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What Happens to Uninsured Drivers in an Accident in the UK?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated April, 22, 2023

According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, there are around 1 million uninsured drivers in the UK.

But what happens to uninsured drivers in an accident in the UK, and what can you do if you get into an accident with a driver who’s uninsured? 

Read on to find out.

Is It Illegal to Drive Without Insurance in the UK?

Under UK law, all drivers are required to have at least third-party insurance to drive, which is the most basic level of insurance that covers compensation costs for injuries to others or property damage.

If you own a vehicle and it’s meant to be used on the roads or used in public places, regardless of whether you (or anyone else) drive it or not, you have to have insurance. 

The law even requires drivers to have insurance even if their vehicle is parked on the street or driveway. 

The only way to legally own an uninsured vehicle is to declare it as a Statutory Off-road Notification (SORN).

What Are the Penalties for Being an Uninsured Driver?

The minimum file for driving an uninsured car is £300 and 6 penalty points on your licence.

If the case is more serious and it goes to court, the driver might get their licence taken away and receive a large fine. UK law doesn’t put an upper limit on how much a driver can be fined in these circumstances. 

What’s more, if you have an uninsured car, you’ll land an IN10 endorsement which will remain on your licence for 4 years and raise the cost of your car insurance premiums, provided that you take out one.

What happens if you’re caught without SORN on a parked vehicle?

The penalty for not having a SORN is £80, however, you’ll also have to pay a fine of 100£ for owning a vehicle that’s not insured. 

Do I still need insurance if I am test driving a car?

Regardless of whether you’re test driving or not, if you’re driving a car on roads in the UK, you need to have the vehicle insured. There are temporary car insurance policies available for people who are test driving a car, which can cover you for between an hour and 30 days.

What Happens If I’m Hit By an Uninsured Driver?

One of the first things you need to do after getting into an accident is to find out whether the other driver is insured.

To learn whether they have insurance, you can:

  • Contact your insurance provider, who will check on your behalf. 
  • Use the Motor Insurance Database’s (MID) online service, ask MID, where you can look for the name of the insurer, policy number, and claims contact details. 

If you were hit by an uninsured driver in the UK, you’ll need to collect as much information as possible that will help their investigation, including:

  • The time and date of the accident
  • The model and registration plate of the other car
  • The uninsured driver’s name and address
  • Photographs and details of the accident
  • Witness statements 

You’ll have to inform your insurance provider of the accident, even if you don’t plan to make a claim and report an uninsured driver to the police, especially if the driver is refusing to share contact information when there is ‘reasonable ground’ for the request. 

You also must report the accident within 24 hours of it taking place.

Can you make claims against uninsured drivers in the UK?

You can make a claim against an uninsured driver through your insurance provider if you have fully comprehensive car insurance, but the claim process is much more complicated than for a standard claim.

Third-party insurance doesn’t cover against uninsured drivers. If you want to claim for injury after being hit by an uninsured driver, you can claim from the MIB (Motor Insurance Bureau), which provides uninsured motorist coverage.

If you had an accident with an uninsured driver, you’ll need to make sure that your claim to the bureau is within the scope of the MIB Uninsured Drivers Agreement. They’ll investigate the cause of the incident and if they determine that the other driver is at fault, you’ll receive compensation for any injuries, property damage, or certain financial losses.

Moreover, it is always best to have extra protection on expenses when it comes to car insurance and get a legal cover.

How Are my No Claims Affected if I am Hit By An Uninsured Driver in the UK?

If you’re claiming against an uninsured driver, your insurance provider will reduce your no claims bonus and charge you the excess. Once the claim is settled and it is determined that the other driver was at fault, your insurer will refund your excess (depending on your policy) but only if they have an uninsured driver promise and your claims bonus won’t be affected.

 Are There Excusable Reasons for Driving Without Insurance?

Although driving without insurance is illegal, there are certain ‘Special Reasons’ when you might avoid more severe penalties for not having one, including when: 

  • Your insurance policy has been cancelled without notice.
  • Your insurance provider has failed to enforce a policy. 
  • You were driving another person’s car and believed it was insured.

Drivers that didn’t know they were driving a vehicle that’s uninsured may get away with a smaller fine or fewer penalty points, however, an accidental policy lapse is not a legitimate defence

Many insurers automatically renew clients’ covers automatically, but it is your responsibility to make sure you’re covered.

Bottom Line

Driving without insurance is an issue that impacts everyone and makes things more complicated when you get into an accident, regardless of whether you’re the uninsured party or not. If you’re driving without insurance and you haven’t declared your car as SORN, you might have to pay some hefty fines if you got into an accident (or if you get caught by the police).

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

1.Can an uninsured driver claim against me in the  UK?

Yes, if they’re not at fault, they can claim damages, however, they’ll almost certainly be fined for driving a vehicle that’s not insured. 

If you have a comprehensive insurance policy your insurer will cover the cost of repairing both your cars, but if you only have third-party insurance, you’ll have to pay for your own car’s repair.

2.Can you claim against an uninsured driver?

If you get hit by an uninsured driver but your car is insured (and you have comprehensive insurance), you can make a claim via your insurance provider. If not, you can claim from the MIB.

3. Will my insurance go up if someone hits me?

Regardless of whose fault the accident was, your car insurance premium will increase after any claim or accident.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.