MIBI figures show almost 165,000 driving uninsured in Ireland
Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

Motorists in Ireland are required to have a certificate of insurance in order to be able to drive, yet recent figures reveal almost 14,000 vehicles are being driven uninsured on Irish roads.

New data has revealed that the number of uninsured private vehicles driving on Irish roads increased to almost 165,000 by the end of last year - that’s an increase of just under 14,000.

At least that’s according to new figures released by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), the body responsible for compensating victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.

The stark rise in the number of uninsured drivers will come as a surprise to most law-abiding road users, despite motor insurance being a legal obligation in this country.

We take a more in-depth look at the stats below.

Who is the MIBI?

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) is a not for profit organisation that was established to compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles, and is regulated by the MIBI Agreement 2009.

MIBI also acts as Green Card Bureau in Ireland which ensures persons who sustain damage and/or injuries in a road traffic accident caused by a vehicle registered outside the State are not disadvantaged.

A closer look at the numbers

The data released by the MIBI shows that there was a sum total of 164,773 uninsured motorists on Irish roads at the end of 2019.

This accounts for an increase of approximately 13,683 more uninsured drivers than were on Irish roads at the end of 2018.

The number of uninsured drivers is calculated by combining aggregate official figures provided by the Department of Transport and cross-referencing them with insurance and motor taxation data.

The number of uninsured road users in 2019 accounts for 7.58% of the almost 2.2 million private vehicles nationwide, an increase from 7.16% in 2018.

This means that one in every 13 private vehicles driving on Irish roads is uninsured, a pretty sobering statistic.

The stark rise in the number of uninsured drivers will come as a surprise to most law-abiding road users, despite motor insurance being a legal obligation, not least a courtesy to those you share the road with.

Chief executive of the MIBI, David Fitzgerald, said:

"These latest numbers show the problem of uninsured driving has grown significantly over the last few years. A jump of almost 14,000 uninsured vehicles in a single year is a statistic that should worry every single Irish road user. Uninsured drivers are a threat to road safety for the law abiding majority of private vehicle drivers, making Irish roads less safe and a lot more hazardous.”

What happens if you’re driving uninsured?

If you’re found to be driving a vehicle without valid insurance it can be seized immediately by An Garda Síochána. Not only this, but the driver will face multiple penalties, including: 

  • An automatic court appearance, 
  • Five penalty points on your driving licence
  • A hefty fine

Additionally, in the case of any accidents involving uninsured drivers, the MIBI will pursue the driver for costs under its right to recovery - and it’s not cheap! The average costs involved in such an accident exceed €50,000.

Calls to curb uninsured driving

With these figures providing sobering thought for many road users, the MIBI has reiterated the importance of implementing number plate recognition in order to curb uninsured driving. 

This would involve implementing the Motor Third Party Liability (MTPL) insurance database, which would support the automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR). 

This ANPR system allows An Garda Síochána to easily identify uninsured vehicles by scanning their license plate.

The calls for the increased measures are at a time of great economic difficulty due to Covid-19, and which many believe may lead to “an increase in the level of uninsured driving” in the future, according to Mr. Fitzgerald.

“ANPR dramatically increases the capability to identify any uninsured private vehicle. It will be a strong weapon in the fight to apprehend any individuals who recklessly think they can treat motor insurance as ‘optional’. Motor insurance is a legal obligation for a reason. With ANPR those who do not respect that principle will be rolling the dice in a game where the odds will be truly stacked against them.”



All private vehicles



Uninsured private vehicles


164, 773

Proportion of uninsured private vehicles



Getting insured

Insuring your vehicle can be a difficult task, especially if you’re a young driver trying to get insured for the very first time on your parents' car. 

Potentially misleading terms and jargon abound and it’s no secret that even people who have been driving for years sometimes get confused at renewal time.

That’s why at bonkers.ie our aim is to help consumers get the best deal when applying for car insurance. Take a look at this article we wrote debunking 15 of the most common car insurance myths in Ireland.

Stay in touch

Are you surprised by the latest figures released from the MIBI? Do you have any questions when it comes to insuring your vehicle? Get in touch in the comments below.

Or else get in touch with us over on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.