Drivers without car insurance cost motorists £500m a year

18 August 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
British motorists are having to foot the bill for those who drive around without car insurance, being hit with fines lower than for other driving offences but costing insured drivers £500million a year.

UK drivers are paying an average £31 a year more for their car insurance premiums as a result of covering the cost of those who are uninsured, according to research from comparethemarket.com.

This figure only takes into account the rise in insurance premiums, it does not include any additional costs incurred by a driver involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, which is applicable for more than 10 per cent of drivers in the UK.

Other costs include the 19 per cent of victims of uninsured drivers who pay the costs surrounding the incident themselves, or the 19 per cent who use their own car insurance policy, and therefore face losing their no claims bonus if their insurance company does not protect them against claims involving uninsured drivers.

Research carried out by YouGov on behalf of comparethemarket.com has revealed that 87 per cent of UK motorists feel that the government is not doing enough to deter people from driving without car insurance, and believe that stricter penalties should be introduced.

The average fine for driving without car insurance is just £250, which is too low in the opinion of 79 per cent of drivers. In some cases, it is less than fines for other driving offences committed by those who do at least have insurance, and the lack of clear and concise punishment serves as little deterrent to illegal drivers.

Jeremy Moll, head of insurance at comparethemarket.com said that the company is "keen to get consumers the best possible deal on their motor insurance. One way the Government can help with this objective is to take action to reduce the number of illegal drivers on Britain's roads and that has to be through more severe penalties.

"If the number of illegal drivers decreases then the industry will have more flexibility in pricing policies for law abiding motorists. At present motor policies are hit by the knock on effect of uninsured drivers and the financial implications they create; so any steps to deter uninsured drivers would be a move in the right direction."

Theresa Villiers, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport said of uninsured drivers on the roads that "They are adding money on to every law-abiding driver's insurance premium at a time when the cost of living is increasing sharply.

"It is high time the Government took decisive action on this problem. The average penalty for an uninsured driving offence is a fraction of the cost of a year's car insurance, incentivising law-breaking. Motorists have had enough of footing the bill for uninsured drivers."

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