Fears pandemic impact will see more drivers uninsured

PUBLISHED: 05:30 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:02 30 October 2020

A car seized in Ipswich for being driven without insurance  Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

A car seized in Ipswich for being driven without insurance Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

Victoria Pertusa

Police have warned motorists about the consequences of driving without insurance as industry experts fear more people could start taking the risk.

A driver by the Operation Sentinel team after the car was found to be uninsured  Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYA driver by the Operation Sentinel team after the car was found to be uninsured Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Last year, the courts dealt with 1,285 cases of people using a motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks in Suffolk.

The majority of offenders were male (84%) and under 40 (71%).

This week saw the launch of a national campaign dubbed ‘Operation Drive Insured’, developed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which compensates victims of uninsured drivers, in partnership with the National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence and Investigation committee.

Although the bureau saw claims fall 26% since 2016, there are concerns that the economic impact of Covid-19 could cause more people to risk driving without insurance.

In 2019, it paid out £322m in compensation, funded by a levy on insurers and ultimately borne by insured motorists’ premiums.

Chief operating officer, Anna Fleming said: “We’ve made great strides in getting more people to drive insured in recent years, but the sad reality is, with Covid-19 putting so many people under financial strain, uninsured driving levels could creep up.

“Everyone suffers the consequences of uninsured driving. We’re fully committed to our partnership with the police so we can get as many people as possible to drive insured to make roads safer and fairer for everyone.”

Last year, 137,410 vehicles were seized for having no insurance in the UK – about one every four minutes.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “Driving without insurance is extremely irresponsible and is an offence taken very seriously by the force.

“We have a number of tools at our disposal, such as the automatic number plate recognition system, to help combat this offence.

“The consequences of driving while uninsured can be extremely serious. Uninsured drivers can have their vehicle seized and potentially crushed, along with a £300 fixed penalty notice and six licence points.

“They can also face court and receive a driving ban and an unlimited fine. Uninsured driving convictions also show on basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, which can impact employment prospects.”

How to find more affordable car insurance deals, according to the Association of British Insurers:

Choose a less powerful vehicle

Get a ‘black box’ or ‘telematics’ to help demonstrate how safe the driver is

Drive more safely to avoid collisions, prevent penalty points and protect a ‘no claims discount’

Use price comparison sites or a BIBA registered broker to find a good deal

Limit the car’s use and reduce annual mileage

Protect a car from theft by using an alarm or immobiliser and keeping it in a garage

Pay an insurance premium up-front

Consider a higher excess – the cost paid in excess of what an insurer pays if a claim is made

Comply with legal requirements by being honest to an insurer about changes to the use and condition of a vehicle

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