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What happens if you have an accident with an uninsured driver?

Written by Kasey Cassells, Senior content editor

Edited by Samantha Downes, Finance Writer, 24 September 2020

Find out what happens if you are injured or your car damaged by an uninsured driver

Car insurance claims against uninsured drivers

If you’ve been involved in an accident and hit by uninsured driver, the car insurance claims process can be tricky. 

Thankfully figures from the Department for Transport show that UK roads are among the safest in Europe. 

But uninsured drivers pose a serious risk to the safety of other drivers, and all drivers end up paying the bill.

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Counting the cost of uninsured drivers

The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) was established in 1946 to compensate the victims of negligent uninsured and untraced motorists. 

The MIB runs the Motor Insurance Database (MID) – a record of all active motor insurance policies in the UK.

  • each year, thousands of people are injured or killed by uninsured drivers and without the correct insurance their compensation comes from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau

  • this bill is paid for through the insurance premiums of all law-abiding motorists

  • evidence suggests that uninsured vehicles are consistently used to commit crime and are more likely to be involved in a collision

  • the not-for-profit organisation also works alongside DVLA to issue automated warnings to registered vehicle owners that appear to be uninsured via the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme

  • motorists can check to see if their vehicle is appearing as insured on the MID for free, by visiting www.askmid.com

How many uninsured drivers are there in the UK?

It’s estimated there are at least one million uninsured drivers in the UK. According to MIB every 20 minutes someone in the UK is injured by an uninsured or untraced ‘hit and run’ driver, with many suffering life-changing injuries. 

  • this equates to 26,000 injuries each year or nearly one in every five road traffic casualties.

  • in 2019, over 137,000 vehicles were seized across the UK because they had no insurance, with London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford among the worst affected areas

  • once a driver is found to be without insurance, there is a £300 fine and six penalty points on their licence, but they can have their vehicle seized and can face court with an unlimited fine and a driving ban amongst the possible outcomes

What is the cost of uninsured driving?

Driving without insurance is illegal and comes with a maximum fine of £5,000

  • it’s estimated that the additional risk of these uninsured drivers being on the roads adds an average of £33 per year to every driver’s car insurance premiums

The uninsured drivers promise

Some insurers offer protection against uninsured drivers by including a feature in the policy, often referred to as an uninsured driver’s agreement or promise. 

  • these types of policy offer protection if you are hit by an uninsured driver or an untraced driver, meaning you will usually not lose your no claims bonus or have to pay an excess if you make a claim against an uninsured driver. 

  • not all car insurance policies include this extra level of protection, so it's best to check with your insurer if you're covered

Can I claim against an uninsured driver?

If you have been involved in an accident or been hit by an uninsured driver or untraced driver, your car insurance claim will become more complicated than a standard claim. 

  • your insurer can’t recover any repair or replacement costs from the driver’s insurer

  • this is also the case when your car has been damaged by an untraced driver (for example when another driver has hit your parked car and left the scene without being identified), or when your car has been subject to theft, vandalism, or weather damage 

Can I claim on my car insurance if my car has been vandalised?

Vandalism to cars, is at an all-time low, under 700 reported incidents a year. The bad news is it still cost motorists £1.9bn last year.

Vandalism is a criminal offence but because the driver is an untraced driver, you may have to claim on your own insurance

  • if you have fully comprehensive car insurance you should be able to make a claim

  • you may have to pay an excess

  • you will have to report it to the police and get a crime reference number

How do I make a claim against an uninsured driver?

There are two options for claiming against an uninsured or untraced driver, and each may have a different effect on your car insurance costs in the long term.

Comprehensive cover and uninsured driver claims

If you have comprehensive insurance, you may wish to claim for any damage through your own insurance provider. 

By making a claim through your insurer, it’s likely you’ll lose some or all of your no-claims bonus — remember, your no-claims bonus is based on whether you’ve made a claim, not whether you were to blame for the incident. 

  • your no-claims bonus will not be affected if you had no-claims bonus protection at the time of the incident 

  • if your policy included an uninsured driver clause, you will not lose your no-claims bonus and may not have to pay an excess on your claim

Even if your no-claims bonus remains intact, your insurer may increase your premium when your renewal is due. 

Claiming through the Motor Insurer’s Bureau

If you do not have comprehensive insurance or need to claim for an injury after being hit by an uninsured driver, you may wish to claim from the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) rather than through your own insurer. 

The MIB compensates victims of uninsured drivers. By claiming through the MIB you will keep your no-claims bonus and your premium should be unaffected, preventing your car insurance costs from rising.

  • however, claims through the MIB can take up to 18 months, so you may have to pay for any repairs or replacements before being reimbursed if your case is accepted

  • claims for property damage, including damage to vehicles, are also subject to a £300 excess, and the MIB is unable to compensate for property damage where the driver was not traced – for example in a hit and run incident

Can an uninsured driver claim against me?

Yes, if the accident is deemed to be your fault your insurance will pay out.

However, they also risk being prosecuted or fined for having no insurance.

Will I pay more for car insurance after claiming against an uninsured driver?

It is likely your car insurance premium will rise after any accident or claim.

There are several simple steps you can take to reduce the cost of your car insurance premium, including raising your voluntary excess, adding a named driver to your policy, or changing your car for one in a lower insurance group.

How to get cheaper car insurance

You can often find a better deal by shopping around for car insurance rather than just accepting your renewal quote, so use our tool to compare prices from several different insurers.

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch