It’s an old story: owner cannot afford luxury car and cannot sell luxury car to cover what’s owed, so the owner dumps car in a lake (or river, swamp, neighbor’s garage, etc.) and collects the insurance from his/her “stolen” car. What’s new in this story is that the Miami Herald is reporting gas prices may be playing a role.
Researchers at the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) have noted a correlation between the rise in gas prices and the growing number of potentially fraudulent insurance claims for stolen vehicles. Over a three-year period where average gas prices went up more than 130 percent, the number of suspicious auto thefts in the Miami area more than doubled. This is also a time when more than half of the current top ten stolen vehicles are large trucks and SUVs.
The NCIB does not have concrete evidence on this theory yet. Because of this, they are saying that the thefts could still be over-extended owners who are up to their old tricks. “People would agree those (trucks and SUVs) are not very economical,” said Frank Scafidi, public affairs director for NCIB, “but you do have other cars that become give-ups — lease situations, where someone may have extended or exceeded the limits of a lease. That can be very expensive.”
No matter the case, be careful the next time you go fishing. You may accidentally catch a F-150.