The nightmare is much more likely to become a reality than many realise, with one million uninsured drivers now on Britain's roads .
Amazingly, the level of claims to the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB), which compensates victims of uninsured drivers, has remained fairly constant for almost a decade.
But that situation couldn't last and the cost of picking up the pieces behind irresponsible drivers has started an inevitable rise which will hit all motorists in the pocket.
Every three days, someone is involved in an accident with an uninsured driver in the UK according to figures from the MIB, reports Mirror Online .
This week, the bureau revealed the number of accident claims it receives has risen by almost 10% to around 12,000 a year in the past 12 months.
It’s the first rise in almost a decade and, as a result, the MIB expects to pay out £256 million to victims this year - which will add an average of £15 to each motor insurance premium.
Uninsured drivers: The facts
* 145,000 uninsured cars were taken off the road in 2016;
* 58,000 of these were crushed - a rate of more than 1,000 a week;
* 12,000 victims have been compensated by the MIB so far this year;
* This year, the MIB expects to pay out £256 million from money provided by insurers;
* The MIB is funded by insurers, which means the more claims it receives, the more drivers’ premiums go up.
According to the bureau, the increase in claims is down to more people driving without cover and more vehicles on the UK’s roads.
MIB chief executive Ashton West said: “The numbers of claims handled by MIB each year highlights the devastating impact of uninsured driving on communities and families up and down the country.
“Ultimately our message is the same as always – if you are driving without insurance, you will get caught.”
The maximum penalty for driving without insurance is a £5,000 penalty and points on a driver’s licence. They could also face disqualification.
I’ve been involved in an accident - what should I do?
It was my fault
If you’ve been involved in an accident, and you were at fault, you won’t be able to claim any damage back from the driver - even if they were uninsured.
In this case, you’ll have to follow procedures through your insurer.
It’s worth noting that your premium will likely jump as a result (and can stay high for up to three years), and your no claims discount will be affected, unless you have “no claims protection cover” in place.
It was the uninsured driver’s fault
If you are involved in an accident that’s not your fault, the other driver involved must cover your medical costs and vehicle repairs. This is where third party insurance kicks in.
However, if the driver who hit you is driving without cover, you may have to claim the damage back through your own insurer (providing you have fully comprehensive cover).
This could mean your premium will go up and your no-claims discount is lost, unless you have no claims discount protection cover in place.
Some providers do recognise that this is unfair and will make an exception to stop you losing money as a result, but this is at their discretion.
Direct Line and the AA for instance, both offer an “uninsured driver promise”.
This means if you make a claim for an accident that is not your fault and the other vehicle is uninsured, you won’t lose your no-claims discount or have to pay an excess.
If your provider does not offer this, there’s a high chance your premium will go up at renewal.
If you do not have comprehensive insurance or need to claim for an injury after being hit by an uninsured driver, you may wish to claim from the MIB rather than through your own insurer.
“By claiming through the MIB, you will keep your no-claims bonus and your premium should be unaffected, preventing your car insurance costs from rising,” explains Uswitch.
You’ll have to make a claim for your accident and, if your case is accepted, they will pay for any repairs or replacements incurred.
This can take up to 18 months though, so be prepared to pay up first and then be reimbursed later down the line.
The good news is that if your case is accepted, your no claims and premium will be protected, meaning you won’t lose out.
The bad news is that any vehicle damage is subject to a £300 excess, and the MIB won’t be able to compensate in cases where the driver cannot be traced.
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