If you want to drive in the UK, you are required to ensure that you are insured on the vehicle you are operating. Driving without insurance carries great risk and if you are caught you face some strong penalties.

The MIB estimates there is 1 million uninsured drivers in the UK which accounts for 4% of all drivers in the country. They cost an estimated £2 billion a year to our economy.

What is car insurance?

Car insurance protects you financially in the event of an accident. You pay your insurer every month and if you have an accident where you are at fault they will cover any costs that arise, as long as they are covered by your policy.

Car insurance can come in three types:

  • Third Party – This type of insurance will cover any injuries to other people and any damage to any 3rd party vehicles or property involved. This will not cover you for any damages sustained to your own vehicle.
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft – This covers everything that is in third party but also provides protection in case your vehicle is stolen, it also offers protection from any damage sustained by fire.
  • Comprehensive – This will include everything covered by third party, fire and theft. It also provides cover for any damage to your own property and injuries to yourself.
drive without insurance car destroyed by fire damage
A car that has suffered from fire damage

Can you drive without insurance?

If you are caught driving without insurance, or worse yet have an accident, the consequences will be severe. It is not worth the risk. Driving without insurance comes with the following penalties:

  • An IN10 conviction.
  • An on the spot £300 fixed penalty notice.
  • 6 Points on your license. Points will remain on your license for four years.
  • Police have the power to seize and in some cases destroy the vehicle.
  • If it goes to court then an unlimited fine and possible disqualification from driving.

However it is not just the legal consequences that will cause you a headache. When it comes to finding a new insurer you will need to disclose a IN10 conviction to them for the next five years which will result in a significantly more expensive policy.

How much more will insurance cost if I have an IN10?

The answer to this depends mostly on your age and whether you have a history of negligent driving.

If you are over 25 then you should expect an increase of around 10-15%. So whilst it may be more expensive you should still be able to find cover.

However if you are under 25 then you should expect and increase of 15-20% percent. Drivers under the age of 25 already pay on average £1750 per year on insurance so this could bring the cost closer to £2100 or higher.

Why would someone drive without insurance?

There could be many reasons why someone would drive without insurance.

For young drivers the cost of getting on the road already is expensive with them spending an average of £1400 on driving lessons. When the average policy is already £1750 per year and with generally low wages the barrier to entry is quite steep.

When it comes to other age groups it may be because they have a a history of accidents and are seen as a risk in the eyes of insurers, leading them unable to afford car insurance.

However in a lot of cases it is simple a mistake and the driver did not intend to drive without insurance but the policy lapsed. Unfortunately this is not seen as a defense in the eyes of the law so you will still face the consequences of driving without insurance.

When am I able to drive without insurance?

The short answer is never if you are on public roads, stationary or moving, the vehicle must have insurance. There is some times where you are not required to have insurance whilst you have the car but none of these allow you to drive the car on a public road. You do not require insurance if the following applies to you:

  • You have declared your car SORN. If you have done this you have told the DVLA it is off the road. The car is not permitted to be on a public road in any circumstances whilst it has a SORN.
  • The car has been stolen, written off or scrapped. In this case you just need to let the DVLA and insurance provider know.
  • The car does not have a registered keeper. If you are buying a car you do not need to insure it until you become the registered keeper, if on a test drive ensure you are covered.

Accidents involving uninsured drivers

According to estimates 40% of all British drivers claim they have been involved in some form of accident, 26% of drivers claim they had an accident within two years of getting their license. Therefore it is inevitable that some of these will involve people driving without insurance.

I have been hit by an uninsured driver

If you have had an accident then do the following:

  • Take photos and collect evidence immediately. Do not spare any details as it will help you later. Make sure you have photos of all the damage and their number plate.
  • Ask the other driver for their insurance information, if they refuse you will need to report it to the police as a formal complaint.
  • Contact your insurance.

If you are on a comprehensive policy then your insurance should cover you for any damages received. Check if it includes an uninsured driver promise, if it does then your premiums and no claims will be protected.

Things get a bit more complicated if you only have third party insurance, you will not be able to make a claim against your policy as this is not covered. However there is a compensation scheme that has been set up by the MIB (Motor Insurers’ Bureau) you just need to complete the application

You can also claim for costs against the uninsured driver and they will be liable to pay these costs. However you can not bank on this money ever coming back to you as they simply may not have the means to pay it.

drive without insurance - pennies falling out of a savings jar

How to find cheaper insurance

First of all, if you are renewing your insurance you should never accept the first offer your current insurer gives you. This is because you can always have it reduced if you threaten to go elsewhere. Personally I reduced my insurance by 30% when I last had to renew, originally they wanted to increase it by 5%.

Secondly, you can use a service like Uswitch, this is a price comparison site which allows you to filter the search based on what is best for you and it will help you save money. It only takes about 10-15 minutes to find a new policy.

So in summary driving without insurance is not worth the risk. You expose yourself to a lot of risk in the event of an accident and a motoring conviction. Don’t drive without insurance or it may cost you a lot more than it would if you simply paid for a policy in the first place.

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