Here’s a sobering thought for law-abiding motorists everywhere: there are up to 1m uninsured drivers on our roads every day, according to data from the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). While technologies like automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) are doing their part to catch offenders, at any one time up to 4% of all motorists could be driving illegally.
As high as these numbers are, there’s a mixed picture across the UK with certain hotspots particularly rife. According to the MIB, London accounts for nearly a fifth of all uninsured drivers, with Barking and Dagenham, Enfield and Havering the worst offending boroughs.
While a good portion of these drivers are actively flouting the law to save money, there are a number of common mistakes that often lead to an unwitting lapse in cover. These include:
- Policy expiration: A driver typically fails to check the end date of their policy or wrongly assuming it will auto-renew.
- Policy cancellations: If an insurer cancels an agreement after payments are missed, perhaps because debit card details have been updated, or if a driver has failed to respond for documentation requests from their insurer, for example proof of a no-claims bonus.
- Driving someone else’s car: Many drivers wrongly assume that a fully comprehensive policy will cover them to drive other vehicles, perhaps if they’re borrowing a friend’s car, or test driving prior to a purchase.
- Wrong class of use: A vehicle must be driven according to the specified terms in the insurance agreement. For example, a driver who is using their vehicle for business purposes such as a Taxi, would technically be deemed uninsured if their policy is designed to cover Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SDP) purposes only.
Given uninsured driving is often associated with wider crime concerns, such as hit-and-runs, the penalties for being caught without insurance can be severe. Typically, they include a fixed penalty of £300 and six licence points but can sometimes extend to far bigger fines and a driving ban. As viewers of ITV’s Police Camera Action will be aware, they often lead to a vehicle seizure – in 2022, the police impounded 123,429 uninsured vehicles, equivalent to one every four minutes.
How to check if I’m insured?
If you’re now beginning to fret whether your insurance might be due to expire, don’t worry, there’s an easy way to find out if your vehicle is covered, simply check at askMID.com.
If you're borrowing or test driving another car, please do check to see if your existing policy will cover you. If you only need the car for a short period of time, you can easily take out MotorEasy Temporary car insurance from as little as £25 for an hour or more.
Finally, if like me your admin is left wanting, you can use the Motoreasy digital garage to store copies of all your important motoring documents. Just login and go to the Digital logbook section where you can manually upload a copy of your insurance policies. That way, you’ll know where to look whenever you need to check dates, prices, cover terms and contact numbers.