes, including the filing of fraudulent car insurance claims, identity theft and theft of car components such as air bags.

Although vehicle theft overall has fallen in recent years, thieves have taken to some other money-making schemes, according to Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (HEAT). The group said the poor economy is contributing to a rise in fraudulent car insurance claims and other crimes.

Insurance companies cover auto theft - including theft of components such as tires, catalytic converters or air bags - under comprehensive coverage. This non-mandatory coverage also covers losses from vandalism, weather or fire.

Insurance experts agree that premiums for comprehensive auto coverage are impacted by the likelihood that a car will be stolen, depending on the make and model, year and where the car is parked overnight.

Drivers with some of the more oft-stolen cars may be able to reduce their insurance premiums by installing an anti-theft device in their vehicle.

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