Police Set Sights on Targeting Uninsured Drivers
Sadly the punishment for driving without insurance is still pretty lax. You’ll be given a fixed penalty of just £300, which is often far less than the cost of insurance for most drivers.
Last week 35 police forces across the country cracked down on uninsured drivers. The action comes off the back of 11,000 claims from victims of uninsured drivers last year, many of those suffering from life-changing injuries as a result.
Increases in insurance premium tax over the last seven years are being blamed for the rise in uninsured drivers, along with recent changes to the discount rate applied to compensation payments. Efforts to tackle fraudulent claims within the industry are also being called into question.
So what happens if you get hit by a driver without insurance?
Compensation for accidents involving uninsured drivers is paid out by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau; they collect their funds from an annual levy that’s paid into by insurance companies via us, the policy payers. The cost for each year is determined by the level of claims, last year it crept up by £6 million to £256 million, the levy for 2018 is yet to be agreed on.
Fortunately, in recent years, the number of drivers on our roads without insurance has been falling. Back in 2004, the rate of claims was an astonishing 25,000, but since 2016 this figure has been slowly creeping up again. Which isn’t good news for average Joe motorist.
Uninsured vehicles often mean criminal activity
As petty theft and car crime can be a gateway to more serious criminal behaviour, the same can be said of driving with no insurance.
Evidence points to uninsured vehicles being used to conduct broader criminal activities such as drug dealing and burglaries; they’re also more likely to be involved in a collision.
What’s the penalty for driving uninsured?
Sadly the punishment for driving without insurance is still pretty lax.
You’ll be given a fixed penalty of just £300, which is often far less than the cost of insurance for most drivers. You may have your vehicle seized which would incur a £150 release fee; this is payable upon proof of having the correct insurance in place.
You could also be subject to a higher insurance premium and be given six penalty points; there’s also the possibility of facing court prosecution with an unlimited fine or be disqualified from driving.
These are all could be/maybe’s, only serious repeat offenders will feel the full force of the law, which means most motorists will probably only receive a telling off and a £300 Fixed Penalty.
To kerb the enthusiasm for driving without insurance this fixed penalty needs to at least treble. If it were made more than the cost of insurance, it wouldn’t make sense in risking it.
Another deterrent would be to seize and impound every car. Granted that would require vast spaces to keep these vehicles as well as recovery trucks working around the clock, but who would risk £1,000 fine and losing their car for the sake of not having insurance?
Where are the worst offenders located?
We share the roads with over a million uninsured drivers, but East London has the highest percentage in the whole country. That means 1 in 8 cars on the road are driving illegally. Heading to North or South East London will drop your chances of being hit by someone uninsured to 1 in 11.
Based on the 2016 figures Birmingham has just over 55,000 uninsured vehicles, Manchester 37,000, Belfast nearly 31,000 and Liverpool 27,000.
The South West of the country had the fewest with just 1 in 73, the second safest place to motor was Scotland with 1 in 71.
What if I’m hit by an uninsured driver?
As long as you’re insured fully comprehensive, you’ll be able to claim for the accident via your insurer. This will probably affect your no claims bonus though unless it’s protected or you have an insured driver promise with your policy.
You can try and claim via the Motor Insurance Bureau; they would then compensate you for the claim, your insurer should then reinstate your no claims discount and cancel any increase in premium.