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Uninsured drivers’ top excuses revealed

The research amongst recently retired traffic officers indicates that many drivers believe they can get away with not having cover by providing an excuse. Examples include “the car drives perfectly well without it” to “it was my husband’s car. He is dead but he is still insured.”

One motorist was driving a Lamborghini and claimed they were covered on a third party extension of their insurance policy for a Nissan Micra, which when investigated was shown to be wholly insufficient.

The top reasons given by drivers as to why they don't have insurance are, firstly not knowing that they were uninsured (38%) and secondly that they had poor administrative capabilities when it came to renewing their policy (33%). But in more than one in eight (13%) cases, police officers state they believed the driver had deliberately driven without insurance, attributing the offence purely to criminal behaviour.

A quarter (25%) of former traffic officers reported a problem with international drivers not understanding UK insurance laws, such as not knowing that the driver has to be named on the insurance policy. The respondents highlighted that drivers from Eastern Europe often believe that it is the car that is insured not the person.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of the former traffic police officers said, in an emergency situation, the decision to penalise is at the traffic officer’s discretion. Over a third (36%) identified ‘a partner giving birth’ as a situation where they would not penalise a driver for being behind the wheel uninsured.

Steve Barrett, head of car insurance at Churchill, commented: “Our research demonstrates the need for education about the risks of driving without insurance, particularly for tourists and international drivers. Many motorists claim ignorance as an excuse, but it is up to everyone getting behind the wheel to make sure they are protected as it is the driver’s responsibility to know the laws.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.