Home Uncategorized Tougher penalties to uninsured young motorists

Tougher penalties to uninsured young motorists

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With insurance premiums for younger drivers sky high, and one in five people getting behind the wheel without motor insurance, Brits believe young motorists caught driving without insurance should face tougher penalties, according to research from moneysupermarket.com1

Highlights :

  • Two thirds of Brits believe in tougher penalties for younger drivers caught uninsured
  • 33 per cent more uninsured drivers on the roads this year compared to 2008

The survey found two thirds of Brits (62 per cent) think motorists caught behind the wheel without adequate motor insurance should face heftier penalties than are currently being enforced. In addition, 18 per cent think the driving age should increase from 17 to 21 and 16 per cent think either the Government or the motoring industry should subsidise younger drivers to stop them getting behind the wheel uninsured.

Steve Sweeney, head of motor insurance for moneysupermarket.com said: “While 17-year-olds will be rubbing their hands with glee at finally being able to own their own motor, most will be in for a big shock when trying to insure their car. Insurance providers view younger drivers as high risk and often inflate premiums to reflect this. Despite this, young drivers should not use this as an excuse to get behind the wheel uninsured. It is vital this age group compares as many premiums as possible to get the best possible deal.

“Premiums can run into the thousands meaning they are out of reach for many drivers; however I don’t think harsher punishments are the right way to combat this. We need a solution, not more fines. Some car insurance providers had piloted a ‘pay-as-you-drive’ insurance scheme which saw lower premiums for Britain’s younger motorists. It also made them think twice about driving their cars unnecessarily. I would suggest it is time for the insurance industry to revisit these innovative models to help drive down the cost of insurance.

“The Government could also take a look at driving tests and whether they should be changed to reflect actual driving habits. More lessons for younger drivers, the inclusion of motorway driving and lessons at night could reduce the underwriting risks associated with younger drivers.”

Additional research also found the number of motorists driving uninsured across all age groups has risen by a third (33 per cent) compared to 2008[2]. A fifth of motorists (20 per cent) have broken the law compared with 15 per cent in 2008[3] – stark figures considering last week’s announcement on new rules against Brits who leave their cars uninsured. They could face fines of up to £1,000, even if the car is off the road and is kept in a garage or on a driveway. The law change will still exempt cars from having cover if it has a valid Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

Steve Sweeney continued: “It is disappointing to see so many drivers taking to the roads uninsured and it’s worrying that this number has increased to a staggering 33 per cent from the 2008 figures. The onset of recession may mean more motorists are unable to afford the cost of their insurance but, whatever the distance driving without insurance is illegal. Anyone caught doing so could face hefty penalties which include a £200 on-the-spot fine and six points on their licence.  There’s also the possibility of the car being impounded – involving a £150 collection charge and £20 per day charged for storage.”

Top tips to reduce the cost of motor insurance:

  • Keep it safe : insurers look at the risk every driver presents, so you’ll get a better deal if you can reduce that risk. By keeping the car off the road at night in a garage or on a drive you make it safer, meaning your premiums will come down.
  • Pick a smaller engine : if you’re struggling to pay your insurance then give some thought to the car you’re driving. The bigger and faster the vehicle, the more it will cost to insure.
  • Shop around : this is one of the easiest ways to save money. Don’t assume that your current provider is giving you the best renewal quote but look at other insurers using car insurance comparison tool and see if you can save.
  • Pass Plus : if you’re a new driver then you’re going to be the worst hit by rising prices. Take the time to sit your Pass Plus and insurers will see that you’re safer, helping you reduce your premiums by as much as 36 per cent.
  • Up the excess : agreeing to pay a higher excess, such as £500 instead of £100, can reduce your premiums. Don’t forget that this is what you will need to pay in the event of a claim, so be sure you can afford it.
  • Reduce your mileage : when applying for insurance, you estimate the number of miles you’ll do each year. If you aren’t travelling much then you’ll usually pay less. That means that if you car share with a colleague or decide to take the train a couple of times a week, you can bring down the price.
  • Add an older driver : if you have a partner or parent who is more experienced behind the wheel, adding them to the policy can sometimes reduce what you pay. Whatever you do, don’t make them the named driver, though. This is called fronting and could invalidate your insurance.
  • Ensure it’s adequate : as you look for the lowest price, don’t be tempted to scrap things you really need. It might cost more to have a courtesy car or legal fees paid, but if you need it then include it. Skipping extras that you can’t do without will be a false economy if you do need to claim.
  • Don’t commit fraud : when you’re trying to reduce what you pay, it can be very tempting to avoid telling the whole truth, but this is a dangerous tactic. By misleading your provider, you are committing insurance fraud. That means your cover isn’t valid and if you caused an accident you could be responsible for all the costs yourself.

[1] The research web poll was carried out between 1 September – 6 September 2009 on the moneysupermarket.com forum; with a total number of 1868 responses.

Q. What should be done about young drivers who don’t buy insurance?

The Government should subsidise young drivers (7.7 %)

The Industry should subsidise young drivers (7.8%)

Other motorists should subsidise young drivers (1.8%)

The driving age should increase from 17 to 21 (18.1%)

The punishments for driving without insurance should be tougher (62%)

None of the above (2.5%)

[2] Research undertaken by Opinium Research based on an online poll of 2,386 British adults between 27 February and 03 March 2009. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. www.opiniumresearch.com

[3] Research conducted by Opinium Research in an online survey of 2,001 UK adults between 12 and 15 February 2008. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

In 2008 15 per cent of motorists admitted to the offence compared to 20 per cent in 2009.