Question 2: Can I report a pre-existing claim as new?
A few weeks back, I had some damage to my vehicle. It wasn't my fault; all of the damages were weather related. It was a totally genuine claim, but unfortunately I had terrible insurance, so it wasn't covered. Since then, I've switched to the new carrier. Now I've reported it, only I claimed the accident just happened a few days ago, not a few weeks ago. It all seems like it will be covered with zero deductible. No penalty against my premium even. Should I be skeptical that it's all a little too easy? Furthermore, it is set to be repaired by the very same shop I initially got a quote from to repair the damage out of pocket. The day I took it into this shop was the exact same day my coverage began with the new carrier. Am I likely to face a criminal charge for failing to report a pre-existing condition to my new carrier and then claiming it as new?
-Iffy in Illinois
This is considered insurance fraud. You do not want to file the claim. Since your current insurance company was not in place at the time for the damages, they are not responsible for the damages.
Insurance fraud in Illinois is punished based on the value you obtained from the insurance company. If it's less than $300 or less, it is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. The amounts only go up incremently from there with that max (for over $100,000) being a Class 1 felony, punished by a minimum of four years in prison and a maximum of 15 and fines of up to $25,000.
Contact your insurance carrier right away. I'm not exactly sure what will happen next. It can vary by your company.