A national campaign has been launched by police forces across the country to crack down on uninsured drivers.
The campaign comes off the back of staggering year-on-year collision rates caused by drivers without valid insurance. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau, that compensates victims of uninsured and untraced ‘hit and run’ drivers, recorded over 26,000 personal injuries in 2018 - equivalent to one person in the UK being injured every 20 minutes. A high level of fatalities are caused by uninsured drivers or untraced ‘hit and run’ drivers with over 130 people killed each year.
During the campaign police will access the Motor Insurance Database (MID), a central record of all live UK motor insurance policies which enables police officers to check moving vehicles’ registration plates to see if they are insured. If a driver denies being uninsured the Motor Insurers’ Bureau can liaise with insurers to confirm if a valid insurance policy exists or not.
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.
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.
If you 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.
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 drivers committing further offences, be it using a stolen vehicle, driving while disqualified or substance abuse. 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?