What happens if my car's hit by an uninsured driver?
Being involved in a car accident is scary and stressful enough, without the extra worry that the other driver is uninsured.
As a motorist, you’ll know that if another driver causes an accident, their Car Insurance policy will usually cover you for any damage to your vehicle, plus any medical expenses. But what happens if a driver who doesn’t have insurance hits your car?
At Swinton, our Classic and Premier comprehensive car insurance policies include uninsured driver protection to recover your excess and protect your no claims bonus if your car is hit by an uninsured driver, giving you peace of mind should you happen to be unlucky enough to be hit by one.
Facts and figures on uninsured drivers
To drive a car on UK roads, you must have third party car insurance at the very least. Put simply, it is against the law to drive without car insurance.
If someone is caught driving without insurance, they could face a fixed penalty of £300, and six penalty points. An unlimited fine and disqualification from driving could also be imposed, if the case went to court, and the police have the authority to seize and destroy an uninsured vehicle.
Despite driving without insurance being illegal, and the serious consequences of getting caught, there are still one million uninsured drivers on UK roads.
This huge number has actually been halved from two million in 2005, according to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), whose spokesperson says is in part to enhanced police powers to seize vehicles, running public awareness campaigns, and writing to drivers who are under suspicion of not being insured.
It’s clearly a serious problem that puts honest, responsible drivers in danger. Plus, research by the Association of British Insurers has shown that uninsured drivers can put law-abiding drivers out of pocket, with insurance fraud adding an average of £50 to each policyholder’s annual bill in the UK.
What to do if you're hit by an uninsured driver
First and foremost, try not to panic. While that’s easier said than done, your insurer is likely to require some specific information from you to help with their investigations following an accident with an uninsured driver, so it’s important that you stay calm.
What sort of specific information is required? Well, this varies from insurer to insurer – some may ask for photographs from the scene of the accident, or witness accounts. At Swinton, we need the following from you:
- The registration and model of the other vehicle
- The other driver’s details, including their name and address
You’ll probably have to claim on your own policy if you have comprehensive Car Insurance, and you may have to pay the amount of your excess and lose your no claims bonus while investigations are ongoing.
If we establish the other driver is uninsured, and the accident is their responsibility, your excess will be refunded and your no claims bonus will be reinstated. You’ll also receive a refund for any additional premium you may have paid.
This is not necessarily the case for all providers, so please ensure you check your policy wording carefully.
Does third party insurance cover against uninsured drivers?
You will not be covered against uninsured drivers if you only have third party insurance. However, if you discover that the driver who caused your accident is uninsured, you can try to claim some costs back from the MIB, who are working to reduce the level of uninsured driving in the UK.
What happens if an accident was my fault?
If you cause an accident and you have a comprehensive Car Insurance policy, the cost of repairing both your car and the uninsured driver’s car is covered.
If you only have third party insurance, you’ll have to pay for any repairs to your own car yourself, but the uninsured driver’s car will still be covered.
The other driver may still be fined and even have their car seized and destroyed, if they’re found not to have insurance.