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Driver SOS (UK)

Foreign drivers pushing up car insurance in the UK

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We all try to save money when we insure our cars but for the last few years the cost of insurance has risen and there is no sign that it’s likely to stabilise anytime soon. Years ago if you were a loyal customer with a year or more of no claims then you would be rewarded with a cheaper annual car insurance quote; now you’re lucky to even save £10. Drivers who have years if not decades of driving experience are also being told that car insurance renewal quotes are going up by at least £25 a year or as much as £80 in some cases.

A loophole that has been around for some time has been causing problems for our car insurance industry lately - immigrants usually from Eastern Europe register their cars in their home country and purchase insurance at a small annual cost. Around £100 compared to £700 in the UK. As long as they do not live abroad for more than six months at a time, then the insurance policy stays valid. So every six months they go on day trips outside the UK and keep the boarding cards as evidence that they have not broken their insurance policy rules. Another problem is that TFL cannot recognise their number plates as they are foreign so more often than not, they can get away with driving in the capital and avoid paying the congestion charge. The same goes for parking tickets, millions of lost revenue is contributed to the fact that foreign drivers using licence plates that are from abroad are harder to track.

Police do not have the time to chase them down with foreign checks so they are let off as there is insufficient evidence to say that they are driving without insurance. 30,000 claims a year are made that involve accidents with foreign drivers that are not covered to drive in the UK. This is what is making annual car insurance prices go up each year.

There doesn’t seem to be any way of pursuing drivers who still use their foreign plates to drive in the UK as it is legal. EU and EEA citizens are legally allowed to drive in the UK until they are 70 years old so unless the EU decides to change the law regarding foreign drivers driving in the UK, they are completely legal to drive here. The question should be if we are part of the EU how come overseas motorists pay less for their insurance than we do?

gices
gices Published 02 Jun 2011

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