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New figures reveal that millions of Brits unwittingly drive without insurance.

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Data obtained by Insurer car provider LV identified that almost 22,000 drivers have been caught using an uninsured vehicle, after mistakenly believing that they are covered on a borrowed vehicle by their own insurance or that of the vehicle itself.

The figures highlight that 18% of motorists had lent their car to someone else and almost a fifth of these believed that there was valid insurance in place.

According to LV, motorists do not perceive driving uninsured as a serious crime and believe they will get away with it.

If caught or involved in an accident, owners could be prosecuted not only for allowing their car to be driven uninsured but also costs for the repair of their own car.

The owner’s insurer could then pursue the uninsured driver for the cost of repair to a third party’s car, which the insurer is legally obliged to pay under the Road Traffic Act, even though the insurance is invalid.

Both carry an automatic risk of up to eight penalty points, a maximum fine of £5,000 or an instant driving ban in more severe cases.

John O’Roarke, managing director of LV, said: “The root of the problem is that many drivers assume that by having comprehensive insurance on their own vehicle, they are automatically covered to drive other vehicles. But this is not always the case.”

DirectGov state on their website that: “Uninsured drivers inflict a major financial burden on other motorists, estimated at around £380 million each year or around £30 of the cost of each insurance premium.

“Uninsured drivers also impose other costs on society; research and surveys show that uninsured drivers are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents, fail to follow road traffic signs and signals and potentially be involved in other criminal activity.”

Drivers, who lend out their car, are advised to add the car borrower to their insurance policy as a named driver to ensure there is valid insurance in place.

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By Suzanne Jordan