As many as one in five motorists have driven without car insurance, according to new research by Moneysupermarket.com.
The survey revealed that nearly 20 per cent of drivers have actually broken the law and got behind the wheel of a car they were not insured to drive.
The worst offenders are those in their 20s – 42 per cent of motorists in this age group say they have driven without car insurance
, whereas in the over 60s age group, just seven per cent have driven without adequate insurance.
And it is men that are more likely to break the law than women, with 25 per cent admitting to driving without car insurance compared to just 16 per cent of woman.
Of those who have driven without car insurance, nine per cent drive their own car while eight per cent were driving someone else's.
"It is a shame to see so many of us have taken to the roads when uninsured to drive, and this year's results reveal a worrying trend," said Steve Sweeney, head of moneysupermarket.com car insurance
, "in 2008 we found 15 per cent of motorists admitting to the offence so 2009 has seen an unfortunate increase.
Mr Sweeney warns that driving without car insurance, no matter how far the distance, is against the law and anyone caught doing it could face hefty penalties which can include a £200 on-the-spot fine and six points on their licence.
"There's also the possibility of the car being impounded - involving a £150 collection charge and £20 per day charged for storage," he said, warning that if Brits are forgoing their motor insurance for cost reasons it "clearly is a false economy."
Mr Sweeney says that apart from the obvious dangers associated with driving without car insurance, uninsured motorists cost the industry £500million each year in claims which means the cost of car insurance rises for more responsible motorists.
"Motor insurance is required by law and although times are tough there is no reason for motorists to consider cutting corners when it comes to something so important.
"By covering yourself to drive a car, you are not only protecting yourself in the event of an accident, theft or damage, but you are safeguarding yourself against other less cautious motorists as well."
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