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Claiming Against an Uninsured Driver: Everything You Need to Know

November 10, 2023

Driving requires responsibility, and a vital component of that responsibility is having the necessary insurance in place to protect you in the event of a car accident. Unfortunately, not all drivers uphold this duty, leaving victims of their negligence grappling with the emotional, financial and physical toll of their carelessness.

If you find yourself involved in a non-fault accident with an uninsured driver, understanding the subsequent steps and potential routes for compensation is essential. Let’s take a closer look.

Verify the Lack of Insurance

Before taking any action, it's essential to ascertain the other driver's insurance status. While some drivers might be honest with you outright, there are some additional steps you can take to verify:

Request Documentation

Politely ask the other driver for their insurance details. In some cases, they might have forgotten to renew their policy, or there may be other reasons for the apparent lack of insurance.

Online Checks

Tools like the Motor Insurance Database allow you to check a vehicle's insurance status; use this facility to verify the information provided or lack thereof.

Note: As a rule of thumb, don’t believe a driver who outright tells you they don’t have insurance; they might be lying to prevent you from filing a claim, so do the research yourself if you’re suspicious.

Immediate Post-Accident Steps

Similar to any other accident, certain initial steps should be taken, regardless of the other party's insurance status:

Safety First

Before doing anything, ensure all parties are safe. If necessary, move to a safer location and turn on hazard lights, taking care that it’s safe to get out of your car - especially if you’re in the middle of a busy road.

Police Involvement

It's particularly important to involve the police when dealing with an uninsured driver; this creates an official record of the incident and validates your claim of the other party's uninsured status.

Gather Details

Now, you need to document everything - photos of the scene, vehicle registration details, witness statements, and so on. It's also vital to note down the personal details of the uninsured driver, as all of this will serve as evidence if you’re able to file a claim.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Informing your insurer promptly is essential in all cases, but especially when dealing with an uninsured driver. Give your insurance company a full account of the accident, highlighting the lack of insurance on the other driver's part - this not only gives you another recorded example of documentation to note down, but your insurance company will also be able to guide you on the next steps, while letting you know what your policy covers in the event of a collision with an uninsured driver.

Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB)

For many who end up the victim of an uninsured driver, the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) is a safety net:

What is MIB?

The Motor Insurers Bureau is an organisation in the UK which offers compensation to those involved in accidents with uninsured drivers.

Claiming Process

The process will largely resemble a standard claim; a representative at the MIB will assess your claim, and you may end up receiving economic damages proportional to the damage incurred during the accident.

A police car parked on an accident scene

Is It Worth Pursuing Legal Action?

In some cases, especially where injuries or significant property damage is involved, you might consider taking legal action and effectively suing the uninsured driver. This can be a good idea if you think that the other driver would be capable of paying for any damages, but there’s a good chance that an uninsured driver wouldn’t have the means to do so.

Reporting the Uninsured Driver

Once it's established that the other driver lacks valid insurance, it's not just a matter of seeking compensation. There's also a civic duty to report this violation of the Highway Code:

Contact the Police

As mentioned, involving the police at the scene of the accident is essential. But even if they were not involved initially, you can still file a report later. This helps curb the prevalence of uninsured drivers on the road.

What Happens to the Uninsured Driver?

Driving without insurance is illegal and can result in severe penalties for the offender, ranging from fines and penalty points to potential disqualification from driving.

Potential Challenges

While it's only fair that you receive full compensation for damages and injuries, several challenges might arise when the other party is uninsured:

Limited Compensation

Even if you’re able to make a claim via the MIB, this amount might not cover all damages, especially in severe accidents where loss of wages is a factor.

Difficulty Obtaining Damages

If you decide to pursue legal action against the uninsured driver, even if you win, there's no guarantee the driver will have the funds to pay the awarded damages. As we mentioned above, uninsured drivers are unlikely to have hundreds of thousands of pounds ready to cough up in a court ruling.

Increased Premiums

Sadly, even though the accident wasn't your fault, claiming from your insurance could result in an increase in your premium rates. However, some insurance companies might be understanding of the situation, especially if you have a no-claims history.

Key Takeaways

Car accidents are bad enough on their own, so adding an uninsured driver into the mix introduces an added layer of complexity and stress to the already stressful experience.

While no one anticipates being in a collision, particularly with an uninsured driver, it's always best to be prepared: protect yourself and your assets by understanding your insurance policy and considering additions like MIB coverage. And in the unfortunate event of an accident, especially a non fault accident, knowing your rights and the available avenues for compensation is key.