Smash with uninsured driver calls for damage limitation
DRIVERS are at increased risk of costly accidents involving uninsured drivers as car insurance premiums continue to soar. And while the right insurance goes a long way, many drivers have discovered that when the other party isn’t insured the costs can still pile up.
An estimated 1.5 million people drive without insurance in the UK, even though it’s illegal to do so, with the number of uninsured drivers as high as one in four in some inner-city areas. And it is feared even more drivers could risk taking to the road without cover if car insurance premiums continue their recent rise.
Premiums are up 30 per cent since January 2009 and AA Insurance has predicted a further 20 per cent rise by the end of 2010, amounting to a huge rise over the past two years as insurers pass on the cost of a burgeoning compensation culture and an increase in fraudulent claims.
Young drivers are typically the hardest hit by higher premiums, with the biggest increases affecting the “third party fire and theft” policies typically bought by younger drivers with cheaper, older cars. The increases have sparked new fears that higher costs will mean many younger drivers may be tempted, illegally, not to insure their cars at all. And a rise in uninsured drivers inevitably increases your chances of a costly collision with one.
Currently, drivers without insurance can leave their vehicle off-road until they arrange the appropriate cover. But under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement Rules coming into force next year, drivers without insurance must either insure their car or officially declare it off-road.
Those who do neither face a fine of up to £1,000 and eventually confiscation of their car. Motorists who don’t use their cars and leave them uninsured for a year or more will be able to apply for an exemption by arranging off-road storage and declaring it through the Statutory Off Road Notification (Sorn). The new rules will also see the DVLA database being combined with the Motor Insurance Database to identify drivers who do not have insurance.
To ensure you are not in danger of unwittingly driving without insurance you can use the Motor Insurance Database, at www.askmid.com, to check, free of charge, that you car is on it. The database can also be used to find out if a vehicle with which you’ve been in an accident is insured.
The new measures should in the long term see the levels of uninsured drivers come down again. But in the meantime high insurance costs mean the risk of accidents where at least one party is not insured continues to grow.
if you have a comprehensive policy that covers you in these instances, only a small minority of policies will protect your noclaims bonus (NCB), with the excess usually still payable. Even the tiny band of insurers that will protect your NCB – including Hiscox and Chartis – typically require the details of the uninsured party, excluding victims of untraceable hit-and-run accidents from NCB protection.
Ian Crowder of the AA explained: “With most insurers