Claims involving uninsured or untraceable drivers – April 2016

Paul LewisClaims involving uninsured or untraceable drivers

Paul is MASS Regional Co-ordinator South Central and Partner and Head of accident management at George Ide LLP

You may be alarmed to learn that there are more than 1,000,000 uninsured drivers on UK roads. Uninsured drivers are said to add £30 to every insurance premium. So what happens if you have an accident with an uninsured driver or the person causing the accident cannot be traced?

There are more than 350,000 ‘hit and run’ accidents in the UK every year. Fortunately, most accidents do not involve personal injury, but even cases involving property damage and expense can cause worry.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) was established in 1946 by agreement between the Department of Transport and the motor insurance industry. It is funded by a levy on all our insurance premiums and the resulting fund is used to compensate the victims of uninsured or untraceable drivers.

In addition the MIB is responsible for operating the Green Card System here in the UK. This is an EU requirement and allows UK citizens to make claims following accidents involving foreign registered vehicles. The foreign insurer will often have a UK based agent to handle claims.

If the driver causing an accident is uninsured, claims will be considered for the damaged vehicle (if the insurance cover on the vehicle is not comprehensive), hire charges and damage to other property. These claims are usually subject to a £300 ‘excess’. A claim can also be made for injury compensation and treatment costs, together with losses resulting from injury such as lost earnings. Limited legal costs are also paid by the MIB for this type of accident claim. The same applies for claims involving untraceable drivers, although damage to the vehicle can only be claimed if the ‘offending’ vehicle can be identified.

There are conditions to making a claim:

  • You must make your claim for injury within three years of the accident date.
  • You must make your claim for vehicle/property damage within three years of the accident date in Scotland and within six years in the rest of the UK (9 months if the other driver is untraceable).
  • All accidents must be reported to the police within 14 days for personal injury or within five days for vehicle/property damage. If this does not happen you may not be able to make an MIB claim.

Clearly all is not lost if you are the victim of an untraceable or uninsured driver. The key is to act quickly and seek advice early.