When one Mercury Insurance policyholder tried to fake water damage, Pete Galassi, a special investigations unit manager, was skeptical. He decided to investigate. Galassi told us:
“A Mercury policyholder claimed she was driving during a heavy rainstorm when her windows and sunroof suddenly opened. Making the situation even worse, her car then stalled and she was unable to restart it, resulting in a flooded interior.
However, the first problem, and one of many inconsistencies uncovered in her claim, is that rainfall amounts for the date of her alleged loss were minimal. The investigator who examined the 2011 BMW 550i noted [that] although the carpet was soaked and there was pooled water on the floor, there was no swampy smell or evidence of debris in the car due to supposed heavy rain. Additionally, BMW had not issued any recalls for electrical malfunctions of windows or sunroofs.
The vehicle successfully started when the key was turned in the ignition, and the investigator was able to open and close the windows and sunroof numerous times without incident. Forensics determined the insured’s car had been filled with tap water, not rainwater. The insured had stated her BMW was worth $46,000, but the bill of sale showed it was actually purchased for $29,000.
And the final nail in the coffin? The insured’s boyfriend’s mother had filed a similar claim the previous year due to damage from snow. Needless to say, the insured’s claim was denied.”
Flood damage is a real thing, part of comprehensive coverage if you choose to carry it, but it has to be real, of course, in order to get a reimbursement.