Florida car owners pay an annual "fraud tax" of $58 per vehicle because of criminal abuse of the state's no-fault car insurance system, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
As a whole, Floridians had to pay $658 million more in auto insurance premiums in 2011 because of widespread fraud, the III says. The "fraud tax" is 7 percent higher than in 2010.
Despite aggressive law enforcement and efforts by car insurance companies to crack down on fraud, crooks continue to take advantage of loopholes in the state's laws and regulations.
"Fraud is driving claims frequency and severity generally upward, forcing up the premium needed to cover expected losses," Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of III, said in a press statement.
The average cost of a no-fault auto insurance claim in Florida was $8,529 in 2011, up 28 percent from 2004, according to III's analysis.
- Padding claims.
- Misrepresenting facts on an insurance application.
- Submitting claims for injuries or damage that never occurred, services never rendered, or equipment never delivered.
- Staging accidents.