Motorists offer all manners of outrageous excuses for not having insurance when pulled over, from “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.
Police report the top three reasons drivers do not 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%). 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 behaviours.
A quarter 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 it is insured not the person.
Almost three quarters 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 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:
“Whilst some of the excuses given for uninsured driving might raise a smile, it’s a serious offence that can often hit the pockets of motorists who comply with the law. If someone is prepared to run the risk of being caught driving uninsured, then it makes you wonder what other risks they’re prepared to take on the road. This is why we give our customers uninsured driver cover as standard.
“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.”