A fifth of young motorists drive uninsured

3 February 2014

Nearly 20% of the UK's drivers, aged 17 to 19, are flouting the law by committing insurance fraud or driving without any insurance at all, according to new research.

Some 16% of 17- to 19-year-old drivers have the cars they drive insured in a parent's name – known as 'fronting' – because they can't afford to insure the car themselves, the study by GoCompare.com revealed.

A further 3.5% of the UK's youngest drivers admit to driving without any insurance at all, which is illegal and can result in a fixed penalty of £300, six penalty points and the possibility of the car being seized and destroyed.

If the case goes to court, the driver could receive a fine of up to £5,000 and be disqualified from driving.

The study also found nearly a quarter of 17- to 19-year-old drivers struggle to afford to run a car, with 30% getting financial help from their parents.

They estimated running costs to be around £1,750 a year on average – equivalent to 22% of their income. Some 16% estimated they pay more than £3,000 a year on keeping their car on the road.

A third of young drivers said they don't own a car but use friends', parents' or other family members' cars instead. And a fifth of drivers in this age group believed they were covered if they had an accident while driving someone else's car.

According to the AA, uninsured drivers cost the insurance industry around £380 million a year and add around £33 to the cost of every motor insurance policy.

Scott Kelly, GoCompare.com's head of car insurance, said: "The costs of getting your first car on the road can seem sky-high to a young driver and certainly the insurance premiums for new, inexperienced drivers can be substantial. However, we'd warn people against fronting in an attempt to reduce the cost of their cover.

"Fronting is fraud and if you do have to make a claim on the policy the chances are you'll be found out and you may end up in a lot of trouble. Not only will the policy be invalid but you may find yourself open to prosecution, liable for accident costs and find it hard to get insurance in the future."

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