Never Lend Your Car to Uninsured Friends or Relatives

Car Insurance

This week we’re calling on vehicle owners to be strict and not to loan your cars to uninsured friends or relatives.  Driving a vehicle without insurance, even if it’s just a round trip to the local shops, is a criminal offence.  A high portion of claims involving uninsured drivers each year involve a friend or relation of the vehicle’s owner.

“Not only is the practice illegal, you’re also of course leaving yourself exposed financially if they crash your car.”  Says Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs.  “Collisions happen every day on our roads and are all the more likely when someone is driving a car that they’re not used to.”

In fact, during our online poll of over 15,500 people which you may have participated in earlier this month, 22% of you shared that one of your nearest and dearest had damaged your car at some point while driving it.  In 320 of these cases the car was completely written off while in a further 160 more than €3,000 worth of damage done.

Coincidentally in the same number of cases, 160, the person who had done the damage was not insured to drive the owner’s car at the time the accident occurred.  Many of these respondents shared with us that they didn’t report the incident to their insurance provider leaving them or the person who borrowed the car to bear the full financial burden.

We’d also remind that lying to Gardaí and your insurer about who was driving the car when a collision occurs is insurance fraud and a serious criminal offense.

“If you’re caught lying about the circumstances of a collision your insurer has the right to refuse it.”  Advises Faughnan “They’re obliged to pay any third party damages but reserve the right to recover them from you the policyholder.  As you’re committing a crime Gardaí may become involved as well.”

A further piece of advice we offer is not to assume that someone who has “driving of other cars” on their own insurance policy has fully comprehensive cover when driving yours.  Most policies will only provide third party cover for driving other cars.

Here at the AA we offer our Members fully comprehensive driving of other cars which means that subject to some terms and conditions, they can drive other cars on a fully comprehensive basis.

“Another query that comes up from time to time is what happens if the vehicle was taken without the owner’s permission.  For instance an uninsured adult child takes a parent’s car while they are away for a weekend.  In this case in the eyes of your insurer it will be seen as unauthorized use of the vehicle.  In order to make an insurance claim the vehicle’s owner would have to state the vehicle was stolen.”  Says Faughnan.

Fig. 1 Has a friend or family member ever crashed your car while driving it? (Based on 15,631 responses gathered via an online poll issued on 19th March 2014)

Yes 22%
Somewhat 3%
No 75%

Fig. 2 Which of the below describes the damage done to your car? (Based on 4,010 responses gathered via an online poll issued on 19th March 2014)

It was declared a write off 8%
It required major repairs (Over €3000) 4%
It required moderate repairs (Between €1001-2999) 16%
It required minor repairs (less than €1000) 62%
Other 9%

Fig. 3 Were they insured to drive your car at the time? (Based on 3,991 responses gathered via an online poll issued on 19th March 2014)

Yes 94%
No 4%
I’m not sure 2%

 Fig. 4 No. of claims for victims of uninsured drivers and untraced vehicles received by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland:

2012 2,322
2011 2,331
2010 2,232

Figures for 2013 will be available for May 2014.