As insurance costs rise, motorists can save up to £319 a year, says financial expert Peter Sharkey.

Few motorists believe they fall into the category marked ‘dangerous’ when taking to the road – a blinkered view which is considerably more evident in men than women. Yet this category covers a multitude of sins – from speeding through residential areas at 80mph, to looking away from the road to turn on the radio.

Almost half (48pc) of drivers admitted to these and other indiscretions, according to a report published last week. This would suggest there are more than 15 million ‘dangerous’ drivers on the road at any time.

At the extreme end of this scale are those who admit to driving while being above the alcohol limit or after taking illegal drugs (6pc of men; 4pc of women). Perhaps we should refer to the first group as ‘distracted’ drivers and the second as ‘seriously unsafe’ – a view shared by Ken Carter, head of insurance services at financial website

“Of course, anyone can be momentarily distracted while driving, irrespective of whether they’re taking a relatively short journey or travelling the length of the country,” says Mr Carter. “But there’s no excuse for drink driving or taking illegal drugs and then deciding to drive.”

However, the nation’s estimated one million uninsured motorists are just as likely to be a hazard to other road users. Their presence on the road has obvious implications for victims of accidents where an uninsured driver is judged to be at fault.

“There has also been a noticeable surge in the number of provisional driving licence holders prosecuted for driving without insurance cover,” adds Mr Carter. “Almost 15,000 people yet to pass their driving test were caught driving illegally last year. The figure represents a 16pc increase in the numbers prosecuted in 2018.

“The steady rise in the number of motorists driving illegally without insurance is a worry,” he added. “Not least because it drives up the cost of insurance for everyone else.”

All motor insurance companies contribute to the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) scheme, which compensates individuals injured by uninsured or untraceable drivers. According to the MIB, thousands of people are injured or killed by uninsured drivers every year. As the culprit has no insurance, all resulting compensation comes from the MIB. The bill for compensation is paid for through the insurance premiums of all law abiding motorists.

“Evidence suggests that uninsured vehicles are consistently used to conduct wider criminal activity, and are more likely to be involved in a collision, so by targeting uninsured drivers we can help deter criminal activity and remove their means of transport and make our roads safer,” says the MIB.

Picking up the tab for uninsured drivers is particularly annoying when prices in general have risen over the past 12 months. At the start of the year, the average cost of fully comprehensive car insurance was £629 or 19pc higher than the first quarter of 2021.

“The cumulative impact of uninsured drivers on law abiding motorists continues to have a direct impact upon insurance costs,” says Mr Carter. “Fortunately, however, insurance is an expense that the motorist can influence.”

Mr Carter recommends searching one of the legitimate insurance comparison websites such as to uncover a more competitive insurance deal. He also suggests adding an alarm and engine immobiliser while building a no-claims discount.

“Moneymapp, for example, compares the like-for-like motor insurance costs of more than 100 insurance companies,” adds Mr Carter. “Annual cost savings of more than £100 are commonplace, but motorists can save up to £319 a year, more than half of the current average premium.”

As more uninsured and ‘seriously unsafe’ drivers flood the roads, pushing insurance costs ever higher, it makes enormous sense for the law abiding motorist to reduce their insurance bills by comparing costs every year.

For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey’s regular blog, The Week In Numbers.

This column is for general information only and cannot be relied on as financial advice for individuals. Consult your professional adviser.