Motorist who collided with bus faces $7k insurance claim for 'unrelated damages'

The company has added damage to several other parts of the bus in the claim despite the young driver saying there was one scratch.

A young driver who collided with a bus says the group's insurance company is chasing him for thousands of dollars for "unrelated damage" across the entire vehicle.

Charles Kilburn says a small scratch was left after he collided with the back of a bus. He said it was unclear whose fault it was, but claims the company is pursuing him for $6,948 after doing their own assessment and claiming "a lot of things unrelated to the accident".

The bus company — which Kilburn has not named — has included in the insurance claim scratches to other parts of the bus, including one near the top and front of the bus, and even what looks like ripped upholstery in the driver's cabin. Also added is an extra charge of $300 per day for 11 days while the bus was allegedly unable to be operated.

Image of the one scratch to the back of the bus Charles says was from the collision.
The young driver says the collision caused only one scratch to the back of the bus (pictured). Source: TikTok

Insurance broker and industry expert Dan Ufer, who is not involved in the case, says false claims cost insurers "millions of dollars a year". "Not only that, having claim costs sitting against your policy can also make a significant impact on the premium that you pay," he told Yahoo News Australia.

Exaggerated claims can amount to insurance fraud

According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), insurance fraud can include the exaggeration of otherwise legitimate claims or intentional misrepresentation of the facts to gain a financial advantage where there has been no actual loss.

One of the common forms of insurance fraud is "opportunistic fraud" which is the exaggeration of personal claims, like what is being alleged in this scenario.

"[It] is the most common type of insurance fraud in Australia and it is a crime," a spokesperson from the ICA said.

Images of marks on the top of the bus (left), the inside of the driver's cabin (middle), and scratches on another, unknown part of the vehicle (right).
The almost $7000 worth of damages the company is claiming includes marks on the top of the bus (left), the inside of the driver's cabin (middle), and scratches on other parts of the vehicle (right). Source: TikTok

What to do if you suspect insurance fraud

When you receive a claim from an insurer, Ufer advises it's important to bring it to the attention of your insurer, if insured. If uninsured, and you are being recovered against from the other parties’ insurer, then you should seek further explanation of costs from their insurer.

"The insurers have assessors who assess damages and repair costs to ensure they are consistent with the details of the claim," he explains.

The ICA spokesperson said if a claim does not look right, a customer should report their concerns about the claim. "It’s important for insurance customers to know they have the right to dispute an insurance claim that they believe is inaccurate," they said.

Most insurers will have a confidential way of reporting suspected fraud, otherwise, the ICA has a section on their website related to fraud and how you can report it — which you can find here.

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