Drivers risking conviction by lending cars to uninsured friends

In the last 12 months alone more than five million Britons have lent their car to someone who is not on their insurance policy, with 650,000 of those (13 per cent) not even checking if they are legally covered to drive the vehicle, according to new analysis by Churchill Car Insurance.

Car owners who lend their vehicle to someone who drives it without valid insurance can be convicted of an IN12 offence. An IN12 offence is technically described as ‘aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks’.

Analysis reveals the financial penalties for drivers convicted of IN12 offences have increased by 45 per cent since 2013, with the average level of fine increasing from £187.60 in 2013 to £271.30 in 2015. However, the average number of penalty points has remained static, at six points per conviction, despite courts being able to hand out up to eight points. Drivers can even be disqualified from driving for this offence.

In the last 12 months when people let someone else drive their car the most popular reasons were to pick up something (13 per cent), such as furniture from IKEA, and loaning their car to someone ‘just because they asked’ (13 per cent). A further 11 per cent did so because they were over the drink drive limit. Worryingly, one in 10 (11 per cent) allowed their friends to drive their car so they could commute to work, which suggests that this is not a one-off issue.

Steve Barrett, head of Car Insurance at Churchill Insurance, said: “The scale of uninsured motoring, as a result of people loaning their car to friends and family without checking they are insured, is worryingly high. In the majority of cases this is likely to be an innocent mistake, but whether intentional or not, it is your responsibility to ensure that others who drive your car are insured to do so.

“People risk criminal conviction and losing their licence for loaning their car for someone to just ‘pop to the shops’. We are asking for people to ensure that they make the necessary checks before letting someone else get behind the wheel of their car, to help avoid severe punishment for something so preventable.”