New research from LV= claims that 2.2 million motorists have driven without insurance with the majority (1.8 million) mistakenly believing they were insured at the time, having assumed that the insurance on the vehicle they were borrowing, or the insurance on their own car, automatically extended to other drivers and / or vehicles.
Official figures show that 22,000 drivers have been caught using a vehicle uninsured in the past six months but this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as motorists driving a vehicle belonging to a friend or relative without insurance largely go undetected.
One in six motorists questioned had lent their car out and of these, almost a fifth believed there was valid insurance in place when there wasn’t. A further 4% didn’t care that the driver wasn’t insured.
Close to half of respondents who had committed a crime by lending their car to an uninsured driver said they lent their vehicle at least once a month – of these, a quarter lend to an uninsured son or daughter and 15% to a flatmate.
LV= points out that both the car-lender and car-borrower would be guilty of committing a motoring offence if they were caught by the Police.
The firm’s managing director of car insurance, John O’Roarke, comments: “The root of the problem is that many drivers assume that by having comprehensive insurance on their own vehicle, they are automatically covered to drive other vehicles – but this is not always the case.”
He adds: “Some policies offer no cover at all, some offer third party only, meaning in the event of an accident where the car borrower was at fault there would be no payment for any damage to the vehicle.”
The research was conducted for LV= by ICM and involved 1,632 drivers aged 18+ from across the country.