Jack Straw is up in arms about the lawyers making a fortune from car crashes, but a lesser-known and even more shocking outrage indicates that the police are at it too. So how can they cash in on crashes, and can it possibly be legal?
The money comes from local garages and breakdown firms. The police will give them a call after a crash and in return for a fee – on average £25 per car – will let them know where to come for the vehicle.
The firm will then take the car away and charge the motorist for storing it. The police claim they are not being paid for their services and that this is just an administration fee. However, £25 to make a call seems steep – and if this really is the cost of calling a garage, why don't all forces charge for it?
Evidence compiled by an insurance company using Freedom of Information requests, found that West Midland Police made around £622,272 from tip offs in just one year – and Greater Manchester Police passed on the details of 32,855 cars in one year – but refused to disclose how much money this netted.
The end result is a dramatic rise in the number and size of claims being made, losses for insurers – and an increase in premiums for those of us who have never had an accident in our lives. Whilst we can rally against garages and insurers in on the racket, it's galling to have the police involved too! Surely at a time when a crash victim may need to be rushed to hospital or is even killed, it's awful to think that the police are making a quick call to gain £25.
It is however legal because police claim that after calling the garage and letting them know about the accident, this information is not allowed to be passed on. However, there are claims that some garages are ignoring this rule.
So how can you protect yourself? The only answer is to call your insurers the second you step out of your vehicle. That way they will deal with the removal and storage of your car and there's no way for the police to get involved in this. Sadly this might not stop the ambulance chasers – and that is another, ridiculous twist in the tale!
Of course, choose an insurance company with good ethics and you may not find yourself in this situation. Call Westhill Insurance Services – good guys to have on your side in an emergency. They will guide you to the best possible policy to cover you for moving your vehicle after an accident etc. With their belief in good old fashioned service, Westhill will take care of you from initial enquiry through to any claim you may have. It's good to know that some things never change.
Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.