A worrying increase in uninsured drivers in the UK - Call Wiser
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A worrying increase in uninsured drivers in the UK

The number of uninsured drivers on UK roads has rocketed by 10 per cent in the past year, according to official figures released today by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

The MIB is the mechanism in the UK through which compensation is provided for victims of accidents caused by uninsured and untraced drivers, which is funded by an estimated £30 a year from every insured driver's premiums.

Despite a steady downward trend since 2005, causing uninsured driver numbers to almost halve, the organisation reports that compensation pay-outs due to uninsured drivers has increased from 21,972 in July 2014 to 24,213 in July this year. This represents a year-on-year monthly increase of 2,241 or 10.2%.

The Bureau has identified that a third of uninsured drivers are under 30 years of age and suggests that the soaring cost of insurance is encouraging higher risk motorists to ‘chance it’ without proper insurance cover in place.

In a bid to halt the rise, today it launched a nationwide awareness campaign called ‘Gone in Seconds’.

Chief Executive at the MIB, Ashton West said: “Worryingly, this year we have seen the number of claims to MIB rising week on week.”

“Every year, thousands of people are injured and killed by uninsured drivers. They pose a real threat to other motorists and road users. To address this, we are working proactively with police forces across the UK.”

“Our biggest concern is getting the message across to drivers under the age of 30. We know that for these drivers, their car is an important part of their social life and gives them credibility.”

As part of the ‘Gone in Seconds’ campaign, the Metropolitan police will be screening a video outside Scotland Yard in London, which highlights the problem of uninsured driving and the police’s role in seizing and often destroying uninsured cars.

“Since 2005, when police were granted powers to seize vehicles, the level of uninsured driving has reduced by 50per cent to current levels of 1 million,” Mr Ashton said.

In addition to expensive insurance premiums, the other factors blamed for the rise in uninsured-driving claims include cheaper fuel encouraging more driving, ‘cold calls’ which encourage people to make claims and ‘stretched’ police resources, making it harder for uninsured vehicles to be seized.

According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, young male drivers are twice as likely to make an insurance claim and the value of such claims are typically three times higher than the average claim.

In addition, 40% of those injured in uninsured driving claims are under 30 years of age.

A spokesperson for the MIB said: “We need to get the message through to young people that uninsured driving is dangerous, illegal and it’s socially unacceptable, which is why we are launching the new campaign.”

“It is designed to be personal to the driver, that getting caught and losing your car, friends, girlfriend and social status is simply not worth it.”

Last month’s figures revealed that over 27,000 uninsured cars had been seized so far this year. The Met led the way with 9,935 vehicles seized, followed by West Yorkshire police who seized 27,688 vehicles, according to a study commissioned by Churchill Car Insurance.

Seized vehicle stats

Of the 70,430 cars apprehended by police last year, two were Ferraris, three were Lamborghinis, 10 were Bentleys and 40 were Porsches.

70,430 cars were taken by police last year, 1,892 seized cars were sold at auction – raising over £1million.

6,736 vehicles were crushed, generating a scrap value of over £600,000.

Industry body warns motorists ‘do not to cut corners to get cheaper insurance’

Last month, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) revealed that thousands of motorists were cutting corners to get cheaper motor insurance, but also warned that this was backfiring on them.

In some cases, motorists were driving illegally without realising.

According to the ABI’s figures, 212,000 dishonest insurance applications were made last year, an increase of 18% compared to 2013.

However, fraudulent applications for insurance will automatically void any cover provided from the date of issue.

Nearly a quarter of reports made to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB)’s ‘Cheatline’ related to dishonest applications for motor insurance. The most common lies exposed included ‘forgetting’ to disclose previous claims or unspent convictions when asked, giving a false address or post code for a lower risk area, and parents insuring in their name a vehicle being mainly driven by their son or daughter (commonly known as ‘fronting’).

Beware of “ghost” brokers

The ABI also warned motorists against “ghost broking” scams, where unauthorised advisers sell cheap, but bogus, insurance policies. These scams leave drivers without valid cover facing prosecution and having their vehicle seized and crushed.

It revealed that motorists are being tempted by cheap prices offered by unauthorised insurance providers in pubs, clubs and university campuses and others advertised in newsagents, via social media, and on ‘professional-looking’ websites.

While the ABI recommends shopping around to find a good deal and using brokers to find the right policy at the best price, it stresses the importance of buying insurance from a reputable source.

It recommends using the MIB’s Motor Insurance Database (MIB), which holds details of all vehicles insured in the UK, and the FCA’s Financial Services Register to check whether the provider is authorised.

The ABI’s Fraud and Financial Crime Manager, Mark Allen, said:

“Insurers recognise that innocent mistakes and oversights happen. But anyone lying to get cheaper motor insurance, or tempted by cheap insurance offers without first checking that they are genuine, risks driving illegally. The consequences include getting a criminal record and a massive financial headache if found to be at fault for a crash. The risks are just not worth it – especially when you can shop around for the right policy at the lowest price.”

“Industry initiatives, such as the Insurance Fraud Register, MyLicence that allows insurers to check for any motoring offences, and the work of the Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department in tackling ghost brokers are helping to reduce the scope for insurance application fraud.”


What do you think about these recent findings? Leave your opinions in the comments section below:

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