350,000 motorists risk massive fines by driving without insurance

  • 350,000 motorists admit to driving uninsured in the last 12 months*
  • 1% of uninsured drivers can’t afford the premiums
  • 18-24 year olds the most likely to drive uninsured

Hundreds of thousands of British motorists have admitted to driving without insurance, risking hefty costs and prosecution if they are caught behind the wheel without adequate cover, according to MoneyExpert.com.

The independent price comparison site has revealed that nearly 350,000 motorists have broken the law in the past year by failing to insure themselves before getting behind the wheel.

And MoneyExpert says young people are most likely to drive a vehicle without adequate insurance with almost half of all offenders – 120,000 people aged 18 to 24 – admitting to having done so over the past 12 months.

According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau the costs of uninsured drivers adds an extra £30 to the annual premiums of all honest drivers, with around £500 million being paid out in claims annually**.

The legal minimum requirement for car insurance is Third Party cover which is meant to ensure that anyone involved in a serious accident is covered for medical costs and personal liability. Those who don’t properly insure their vehicle risk 6-8 points on their license, with the possibility of a ban, and a fine of anything up to £5,000.

Sean Gardner of MoneyExpert.com said: "It’s a real worry that many people persist in driving without insurance. They are putting the personal and financial security of others at risk."

"Insurance premiums have not risen to such a degree that cost can be the only excuse. There are many ways to get a good value policy but regardless of the cost as a legal requirement uninsured drivers should never get behind the wheel."

Nearly half (46%) of those driving uninsured blamed an oversight as the reason for doing so, while one in ten motorists (11%) claimed they could not afford the necessary premiums. But MoneyExpert.com is warning that avoiding the insurance costs is a false economy that could have serious financial and legal implications.

Sean Gardner continued: "It’s remarkable that such a high percentage of people are driving without insurance because of an oversight, with their policy having lapsed. The potential consequences are huge, with anything from a driving ban to a £5000 fine being a real possibility."

"We’d urge anyone who’s unsure about the state of their insurance policy to check out the details as soon as possible, and ensure that they’re sufficiently covered."

Reason for driving uninsured vehicle and % of people who gave the reason
It was an oversight as my insurance had lapsed – 46%
It was an emergency and I had to drive someone else’s car – 11%
Could not afford insurance – 11%
It was deliberate – 13%
Other – 18%
Don’t know / prefer not to say – 5%

MoneyExpert.com offers a unique service which enables people to find the financial products which best meet their specific needs. It includes exclusive research conducted by MORI, which reveals providers’ service levels. This information is married up with a financial database which lists the products suited to the customer. For the first time, people can review a product’s price, features and also the level of service offered by the provider to enable them to make a more informed choice.

MoneyExpert.com aims to demystify the complex world of personal finance, and to help inform customers of the choices available. The service can be found at www.moneyexpert.com

* YouGov interviewed 2,000+ GB adults online between 31st March and 2nd April 2008.
** Data provided on the website of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau ()

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