Hit me baby one more time

Britney Spears may have taken the first exit off the straight and narrow many moons ago but it seems her driving is now as erratic as her behaviour.

The pop flop caused a three car pile-up recently when she lost control of her Mercedes sports car in LA. Fortunately nobody was hurt, and it’s understood no charges are being pressed.

Britney found herself in hot water last year when she was spotted crunching into another car and then driving off without leaving any contact details. Sadly for other law abiding motorists Britney’s not the only driver out there cutting corners and failing to pay up. It’s estimated that up to two million motorists in the UK are driving without insurance, and as many as one in 10 of us have suffered an accident with one of them.

Those that have will know the woes of seeking adequate reimbursement when hit by an uninsured driver. MoneyExpert.com gives some top tips to those on both sides of the fence.

For the uninsured

It’s worrying but perhaps no surprise that with premiums constantly climbing more and more people are taking up the illegal option of driving without car insurance.

But with literally hundreds of policies of varying types available, there’s really no reason why anyone able to afford a car shouldn’t be able to insure it legally.

Bump up your excess

The excess on your car insurance policy is the amount you’ll have to pay from any claim before your insurance company will start to pay out.

The level of the excess is up to you and will vary from one provider to the next, but many will allow you a higher excess in return for a lower overall premium. Whilst you will have to pay more in the event of an accident you will at least be driving legally, and if you drive carefully should be able to avoid paying out at all.

Pay as you go

Car insurance premiums can seem like a massive burden if you don’t actually do a great deal of mileage. Most insurers will take the distance you travel into account but if you do use your car very rarely and still feel you’re being overcharged it may be worth using a pay as you drive scheme.

Norwich Union has taken the lead in Pay As You Go, offering a new policy which charges a small monthly fee, and then charges only according to where and when you drive. It’s obviously not for everyone but they claim it could save you as much as 30%.

Some further tips

There are other ways to save money on car insurance – here are some tips:

  • Fit an immobiliser
  • Park your car off the street in a garage
  • Drive a cheaper car
  • Take a Pass Plus driving exam
  • Add an older driver to your policy

A worst case scenario for the insured driver

With as many as one in 20 drivers believed to be driving without insurance the chances of having an accident with one of them are all too high. If you’re one of the unlucky victims then you need to follow some simple steps to avoid carrying the entire cost yourself.

Key details

At the time of the accident you’re unlikely to know whether the other party is insured or not so you’ll need to collect all the usual details –

  • Take a note of the other person’s car model and registration number
  • Note the their name and address (even if you suspect you’re being given false details)
  • Record what the other driver says
  • Take notes about the damage to both vehicles
  • Take as many details as possible with regard to the weather conditions, road markings etc
  • Try to get the contact details of any independent witnesses

Compensation

Policies vary from one provider to the next in terms of what you’ll have to pay out. If you have comprehensive car insurance your provider will pay for the cost of the damage to your car, but you may have to pay the excess and could also lose your no claims bonus.

Direct Line offers cover against uninsured drivers as part of its comprehensive policy whereby you won’t lose your no claims bonus, and won’t even have to pay the excess should you be hit by an uninsured driver.

The last resort

If you only have third party cover and you can’t trace the uninsured driver that caused the accident the only option is to seek compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

For a claim to stand a chance you’ll have to have the other drivers’ car registration number and the accident must have been reported to the police. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau will want to see a copy of the accident report.

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