Over 3.2 million motorists have driven without insurance after forgetting to renew

23rd March 2012

One in ten under 35s has mistakenly driven without insurance

Over 3.2 million motorists (six per cent) have driven for at least a day without insurance after forgetting to renew or take out a new car insurance policy, reveals research commissioned by Churchill Car Insurance*. The majority of these lapses (79 per cent) have taken place within the past five years alone.

The percentage of drivers who have forgotten to take out or renew their insurance almost doubles amongst 18 to 34 year olds, rising to 11 per cent.

The average forgetful motorist ended up driving without insurance for seven days, while one in twenty (five per cent) were on the roads without insurance for over a month.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of motorists who unwittingly drove without insurance admits that renewing their policy just slipped their mind. However, 27 per cent mistakenly believed that their insurance automatically renewed at the end of each year and ended up uninsured after their policy expired.

Others (10 per cent) blamed their partner for forgetting to renew the insurance on their behalf.

Tony Chilcott, head of Churchill Car Insurance, commented: "Driving without insurance poses a serious financial risk to both the driver concerned and to other law-abiding motorists. Motorists who don't have valid insurance for their vehicle are liable for a fixed penalty of £200, or could face having their vehicle seized by police, losing six points off their license or being disqualified from driving. This could lead to prosecution with a possible maximum fine of £5000.

"The cost of uninsured motoring in the UK is estimated to be around £500 million**. The MIB charges a levy on all motor insurance companies to help fund the cost of uninsured driving in the UK, which amounts to £30 for each law abiding driver in their annual motor premium**. It's vital that motorists have valid insurance in place to help make the cost of insurance fairer for everyone."

Neil Drane, head of Database Services at MIB, said: "Uninsured driving is a serious issue and in addition to the financial burden that it places on honest motorists, uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year."

"The new Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) law combined with the on-road police enforcement of the existing offence of using a vehicle without appropriate insurance now means that there is nowhere for the uninsured driver to hide. Letting your policy lapse could mean that you risk a series of escalating penalties."

Percentage of 'accidental' uninsured drivers by region:


Region Percentage
North East & Wales 10%
London 9%
Scotland 9%
North West 7%
West Midlands 6%
East of England, East Midlands, South East & South West 5%
Yorkshire and Humberside 4%
Nationwide average 6%

Notes to editors:

  • * Churchill Car Insurance commissioned Opinium Research to interview a random sample of 2,010 adults aged 18+ via online omnibus 9th - 12th December 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. 6% of adults polled have forgotten to renew their car insurance and have been uninsured for 24 hours or longer. 6% of 49,924,000 UK adults (ONS, 2011) = 3,204,078 adults.
    ** MIB Stay Insured Report, 2009

For further information:

Vicky Bristow
Churchill Press Office
Tel: 0208 313 5741
Email: vicky.bristow@rbs.co.uk

MIB Press Office
Shavaun Glen on 01908 82 1985 or out of hours on 07595 551 607 and email at: sglen@mib.org.uk
Kate Slater on 01908 82 1935 or out of hours on 07595 551 608 and email at: skslater@mib.org.uk


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200300 or visiting www.churchill.com