When it comes to driving, the importance of car insurance cannot be overstated. The figures and finances surrounding uninsured driving in Britain make for alarming reading. Especially when taking into consideration the relative ease of finding cheap car insurance, the statistics seem both unnecessary and faintly ridiculous.
Approximately a third of Britons are choosing not to buy insurance with their vehicle. Statistics released by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) show that around 1.4 million motorists are thought to be uninsured. An estimated 23,000 people are injured and 160 killed by uninsured, and often untraced, drivers every year. The cost of uninsured drivers to insurance firms stands at £500 million a year and increases each individual annual premium by an average of £30.
The MIB has identified the areas of the country considered to be the worst offenders in terms of driving without insurance. These include Bordesley in Birmingham and areas of Manchester and Essex, while parts of Yorkshire also made it onto the list.
Car insurance typically falls into three rather broad categories:
Third party, which covers the owner for injuries to others and their property as a result of an accident.
Third party, fire and theft, which adds in cover for theft or damage as a result of attempted theft or a fire.
Comprehensive cover, which includes all the benefits of the other two categories in addition to the chance to make a claim for any damage suffered to your own vehicle in the event of an accident.
Most premiums frequently offer a range of optional extras, enabling you to tailor your cover to suit your own specifications. These extras typically include breakdown cover, travelling in Europe and using other vehicles with the owner's permission.
Insurance premiums are affected by a variety of factors. Companies will calculate a total amount by evaluating a person's 'risk level'. This is calculated by considering things like your claims history and driving record. A clean license and no claims history, therefore, will benefit your quest for cheap car insurance.
Providers will also evaluate your personal circumstances, amount of time you spend on the road, home address and parking arrangements. Again, savings can be made if your car is parked in a secure, locked garage or if you live in a low claims area.
All of which shows just how important it is to compare quotes to ensure you are neither hit by any hidden charges nor that there are any gaping holes in your policy that, given the choice, you would have had comprehensively covered and accounted for.
Driving a vehicle on a road or public place without a minimum of third party cover is, quite simply, illegal. The consequences are typically a fixed penalty notice, which dwarfs the cost of any premium and police involvement. Points on your license are another potential punishment.
An uninsured driver’s agreement is in place between the government and the MIB to help those who suffer at the hands of illegal drivers. The deal ensures that those affected do not go uncompensated as it arranges for the MIB to make payments to those who suffer personal injury or damage to their property as a result of a motor accident.
Of course, just because it’s a requirement doesn’t mean you should pay through the nose for car insurance. It does, however, mean that you have to have it. Therefore, it is well worth taking the time and effort to find the right policy for you.
Comparison websites can shoulder a large portion of the work on your behalf, leaving you free to examine, inspect and cherry pick the cover that suits you and your needs best without it costing an arm and a leg.