The government recently announced that police had seized their millionth car since imposing stricter rules on uninsured vehicles in 2005. However, despite the growing number of cars being removed from the road, some drivers continue to run the risk. In fact, it is estimated that one in every 25 cars on the road today is uninsured, showing that we are still some way off solving this insurance conundrum.
While some might claim it’s a victimless crime, the truth is actually very different. Some estimates suggest that the average policyholder will have to pay over £30 per year to cover the cost of those who choose to flout rules (Source: Directgov).
Of course, things become even more complicated if you’re involved in a collision with an uninsured vehicle. Without any legal cover, gaining compensation for your vehicle and any injuries sustained can prove to be prohibitively challenging.
Policing Uninsured Drivers and Destroying Cars
Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal that insurers or policyholders can do to combat this issue. As with any form of crime, there will always be some who are prepared to take a chance. Much will depend on the ability of law enforcers to detect those who don’t have a valid policy, as well as the accuracy of data.
Automatic number plate recognition has helped to revolutionise this identification process. With devices now fitted to all police cars, officers are alerted instantly when a vehicle passes them without insurance. Of course all of this costs money to develop and maintain, which is passed on to tax payers and motorists alike.
Associated Costs Levied on Policies
As this demonstrates, it’s not just the cost of resolving claims and the direct consequences of collisions with uninsured drivers that is driving up the price of policies. All aspects of monitoring, locating, and punishing offenders needs to be paid for and unfortunately that bill is often footed by those who abide by the law. As frustrating as this may be, it’s just another unfortunate by-product of a minority who choose to drive without insurance.
Of course there are sometimes legitimate reasons for this. For instance, some drivers have been lured in by companies offering dramatically reduced rates – particularly younger car owners. With huge savings on offer, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the policy they offer isn’t even worth the paper it’s printed on. Earlier last year, it was claimed that around 20,000 may have been victims of fraudulent companies offering fake insurance documents (Source: Telegraph).
So while the driver believes that they have a valid policy, the truth is actually very different. Consequently, thousands could be on Britain’s roads completely oblivious to the fact that they aren’t insured. This form of scam may not be new, but it still manages to catch out unsuspecting consumers – particularly youngsters. Therefore, it is always important that you check the fine print and only ever use insurers that you know and trust.
No Excuses for Avoiding Car Insurance
However, for every legitimate reason, there are always going to be more excuses. Statistically, younger drivers are more likely to take a risk, with males between 17 and 29 the most common offenders. The West Midlands is also a hotspot for car insurance dodgers, with 60% of the worst 20 postcodes found in this region (Source: MIB).
The cost of policies may be used as a defence for some, but that certainly doesn’t excuse risking other road users. This is particularly true of those in positions of influence or who earn significant wages. For example, footballer Nicklas Bendtner was fined £5,000 after being caught out by police (Source: Insurance Times). This kind of mindless and inexcusable action is pushing up the cost of policies for everyone. Fortunately, strict policies with regards to fining drivers and destroying uninsured vehicles are helping to make sure that people are punished accordingly.
Hopefully, as more uninsured drivers are caught and lose their vehicles, fewer will be prepared to run the gauntlet in the first place. Should this happen, the £30 that is being added to the average policy can finally be removed, making insurance more affordable to all.