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Close to 131,000 motorists caught driving without insurance in 3 years, new data reveals

This totals almost £400,000 that offenders have paid in fines, these drivers also face hefty bills if they are involved in an accident

Published on 22nd February 2024

  • On top of fines, drivers had to pay out at least £16,000 to retrieve their car after being seized for not being insured between 2021 and 2023(1)
  • 41% of offences reported by age were committed by under 30s, as data shows how younger drivers have been hit by steep insurance increases.
  • 1 in 10 (10%) UK drivers have driven someone else’s car without checking their insurance.
  • Louise Thomas, motoring expert at Confused.com car insurance explains how not checking policy details could land drivers with hefty fines.

Almost 131,000 motorists have been caught driving without insurance between 2021 and 2023(1), paying out almost £400,000 in fines(2).

That’s according to new data obtained by Confused.com through Freedom of Information requests to UK Police Forces. According to the data, the police seized close to 166,000 vehicles between 2021 and 2023. However, for the majority of seized vehicles, motorists were forced to pay out on top of the fine to retrieve their car. Over the 3 year period this set drivers back a further £16 million collectively.

Driving without insurance carries serious financial consequences for offenders, with fines now as much as £300, with a 6 point penalty too(2). However, if a driver is in an accident without being correctly insured, they could be paying out thousands in damages. The driver would have to pay to fix damage to their own vehicle and any third party too.

It’s clear being caught driving without insurance can set drivers back a significant amount. However, recent car insurance price hikes could explain why so many motorists are taking the risk.

The average cost of car insurance in the UK reached £995 at the end of last year, which is a steep £366 (58%) increase year-on-year(3). That’s according to the latest car insurance price index by Confused.com, powered by WTW. However, for some, this bill is significantly higher. Younger drivers are seeing huge increases to their insurance premiums, with some now paying over £1,000 more compared to this time last year. Eighteen year olds are now facing premiums upwards of £3,000. And drivers up to the age of 43 are all paying more than £1,000, on average. This means the cost of car insurance across the board is at the highest on record.

With younger drivers paying more for insurance, it’s no surprise that 41% of offences reported, broken down by offender age, were committed by under 30s. This is especially concerning as many of these drivers wouldn’t qualify as being able to drive another car on their comprehensive policy. This suggests they have actively driven without a policy in place.

‘Driving other cars’ is something that drivers can include on a comprehensive insurance policy if they’re over 25. However, this isn’t something that’s included as standard, despite what many drivers believe. According to further research, more than a third (34%) of UK drivers aren’t completely aware of whether their insurance policy includes ‘driving other cars’. And 1 in 10 (10%) UK drivers have knowingly driven another car that isn’t their own, without checking their insurance first. Over a third (34%) thought they had insurance at the time of driving. But a further 29% admitted they took the risk as they were only driving a short distance. And 11% didn’t think they’d get caught. Meanwhile, almost 1 in 5 (18%) admit to driving someone else’s car relying on their own comprehensive policy.

It’s clear there’s a need for more education around ‘driving other cars’. Not only can being caught cost you money fines, it can put drivers seriously out of pocket if they need to make amends following a claim.

For more information on ‘driving other cars’, visit Confused.com’s guide.

Louise Thomas, motoring expert at Confused.com car insurance, comments “It’s easy to assume if you have a fully comprehensive policy you’re covered to drive another car. At least this used to be quite common. However, today, this doesn’t come as standard on these policies, so if it’s something you think you need, check your insurance details carefully. It’s also important to remember that ‘driving other cars’ only covers you for third party damage. So if you’re in an accident, you could be paying for any repairs to the vehicle you are driving.

“If you drive another car regularly, you should consider becoming a named driver on the owner's policy. This way, you have better cover if you do need to make a claim. You also don’t run the risk of not being covered if you change your own policy. Alternatively, you could look at options like temporary insurance if it’s not something you do on a regular basis.

“It’s concerning how many drivers have been caught driving without insurance in recent years. Whether this is a deliberate decision to avoid paying for insurance, or from lack of knowing what drivers are covered for on their own policies. And with the cost of insurance so high at the moment, it may be tempting to cancel your insurance to help save some money. But this is a serious offence. If you do this you’re putting yourself at risk of a fine. You also impact any third party as well if you’re unable to cover the cost of the damage in the case of an accident.

“There are still ways you can save money on your insurance without cutting it out altogether. Considering things like increasing security, or changing how much excess you pay could help bring the price down. Our guide to helping you save money on car insurance offers more ways to do this. Use these tips so you don’t need to cancel your policy and face the huge financial risk that comes with it.”


Notes to editors

About Confused.com

Launched in 2002, Confused.com was the UK's first digital marketplace for car insurance and is one of the leading brands in the sector, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the years to include home insurance, van insurance, motorcycle insurance, and car finance comparison, as well as a number of tools designed to save consumers money.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

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