An estimated 25,000 learner drivers are using the roads without valid car insurance, according to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
The MIB, which tackles the scourge of uninsured driving, said data from its police helpline suggests that across the UK around 25,000 unqualified drivers are on the roads in their own car or that of a family member without the proper cover.
It said in the past 12 months it has received thousands of inquiries from police officers at the roadside where a provisional licence holder was suspected to be driving without insurance.
In most cases, when a learner was found to be uninsured the car was immediately seized by police – and one in every two uninsured learners faced further penalties as they had also been driving without the legally required supervision.
Some learners had a policy in place, but it turned out to be invalid as they were driving outside of the terms and conditions of their policy.
Examples of this ranged from daily commutes to using a car for business purposes.
Many more were also found to be breaking the law by failing to display “L” plates on their car.
The MIB is a not-for-profit body which acts as an insurance safety net. It picks up the compensation tab when innocent motorists are hit by uninsured drivers or when drivers cannot be traced following a hit-and-run collision.
This bill is paid for through the insurance premiums of all law-abiding motorists – meaning uninsured drivers push up the costs for everyone.
Neil Drane, MIB’s head of enforcement, said: “We understand car insurance can be expensive but it’s there to protect all road users in the event of an accident. We’re urging learners to do the right thing and drive insured or the police will seize their car, which in turn could prevent them from obtaining a full driving licence and could impact their independence.”
Motor insurance is a legal requirement, and like other road users, learner drivers must ensure they have a valid policy in place and meet all licence requirements.
Those found to be driving without insurance can have their car seized by police, receive six points on their licence, a £300 fine and face further penalties.
The MIB said learners should be supervised by someone who is aged 21 or over and who has had a full driving licence for at least three years.
It said there are a range of insurance options for learner drivers:
– A learner who wants to use their own car can take out an insurance policy with the person who will be supervising them listed as a named driver. This also gives the learner a chance to build up their no claims bonus.
– Learners can take out learner driver insurance on a friend or family member’s car.
– It is also possible to be a named driver on the insurance policy belonging to the family member or friend who is going to be supervising in their own car.
The MIB recommends learners speak directly to an insurer or a broker as they will be able to help them find suitable insurance for learning to drive.
Further advice can be found at www.mib.org.uk.