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Driving without insurance

Uninsured drivers cost the UK approximately £380 million per year (that equates to a whopping £30 a year per premium for each insured driver). Driving without at least third party cover is illegal. The consequence of being caught with no insurance could be up to a £5,000 fine and gaining between 6 and 8 points on your licence. Surely driving uninsured isn't cost-effective to anyone, or so you would think.

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Thanks to numberplate recognition technology, tied to a database of every car insurance policy in Britain and with cameras in place on every motorway and major road in the country, the Police are now in a position to impound more and more uninsured cars all the time - approximately 1,500 cars are seized each week in the UK. Despite this crackdown by the Police, the MIB (Motor Insurers' Bureau) still estimate that approximately 1 in 25 drivers are not insured. It is also interesting to note that recent research has discovered that uninsured drivers are also proven to be the most reckless on the roads and more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.

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Can I get away with driving whilst uninsured?

It is a paradox that many drivers who struggle financially drive larger cars - simply because these are often cheaper to buy than smaller ones, because of their higher running costs. However, drivers who own an older but still powerful car, which obviously is capable of faster speeds, will find that their insurance premium will, in turn, be higher than someone motoring around in car with, say, a 1 litre engine. In fact, the average car insurance premium is now nearly £900 with many younger drivers having to pay multiples of that. With the UK's economy is its current state of turmoil many drivers feel this is just too much money to pay and, in some cases, perhaps it costs more to insure a vehicle for a year than the price of the car itself.

That said, however, the last three years have seen a drop by 50 per cent of young people between the ages of 17 and 20 driving without insurance - arguably because of the hugely increased probability of getting caught - although 1 in 3 uninsured drivers are still under 30. Uninsured driving is commonplace in Greater Manchester and Merseyside although it's Birmingham that has the infamous title of being the city which houses the greatest number of uninsured drivers.

It may be assumed that driving uninsured is a conscious decision made by a driver. However it is a worrying fact that many people are driving on public roads each day without the knowledge that they are not covered and, therefore, liable to prosecution. Fully comprehensive insurance does not necessarily mean you are insured to drive another car with the owner's permission. This is a common misconception and drivers should always check their insurance policies before driving a different car to ensure they are covered.

On a similar note, anyone lending a car to someone else should be very careful to make sure that the other person is insured. Allowing a car to be driven by an uninsured person is an offence with similar penalties to actually driving the vehicle whilst uninsured oneself!