Almost two million people in the UK have driven a car belonging to someone else in the mistaken belief that they were insured to do so, according to recent research. If caught, both the driver and car owner could be fined and have points added to their licence
The research, carried out on behalf of insurance provider LV, reveals that 2.2 million motorists have driven without insurance, with the majority of these (1.8 million) mistakenly believing they were insured at the time.
Many motorists assume the insurance on the vehicle they are borrowing, or the insurance they have on their own car will automatically cover them, but this is often not the case.
According to LV:
- The number of motorists borrowing cars has risen 14% in the last year;
- One in six (18%) motorists have lent their car to someone else;
- One in twenty (5%) motorists have allowed someone else to drive their car, thinking they were insured to do so when they were not;
- Four percent simply didn’t care that the driver was not insured; and
- Close to half (47%) of car-lenders who are committing a crime by lending their car to an uninsured driver say they lend their vehicle at least once a month. Of these, a quarter (28%) lend their car to an uninsured son or daughter and 15% to a flatmate.
“The root of the problem is that many drivers assume that by having comprehensive insurance on their own vehicle, they are automatically covered to drive other vehicles – but this is not always the case,” said John O’Roarke, of LV. “Some policies offer no cover at all, some offer third party only, meaning in the event of an accident where the car borrower was at fault there would be no payment for any damage to the vehicle.”
Another issue is the fact that motorists do not perceive this as a serious crime and believe they will get away with it. Four in ten (44%) drivers say they would lend their car to a friend who is not insured to drive it, regardless of the law.
Implications for drivers
Driving a vehicle on a road or in a public place without at least third party insurance in place is illegal.
If caught you face a minimum of a fine and 6 penalty points on your licence or, if the case goes to court, the fine could be increased to as much as £5,000 and you could be disqualified from driving.
Implications for car owners
The owner of a car who allows a friend or family member to drive his car uninsured is also guilty of the offence of permitting a vehicle to be on a public road without an insurance policy being in force.
If caught, the owner faces a fine and the imposition of 6-8 points on his driving licence.