Motor Insurers Bureau

If you have ever been involved in a road accident, where one of the vehicles was uninsured or the driver simply made off without stopping, (so that you couldn't take their details), you might well despair at the possibility of ever getting the proper compensation for any injuries or other losses that you suffer.

We often have client's who make very tentative enquiries, thinking that all hope is lost in such situations, but we are happily able to inform then about the Motor Insurers' Bureau. This is a private company, established as long ago as 1946, for the purpose of entering into agreements with the government to compensate the victims of negligent uninsured and/or untraced motorists. Every insurance company which underwrites compulsory motor insurance, i.e. third party fire and theft, is obliged by the Road Traffic Act 1988 to be a member of the Motor Insurers' Bureau and to contribute to its funding.

Effectively, the Motor Insurers' Bureau steps in and acts as though it were the uninsured or untraceable driver's insurance company. In many respects therefore, motorists who are involved in such accidents do not have anything to fear, as a solicitor will be able to obtain them compensation in precisely the same way he would, if the driver had been insured. The scheme is what is known as a fund of the last resort, which means that you have to show that you have exhausted every other possibility to try to get compensation before asking the Motor Insurers' Bureau to pay.

As soon as you become aware that you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you should submit a claim to the Motor Insurers' Bureau. The Bureau however, will have expected you to have made enquiries to try to identify any insurer. These enquiries might include:
  • contacting the motorist
  • making enquiries with the DVLA
  • making a formal complaint to the Police, (if the driver or registered owner of the
    vehicle withholds insurance details)
  • making an enquiry of the Motor Insurance Database (this might identify the
    owner)

If you are involved in an accident and the driver makes off, or you simply cannot find the driver, you will still have a claim against the Bureau under the untraced driver's agreement. In these cases you have to make a formal report of the incident to the Police within 14 days of the accident occurring.

If there is no particular injury, but damage to your property, it has to be done within 5 days. This gives the Police the opportunity to try to identify the driver. You also have to make enquiries to see if you can identify the driver, checking any details given to the Police, try to make contact with the motorist in person or trace the registered keeper via the DVLA and then contact him. If you cannot identify the driver, enquiries need to be made to see if you can identify the vehicle involved through a registration number.

Of course you must also contact your own insurance company. Your policy is likely to require it and your insurance company might be able to trace the other party or its insurers.

If you simply have a claim for property damage, it has to be made within 9 months of the accident and a £300 property excess applies.

In the case of personal injury claims, the usual rules of making a claim within 3 years will apply.

In many cases the Motor Insurers' Bureau will actually appoint an insurance company to deal with your claim, often the last insurance company to insure the vehicle involved in the accident. To all intent and purposes you and your solicitor will notice very little difference between this type of claim and one made if the third party's insurance details were available.

You shouldn't give up simply because you can't identify or find the insurance for the third party. The big difference however, is if the Motor Insurers' Bureau are asked to pay out on a claim. If they can identify the party that is uninsured, they will ask them to reimburse the costs.

For help or advice please contact Richard Paremain or telephone 02476 521081