If you're a car owner it's a legal requirement to have insurance for your car, unless it's declared as being off the road with the DVLA. This is obviously fine if you're responsible for the accident, but the Police estimate that around 1 million cars are driven on UK roads without insurance - so what can you do if you're involved in an incident with an uninsured driver? - how do you claim, and who from?
Coverage From Your Own Insurance
If you have fully comprehensive cover, you will be able to claim on your own insurance, as this type of cover guarantees repairs regardless of liability. The problem with this is that you will lose your no-claim bonus if you have one, and your future premium price may be affected. Depending on your policy, you may be able to claim for legal expenses to pursue the culpable driver through the court system.
If you have 'third party', or 'third party, fire & theft', things will be a little more difficult for you and you will need to submit a claim through the MIB (Motor Insurers' Bureau).
Motor Insurers' Bureau
The MIB exists as a not-for-profit organisation, aiming to compensate victims of uninsured drivers. By submitting an accident report to them, including the details of the other driver (car make, registration etc.), you can make a claim for any vehicle damages, as well as any medical costs, and even renovations to your home, should the accident have been so severe that you require lengthy rehabilitation.
Any claims put through the MIB will be subject to a £300 deduction – in a similar way to which the excess fee works on a standard insurance policy.
Claiming through the MIB can be a drawn out affair, due to the time it requires for them to gather information and determine liability. If you're fully comprehensive, the MIB stated that it would be advisable to claim through your insurer as it is the most time effective way of getting back on the road. If your no-claims discount, and/or an excess fee is charged by your insurer, you can then submit a claim for this with the MIB, although you won't be able to claim for any increase in premium prices.
Uninsured Drivers Promise
Many insurers offer an optional add-on in the form of an 'uninsured drivers promise'. Effectively this protects your no-claims bonus in the event of a collision with an uninsured driver. You'll need to provide lengthy details about the accident in order for your provider to determine that you weren't at fault.
In the event of an accident
Regardless of where you'll be claiming from, you'll need to thoroughly collect the relevant data to get your claim passed:
- Driver details: Get their vehicle make, model and registration. Also get their name and address. Uninsured drivers tend to lie about their name and address; you could ask to see their driving licence, but hopefully the car details will be enough to trace them for the claim
- Photos: If you have a camera with you (most phones do at least), take photos of the damage to the two cars, and the scene itself. All of these will help you write the description of the accident report. Remember to note any other useful information, such as crossing positions, traffic lights, weather, and car signals such as lights/indicators etc. Also try to get a sneaky photo with the other driver in shot for identification
- Witnesses: If there are any witnesses at the scene, ask for their contact details to garner statements at a later date as needed
- Call the Police: You will need to call the police if the vehicles cause an obstruction, if anyone has been injured, or if any property is damaged. If you're planning to file through the MIB you'll need to file an accident report, so calling the police will be a necessity in these instances