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Uninsured Drivers and the chaos they cause

Comment 8th July 2010

A real example

I write from bitter personal experience. Last year a 16 year old youth was permitted to drive a car by another slightly older qualified driver who was named on the insurance policy covering that vehicle. The 16 year old was over the limit and lost control of the car on a bend demolished a garden wall ending up in our front garden. The car was obviously written off and the total damage to our property and a car parked in the drive was in the region of £7 – £8K. Add the cost of writing of the third party car and its recovery and the time spent by the third party's insurer, our household insurer and our car insurer, the total costs exceed £10K. The wrangling is still going on as the third party insurer is considering action against the named driver and the youth but do not expect to make any significant recovery. Ultimately the claim will probably be met through the Uninsured Drivers Fund, something every insurer pays into and is obviously then included in the premiums that we all pay.

What would I do

Where  underage drivers cause accidents they should be made to pay. However young unisnsured drivers say aged 16  cannot be expected to have the money to pay. Why ultimately should everyone else?

I would therefore arrange for the Unisured Drivers Fund to loan the Uninsured driver the cost of the claim. If they were an adult and working then as part of the criminal court prosecution, I would through the court system set an attachment of earnings order to the uninsured driver, so they had to pay back the loan to the Uninsured driver fund together with interest and administration costs. If they could not pay then the normal recovery action should be carried out culminating in seizure of goods and ultimately bankruptcy.

For a young uninsured driver with no income, I would treat the loan from the Uninsured Drivers Fund similar to a Student loan except that once they were working the repayment would be made in the same way as an attachment of earnings order. Again interest and administration charges would be passed on until the loan was repaid.

Why does this matter?

  • It would ensure that Insured drivers do not pay for others except in a few cases where recovery could not be made.
  • It would ensure that parents who did not want an attachment of earnings order affecting their son or daughter in future life would keep more of an eye on what their children were up to.
  • It would make all uninsured drivers face the full consequences of their actions – older drivers who had previously had their license withdrawn would get something a bit more meaniful than a fine or prison (which would cost the taxpayer – unless they had caused injury to the person – in which case lock them up).
  • It would eventually reduce insurance premiums and make claims easier to handle as the majority of claims would be dealt with in principal by the courts allowing the final claim costs to be attached to the defendent as and when they had finally been calculated.
  • It would have no ultimate cost as all adminstration costs would be added to the claim and interest charged until paid.
  • It would go a long way to reducing joyriding as those aged 19 or 20 who were already being financially effected would discourage the next generation by their own experience.
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