‘Crash for cash’ car insurance scams have soared by more than 50 per cent in the last year, new figures have revealed.

According to research by the insurance company Aviva, which insurers one in 10 cars on British roads, there was a 51 per cent rise in the number of drivers who were purposefully crashing their vehicles in order to claim money. The company stated that it had detected around 820 staged accidents in 2013, leading to some 2,200 fraudulent personal injury claims.

Aviva has said that a large part of the problem is that the penalties on this form of insurance fraud are not tough enough; subsequently it is calling for community orders to be replaced with large fines and prison sentences. The company added that many of the ‘crash for cash’ incidents are being masterminded by criminal gangs.

The insurer is dealing with more than 6,000 suspicious injury claims of various kinds linked to known fraud rings, with many people claiming for speculative whiplash after being involved in minor accidents.

Aviva also says that the risk of motorists being killed as a result of induced accidents is increasing – as such it is warning drivers to be more vigilant than ever when approaching junctions and crossings, where most of the incidents occur.

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