Peopl Insurance Q&A - The More You Know - Uninsured Drivers Skip to main content

Almost 1 in 5 people know someone who have driven without insurance

Almost one in five people (17%) know someone who has driven uninsured, with lapsed cover (25%) and lack of affordability (23%) cited as the main reasons people believe that motorists get behind the wheel without cover.

This is according to the findings of a new survey by Peopl Insurance which examined the number of drivers who either drove, or know someone who drove, uninsured, as well as their reasons for doing so. Headline findings from the survey, which polled 1000 people, reveal that very few (3%) people say they themselves have driven uninsured.

The results come on the back of new research from the MIBI which reveals that in 2022 the total number of private vehicles driving without insurance reached 187,803 accounting for 8.3% of the entire fleet of private vehicles on Irish roads – an increase of 13,626 over the 2021 figure.

Almost one in five (18%) said that either they, or someone they know, had driven uninsured as they ‘just didn’t bother to get insurance’. About one in eight (12%) of those polled said that emergencies were the main reason they, or someone they know, had driven without cover.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Paul Walsh, CEO of Peopl Insurance said:

Since 2020, there are now more than 32,000 additional uninsured vehicles on Irish roads. It is against the law to drive without insurance but a worrying number of people are clearly doing so. We discovered through this survey that almost one in five know someone who has got behind the wheel uninsured.”

“Unknowingly allowing insurance to lapse was cited as the number one reason for people to drive uninsured but neither an insurer nor the Gardaí will accept this as a plausible excuse. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to driving uninsured.”

“It is concerning that affordability issues are emerging as a key factor in uninsured driving. It is well known that the cost of car insurance can run into the thousands for young people who are starting to drive – and that such insurance costs are often prohibitive. Almost one in four (23%) of those aged between 18 and 24 know someone who has driven uninsured, making this age cohort the most likely to know someone who has driven without cover. If, as our survey suggests, affordability issues are believed to be the main reason so many of these people get behind the wheel without cover, both insurers and the Government should do more to look at what measures could be taken to bring down the cost of insurance for starter drivers.”

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • One in four (25%) Munster people know someone who has driven uninsured – which is significantly higher than the national average of 17%.
  • The middle class are more inclined than the working class to know someone who has driven uninsured (20% of middle class versus 15% of working class)
  • Just over one in twenty (6%) said that difficulty getting an insurance quote was the main reason people drove uninsured.
  • About one in six (16%) said the main reason people drive without insurance is that they inadvertently do so when they drive another person’s car and incorrectly believe they’re insured when doing so.
  • Men were slightly more likely than women to know someone who had driven uninsured (18% versus 16%). Interestingly women were more inclined to cite affordability issues as the reason behind lack of insurance, while men were more likely to point the finger at cover which had unknowingly lapsed.

Mr. Walsh reported that the findings of the survey tally with other research in this area,

“There’s been a significant increase in the number of penalty points issued to people for driving without insurance recently, with the number of penalty points given out for that offence 37% higher in 2021 than it was in 2020, according to a report published by the CSO just before Christmas.

Furthermore, the number of uninsured cars on Irish roads has increased for the third year in a row, with one in 12 motorists driving without insurance, according to recent research by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).”

“More needs to be done to discourage uninsured driving in this country as the message has clearly not got to everyone. It is unfair on the drivers who rightly pay for their insurance that so many other are flouting the rules and driving uninsured as ultimately this costs honest drivers money.”

“Uninsured drivers must understand that there are serious repercussions to their actions. You could get a fine of up to €5,000 and five penalty points on your licence if you’re caught driving uninsured. The is in addition to a mandatory court appearance and An Garda Síochána having the power to seize your vehicle on the spot. Uninsured drivers are pursued for the costs of claims in later years. So, if they inherit money or property, this can be used to offset any compensation which arose.

Furthermore, on a human level, for those hit by, or involved in a collision with, an uninsured driver, dealing with such a driver can turn a stressful situation into an even more stressful one, particularly if the uninsured driver drives away. It can be difficult, if not impossible, for an innocent party to make a claim if they’re hit by an uninsured driver and are unable to get the necessary details from that driver.”