What can I do if I’m the victim of an uninsured driver?

What are your options if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver? According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), around one in 25 drivers on Britain’s roads are uninsured, so while the odds are not huge, still, many hundreds of law-abiding drivers do find themselves in this situation each year.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a non-fault road accident with an uninsured driver, you could be facing a lengthy claims process to recover your costs. In fact, without an insurer covering the other driver’s liabilities, there’s every chance you could be out of pocket.

So what can you do?

Verify the other driver’s insurance details

First of all, it’s important to ask for the other driver’s insurance details as soon as you can after an accident. If they seem vague about the details, or refuse to give them, it’s possible they were driving without insurance.

  1. Call the police if they won’t give you any insurance information (you should do this anyway if anyone is injured or if the accident is blocking the road). Refusing to give insurance information at the scene of an accident is a criminal offence.
  2. If the other driver has been vague about their insurance, don’t leave it to chance. You can make a one-off roadside check on the other driver’s insurance details if you have the MIB’s smartphone app, called askMID Roadside service. A search currently costs £4.00. This will either verify their details or alert you to the fact that you’re dealing with an uninsured driver.
  3. Let your own insurer know about the accident, giving them details of the other vehicle involved. They have access to the central Motor Insurance Database, which might help in establishing if the other driver is insured.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau might be able to help

The MIB is very active in tackling the number of uninsured drivers on our roads, but it can also help law-abiding people claim compensation if they’re a victim of an uninsured driver, or the driver can’t be traced.

A small portion of everyone’s car insurance premiums in the UK goes towards funding the MIB.

They’ll consider claims for vehicle and property damage, as well as personal injury if you are unable to claim compensation from another source, such as an insurance company.

The process of making a claim with the MIB can be lengthy, as they have to assess all the known facts, obtain reports from police, motor engineers and witnesses and verify the identity of everyone involved.  They might also need to liaise with your own insurer and the DVLA. If you are claiming for injury, they’ll need copies of your medical records too.

After all these investigations, the MIB will decide if you’re entitled to compensation. If they decide that you were partly responsible for the accident, any payment you are offered will be reduced accordingly.

Getting help from a solicitor

If you want, you can appoint a solicitor to help you make your claim to the MIB. They have an in-depth knowledge of the claims process and could help you to negotiate a better compensation award in complex cases. The disadvantage of course is that they will charge you a fee for their services, but many work on a “no-win-no-fee” basis.

Your no claims bonus

In normal circumstances, if you’ve claimed on your own car insurance for repairs in a non-fault accident, your insurer will usually claw back their outlay from the other driver’s insurer (as long as it’s a clear-cut case of who was at fault). In this situation your no claims bonus won’t be affected.

When the third party doesn’t have insurance, there’s a very good chance your insurer won’t be able to reclaim all their costs; this will affect your no claims bonus at renewal.

Some insurers offer an “uninsured driver promise” to protect the no claims bonus of policyholders against uninsured drivers and cover their excess. Ask your insurer about this at renewal.

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