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Uninsured Drivers – bringing an injury claim against uninsured drivers

They say at least one in ten of us will be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. With insurance premiums on the rise and ongoing recession showing no signs of ending this figure is only going to increase.

So, you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident. The driver behind has driven into the back of you. You get out, exchange details and go on your way. You report the accident to your insurers and they make arrangements to immediately repair your vehicle and provide you with a courtesy vehicle at the same time.

In the meantime, your neck and back stiffens and you realise you have suffered a whiplash injury. You make enquiries about bringing a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurers. You instruct Solicitors to act for you. It is at this stage probably, that your Solicitors deliver the bad news: “You’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver”.

What does this mean ?

It means that the person who hit you did not have motor insurance. Your claim will therefore be dealt with not by an insurance company but by the Motor Insurers Bureau. (MIB)

Initially you breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that your claim WILL be dealt with – just not by an insurance company.

However there are drawbacks. The MIB do not just pay claims “willy nilly”. They will certainly make sure you have jumped through all the legal hoops you possibly can. In particular, they will insist on you reporting the matter to the Police. If you did not report the matter to the Police (believing everything to be in order at the time !) they may refuse to deal with the claim.

If the MIB feel that you know (or ought to have known) that the driver was not insured – they will refuse to pay out on your claim. For example: John drives to Bills house to pick him up to go out for the night. Bill says: “Nice Car John – when did you get it ?” John says: “It’s not my car – it’s by cousin’s. He is staying with us at the moment and I asked if I could borrow it”. If later on that evening John crashes the car injuring both himself and Bill the MIB will argue that Bill should have known from that conversation that John was not insured (or unlikely to have been ) to drive the car . They will not pay out on the claim.

If the accident does not occur in a “public place” then again, the MIB will not pay out. So taking the scenario above – if John crashes the car on Bill’s drive way and not on a public road – the MIB do not have to pay out.

If and when the MIB do pay out on your claim, they have a £300 excess on property damage. So, if your Policy Excess (with your own insurance) is £250 – you can’t recover any of that because it falls within the £300. If your excess was £500 – then you can claw back £200 from the MIB.

Another disadvantage is the loss of any no claims bonus and your own insurance premiums going up. Normally, if you are involved in an accident with an insured motorist and the accident is not your fault, you can claim any personal injury and other losses from the other driver’s insurers. You will have your car repaired with your own insurer and maybe a courtesy vehicle provided by them. Your own insurer will then recover their costs of hire and repair from the other insurers as well. Because they have made a full recovery – your no claims bonus is protected and your premiums do not increase.

If you bring a claim against the MIB however your own insurers can not claim their losses against the MIB. Under these circumstances they have not made a full recovery and you do lose your no claims bonus ! (I am aware from the Direct Line advert that they are probably the exception).

Finally, MIB claims take absolutely ages to be processed. There is just one office in Milton Keynes dealing with all the thousands of uninsured and untraced drivers claims. Fast turn around of claims is hardly top of the agenda.

The answer: Why can we not have insurance discs on vehicles. In the same way we have tax discs which make it clear whether you have tax, you can have an insurance disc which shows whether you have valid insurance. This would undoubtedly reduce the number of uninsured drivers out there !

This page © Copyright 2013, Vashti Norman Solicitor, Mediator and Notary Public.