As car insurance costs continue to climb, we'll try anything to bring down the cost of our policy. Unfortunately, a new report reveals that one in six drivers are opting for a solution that's not only illegal - but will cost law-abiding drivers £30 a year.
So what is this expensive menace on the roads? And what can we do about it?
Uninsured driversAccording to research by MoneySupermarket.com, one in six motorists have broken the law and driven a car they weren't insured to drive. Some 8% admitted breaking the law by getting behind the wheel of their own car with no cover, while an additional 6% admit to having driven someone else's car without insurance.
Younger motorists were the biggest risk takers, with 29% of 18-34 year olds admitting to driving a vehicle they weren't insured to, compared to just 6% of over 55s. The research also revealed men were twice as likely to be tempted to take to the roads uninsured than women, with a fifth having driven without any insurance compared to one in ten female drivers.
ImpactThis can be a catastrophe for the drivers themselves. Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "It's illegal to get behind the wheel without adequate cover and should you be involved in a crash when not insured, you could face thousands of pounds in liability, a conviction, including six points on your license, as well as fines of up to £5,000."
So what can you do about it?While the authorities battle with the headache of tackling uninsured drivers, all we can do is employ every other possible method of shaving that £30 off the cost of car insurance.
- Fit an alarm: Fit an approved alarm and immobiliser, such as a Thatcham 1 or Thatcham 2. All improvements to security should help to lower your car insurance costs. Some insurers could even insist on sophisticated tracking devices before they will insure expensive cars.
- Use a 'black box' - many insurers now offer 'black box' technology which monitors your driving habits and rewards good drivers through lower premiums.
- Change your excess: Changing the excess you are prepared to pay on any claim may reduce the premium. With voluntary excess the more you are willing to cover yourself in the event of an accident the lower your premium. However, this can be a false economy as the cost of making a claim, may be far greater than the difference in premiums.
- Check your mileage: Check your mileage to make sure you are not paying extra for miles you are not covering in your car. If, for example, you change jobs and have a shorter commute to work you could be saving money. Try and work out how many miles you will genuinely cover - but don't get it wrong as inaccuracy could jeopardise your claim.
- Minimise your optional extras: Only select to have a courtesy car or legal expenses if you really need them, as they may increase your premium. The less your motor insurance company has to provide in the event of an accident, the lower your costs.
- Be careful where you park: Keep your car parked in a locked garage overnight if you can - this can help reduce the premium. More than 50% of vehicle thefts occur during the night so if your car is safely locked away it makes sense that your insurance costs will be reduced as a consequence. If you don't have access to a garage, then parking on a driveway is generally considered a lower risk than parking on the road. It's less likely that vandalism, theft or accidental damage will occur when you're off the road.
- Pass Plus: If you're a new driver looking to get your first car and car insurance, take your Pass Plus in order to reduce your premiums. The Pass Plus certificate can only be obtained within the first year of passing your practical driving test.
- Add a partner or parent to your policy: Adding a partner or a parent to your policy details may reduce the cost of your premiums, a particular benefit to younger drivers. However, don't add a parent as the main driver if you are the main driver of the car as this will invalidate your insurance.
- Opt for smaller engine sized car: Insurers calculate premiums based on a number of factors, but the type of car you drive, and the engine size of the car will impact premium prices. Opting for a smaller car with a small engine will give cheaper premiums.