Many of you will have seen the advertisement on television from a certain insurance company saying that if you have an accident with an uninsured motorist they won’t penalise you like their competitors. There are at any one time in the UK many hundreds of thousands of dishonest motorists who deliberately do not insure their cars. So what happens if you have the misfortune to have an accident caused by either an uninsured or untraced motorist?
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) was founded in the UK in 1946 and is used in the UK through which compensation is provided for victims of accidents caused by uninsured and untraced drivers. This is funded by an estimated £30.00 a year from every insured driver’s premiums. The Road Traffic Act 1988 also requires every insurer dealing with motor insurance to belong to the MIB and to contribute to its funding.
The MIB run three types of schemes that help the victims of negligent drivers. These are; ‘The Uninsured Driver’s Scheme’, ‘The Untraced Driver’s Scheme’ and ‘The Green Card Scheme’. How these schemes work is mirrored throughout the EU as every country has similar provisions.
The Uninsured Drivers Scheme
The uninsured driver’s scheme deals with compensation claims arising out of accidents caused or contributed to by an uninsured driver. Where no policy of insurance exists for the party responsible for the incident the MIB will consider dealing with it. Liability will still need to be assessed but if the uninsured party has been identified the MIB will consider compensation for the injured party once fault has been proven.
Under this scheme claims will be considered for the cost of repairing, replacing the injured party’s vehicle, hire charges, loss of use and property damage. An injured party can claim for their injuries as well as any rehabilitation treatment for any pain and suffering such as physiotherapy treatment.
All legal costs are paid in full by the MIB once they agree to deal with your claim.
The Untraced Drivers Agreement Scheme
This scheme is used for victims of hit and run driver accidents. Where you are involved in an accident where the other driver leaves the scene of the accident and you are unable to obtain their details, the MIB will consider a claim for compensation for injury. Any damage to property, such as your vehicle, will only be considered by the MIB if the accident occurred on or before the 14th February 2003.
If the third-party vehicle is not traced, you cannot claim for property damage or financial loss but can still claim for injury.
If you have been injured, you must report the accident within 14 days to the Police or as soon as reasonably possible.
The Green Card Scheme
This scheme involves accidents caused by the negligent driving of foreign motorists. The MIB will under certain circumstances agree to step in and deal with such claims as this process helps the victim to seek compensation from them instead of trying to deal with a foreign insurer.
The Green Card is an international certificate of insurance providing motorists travelling to foreign countries compulsory insurance cover required by the law of the country they are visiting. A green card is no longer compulsory for all countries in the Green Card System.
The responsibility for issuing the Green Cards is given to the MIB in the UK. However, the MIB give this responsibility to individual insurers who issue their own cards for their policyholders. No charge is made for a Green Card but an insurer is entitled to make a change for any extension of cover.
It covers 47 countries, including all 28 in the European Union and additional countries that make up the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Russia and a number of countries in the Middle East as well as those bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
How long does it take for the MIB to deal with my claim?
If your claim is limited to property damage or minor injury, then it should be resolved in 4 or 5 months.
If, however, liability is denied, there are issues with obtaining evidence or serious injury which requires a Police report, this can take some time and can cause further delays.
Claims arising from accidents abroad very much depend on responses from foreign agencies and due to liaison with foreign insurers this can take some time.
The Claims Process
The MIB is committed to dealing with all claims as efficiently as possible and although every claim is different there are some standard processes that they follow:
- Reference Number: They will either write to you or your representative to confirm they have received your claim and will give a reference that must be used for all correspondence.
- Claims submitted online: If your claim is submitted online and once you have heard from the MIB you should send in any supporting documentation quoting the reference number you will be given. Their investigations will start soon after.
- Investigations: The MIB will carry out its own investigations to establish the facts and assess any compensation that might be due. Their investigations will include obtaining statements from witnesses, obtaining a Police report and contacting other bodies such as the DVLA and your insurers. They may also appoint an investigator to come and take a formal statement from you.
- If you are claiming for personal injury, then they will need to obtain some additional information such as copies of your medical records from your GP or any hospital you may have attended after the accident. They will also instruct an independent medical expert to obtain a medical report on your behalf.
- If you are eligible for compensation, a decision on the appropriate amount will usually take longer than 3 months. If their investigation concludes that you are not entitled to compensation they will either write to you or your representative.
With the MIB compensation is only payable where some fault can be established on the part of the driver that you consider responsible. If evidence confirms that you were partly or wholly responsible the compensation will be reduced or not paid at all. What you get as damages from the MIB should be the equivalent of the amount were you claiming from an insurer.
The important thing to remember is that just because the other driver disappeared, was not insured or was insured abroad you will still receive the compensation you are entitled to.