THE AVERAGE DRIVER’S annual bill for motor insurance is around €30 higher than it needs to be, as a result of insurers having to cover the cost of damage caused by motorists driving without insurance.
That’s according to the Irish Brokers Association, which today called on the government to consider new laws allowing the cars of uninsured motorists to be confiscated.
The body, which represents 700 insurance intermediaries, says the most recent figures available showed that in 2010, the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland – a body established to fund claims incurred as a result of untraceable or uninsured drivers – spent €58.9 million covering compensation claims for drivers who had incurred legal, medical and repair costs.
The IBA’s director of general services Brian McNelis explained that these costs were 100 per cent funded by motor insurers, who in turn had to pass on the costs to their paying policyholders – meaning the cost of the average policy was increased by about €30.
In an attempt to tackle the use of uninsured cars, the UK has introduced legislation requiring all cars to be insured, irrespective of whether they are used on public roads or not.
While McNelis said the IBA was not looking for a similar law here – acknowledging that some motorists had had to temporarily retire their cars as a result of their financial circumstances – he said the current penalties “are not acting as a sufficient deterrant.
“We would urge compliant drivers to report those that don’t have insurance as they are ultimately paying their insurance for them,” he said.
Driving without insurance is a criminal offence in Ireland, carrying maximum fines of up to €2,500 as well as disqualification from driving for one year on the first offence, and over two years in subsequent offences.
The law also allows for maximum prison terms of six months for a second offence, though in practice these are rarely imposed.