Crawford & Company

08/02/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/02/2021 09:16

Computerised car keys don’t lie … fraudulent GAP claim revealed

Key facts

When a policyholder was paid £24k (the value of his car) by his RTA insurer after the car was allegedly stolen, he then presented a claim to the gap insurer for a further £9k.

The gap insurer instructed Crawford's Legal Services to investigate.


The policyholder had alleged that on the afternoon of 5 September 2020, he had driven to a country park to walk his dog around a lake.

When he returned to the car park, it was alleged his car was gone. He reported the theft to the police who provided a crime reference number but did not investigate.

The RTA insurer followed suit in not scrutinising the claim. Acting on behalf of the gap insurer, CLS obtained the car keys and had them forensically examined. This analysis revealed that both keys had last been used on the morning of 5 September 2020. This means it would have been impossible for the policyholder to have driven to the lake as alleged.

The key analysis also revealed what had probably happened and it certainly wasn't what the policyholder alleged. The keys showed a number of errors with the brakes, airbags, and driver's door. These errors were indicative of the vehicle being involved in a significant incident; all before the vehicle was said to have been stolen.


The policyholder denied his vehicle had been involved in any kind of incident. However, he did not pursue the claim any further. Some would argue this was telling.

RTA insurers are routinely paying theft claims without checking the data from the keys which, as shown in this case, can be very enlightening.

We may never know what really happened to the vehicle, but the fact the policyholder works for a scrap metal yard (which advertises its car crushing expertise), could provide a clue!

For help with fraud challenges in the UK, please contact:

Peter Oakes
Head of Counter-Fraud, Crawford Legal Services, UK
E: [email protected]