How being hit by an uninsured driver affects your car insurance

If you’re in a road accident with an uninsured driver, your car insurance excess and no claims bonus can be affected.

Amy Smith

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What are uninsured drivers costing you?

The cost of compensating the victims of uninsured drivers is added on to your car insurance premiums, making them more expensive than they should be.

If you drive without car insurance you face a fixed penalty notice of £300 fine and up to six penalty points on your licence. Your car is likely to be seized too.

If the case is taken to court, you could receive an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving.

Around 130 people are killed and over 26,000 injured in accidents with uninsured drivers every year, according to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

Key points

  • If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, some insurers will protect your no claims discount, waive your excess, or both
  • You’ll need to meet certain conditions, such as noting down vehicle details and proving the accident wasn’t your fault
  • The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) may be able to compensate you for uninsured driver claims, if your insurance doesn’t cover it
  • If you’re at fault, it’s possible that your insurance may have to pay to repair an uninsured driver’s vehicle

What to do if you’re hit by an uninsured driver

Report the accident to the police and note down the:

  • Involved vehicle’s make, model and registration number
  • Third party’s name and address
  • Vehicle damage and driving conditions
  • Contact details and statements of any witnesses

If you can, take pictures of the scene to use for evidence. Get in touch with your insurer as soon as you can to let them know about the accident.

The other driver must give you their insurance details. You can use the askMID service if the driver isn’t being forthcoming, or report them to the police for refusing to give their insurance information.

232 uninsured drivers were caught in Scotland as part of a week-long joint operation between the MIB and Police Scotland in January 2019

According to the MIB

The impact on your car insurance

Normally, the other party’s insurance will cover you if the accident was their fault.

But being hit by an uninsured driver means you’ll have to make a claim on your own policy, as long as you have comprehensive insurance.

If you’ve got third party only or third party, fire and theft car insurance, you can’t claim for your damages.

You’ll have to pay an excess fee and potentially lose your no claims bonus.

Some providers understand the unfairness of this, so will waive the excess fee. Other insurers have an uninsured driver promise, which means you won’t lose your no claims bonus.

Making a claim is still going to increase the premium you pay, when it comes to renewing your car insurance.

According to Defaqto, 59% of 345 comprehensive car insurance policies had an uninsured driver promise to protect your no claims discount, refund your excess or both.[2]

Conditions and clauses for an uninsured driver claim

You might need to meet a few conditions to be eligible to claim if you’re hit by an uninsured driver, like:

  • The accident wasn’t your fault
  • You’ve got the details of the uninsured vehicle and of the driver
  • You’ve got the contact information of witnesses

While your claim is being settled, your insurer will reduce your no claims bonus and ask you to pay your excess.

If the claim is settled in your favour, and insurer has an uninsured driver promise, your no claims discount won’t be affected, and it may refund your excess.

What if the accident was your fault?

Even if the other party is uninsured, if the accident is your fault then you’ll be responsible for their repair costs.

This should be covered by basic third-party insurance, however, repairs to your car will only be covered under comprehensive insurance.

If the uninsured driver is prosecuted and their car is sezied or crushed, there’ll be no car to repair. Your insurer still might have to pay their injury compensation though.

What if the responsible party can’t be traced?

Failing to stop after an accident is an offence, so you can report the other driver to the police within nine months of the accident happening.

You’ll have to pay an insurance excess fee if you claim for damages to your vehicle or personal injury.

There are certain situations where insurance claims will be rejected, such as:

  • Out of date information
  • Accidents caused by driver negligence
  • Unroadworthy vehicles
  • Incorrect cover

Reasons for claim rejections can vary, so read up on your insurers claims procedure and exclusions before starting the process.

Third party insurance and the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB)

If you’ve got third party only or third party, fire and theft car insurance, you can’t claim for your damages.

You might be able to submit a claim to the MIB, which was set up to compensate victims of uninsured and untraced motorists.

It’s funded by insurance companies, which is why uninsured drivers push up the cost of your car insurance.

Investigations can be slow, depending on the complexity, and it’s only recommended that you claim with the MIB if you don’t have comprehensive car insurance to claim on.

The MIB won’t pay out if the accident was your fault though, even if the other driver had no insurance.

MIB exemptions

While the MIB will try to help you, there are circumstances that will void your claim, such as:

  • If you were a passenger in a car that you knew wasn’t insured
  • If you were driving under the influence, or a passenger of someone who was
  • The accident didn’t happen on a public road that the public has full access to

If any of the MIB’s exemptions apply to you, you’ll have to pay for repairs and medical fees yourself, which is why it’s so important to get the right car insurance cover, just in case.

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[1]Last checked 20 May 2019

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