The existence of the Motor Insurance Bureau often comes as a surprise to car owners. Most people haven’t heard of it, even fewer have much of an idea about what they do. They do, in fact, provide help and assistance to any driver who is involved in a road traffic accident with an uninsured or untraced driver across the UK.
If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation and you’re wondering if it’s still possible to claim compensation then the MIB may be able to help.
What exactly is the MIB?
The Motor Insurance Bureau was created in 1946 with the intention of ‘reducing the level and impact of uninsured driving in the UK’ and ‘compensating victims of uninsured and untraced drivers fairly and promptly’.
Any company that is licensed to offer insurance in the UK is required by law to be a member of the MIB and contribute towards its funding. A proportion of the cost of car insurance goes towards the MIB. This translates as somewhere between £15-£30 in every policy.
Why is the MIB needed?
Despite insurance being mandatory in the UK, it’s estimated that there are over a million uninsured vehicles out on the country’s roads. This means that you are always at risk of being hit by an uninsured vehicle. Similarly, despite drivers being obliged to stop at the scene of an accident, a significant minority of drivers fail to do so in an attempt to skip responsibility. If someone is driving without insurance they’re more likely to try and evade responsibility for what they have done.
In an average year, the MIB will settle around 25,000 claims, and roughly 120 of these will be incidents that involved the death of someone who died at the hands of a driver who had no insurance, or who left the scene of the accident. The chances of ending up in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance, or who chooses not to stop at the scene of the accident are perhaps higher than many people realise.
What happens if you’re involved in an incident with an uninsured driver?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being hit by an uninsured driver then you may be able to make a claim to the Motor Insurance Bureau under the “uninsured drivers scheme”. Your own insurer will be unlikely to help so the MIB provides the most realistic route to compensation for many drivers.
Through the Uninsured Drivers Scheme”, your claim will be assessed to find who is liable. If liability can be proven, then your claim could include the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. It may also include any hire charges while your vehicle is out of action, loss of use, property damage to any items damaged in the incident, as well as any rehabilitation treatment such as physiotherapy.
A proportion of your legal costs for bringing the claim could also be paid by the MIB. You may still be required to make a contribution to your solicitor’s fees from any compensation you are offered.
What about incidents with untraced drivers?
If you are involved in an incident and the driver leaves the scene you may be able to make a claim to the MIB under the “Untraced Drivers Scheme”.
Up until 2017, eligibility for compensation under the scheme depended on the accident being reported to the police within 14 days of it happening. Although this is no longer necessary it is still advisable to report any incident to the police and your own insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. This should be done before a compensation claim is submitted to the MIB.
Under the Untraced Drivers Scheme the MIB will consider claims for compensation for personal injury and any costs associated with it. It will, however, only consider payments for property damage in certain circumstances meaning that you will in all likelihood have to make a claim through your own insurance to cover damage to your vehicle.
What if you have an accident overseas?
The MIB also operates a Green Card Scheme that handles accidents abroad that involve foreign registered vehicles. Compensation claims can be made, but only in countries that operate the Green Card Scheme, and the process can be complex. As with untraced and uninsured drivers, liability will need to be proven. The procedure for claiming for an accident overseas needs careful attention and should only be undertaken with specialist legal advice and assistance.
Beware of scammers
The MIB is an established and respected part of the motor insurance industry. They are members of the Council of Bureaux and have access to the Motor Insurance Database (MID). This contains information from every motor insurance policy taken out in the UK. As a result of this, scammers and hackers find the MIB attractive and there have been attempts to coerce victims of road traffic accidents to make a claim. The MIB regularly issues warnings about these scams, telling the public to be extremely careful when receiving cold calls or letters.
Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help if you’re hit by an uninsured or untraced vehicle
The experienced and professional team at Mark Reynolds Solicitors can offer advice if you find yourself in an incident with an uninsured or untraced vehicle. We can assess your claim, help establish its circumstances and then advise how to proceed with a claim if appropriate.
Contact our team today for confidential advice.