Ireland’s two million drivers are shelling out €30 each for those who don’t have insurance.
It was reported last year (by the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland) that 5/6% of the Irish population go without motor insurance and the Irish Brokers Association has called on the State to confiscate the cars of those who drive without insurance as they believe that the current penalty mechanism isn’t working.
The representative body say that those who drive without insurance should consider the high penalties for themslves and for others if they are involved in an accident and that where someone is found to be driving an uninsured vehicle it should be impounded immediately and potentially sold or crushed.
According to Brian McNelis, Director of General Services at the Irish Brokers Association, “There are 29,342 licensed private cars in Offaly and it’s estimated that 1,700 of these could be uninsured. What the general public in Offaly may not know is that these uninsured drivers could be indirectly costing them an additional €30 on their annual car insurance premiums”.
Figures show that 2286 claims payments were made by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) in 2010 totalling €58.9m in claims compensation, legal and medical costs caused by uninsured and untraced drivers. The figures for 2011 have not been released as yet however, the Irish Brokers Association don’t expect to see any improvement in the overall volume or cost. They say that claims are paid by the MIBI, which is 100% funded by the motor insurers and that the funds to pay for such claims are made up of consumer’s money as they are funded out of the insurance premiums paid by other drivers – approximately €30 per driver.
Brian continued, “The UK have now made it illegal to own an uninsured vehicle, even if it is kept off the roads, in an attempt to stamp out uninsured driving. However, we believe that such measures may be a little harsh on those that have fallen on hard times and have had to take their car off the road for a period of time. We do however feel that the current penalties are not acting as a sufficient deterrent and would urge compliant drivers to report those that don’t have insurance as they are ultimately paying their insurance for them”.
The experts say that motor insurance offences are punishable by a fine of up to €2,500, disqualification of one year or more for a first offence and two years or more for a second offence, and, at the discretion of the court, a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, though these maximum penalties are rarely imposed. Where the court decides not to impose a disqualification, drivers convicted of a first offence of driving without insurance will incur 5 penalty points on their licence record in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court.
Brian concluded, “However, if claims grow so too will the amount insurers need to contribute to the MIBI... which means that these increased costs will be borne by consumers in general. This is unfair on those who are compliant and pay annually for their motor insurance”.