UP TO 740,000 motorists in France have no insurance, the fund that compensates victims of accidents involving uninsured drivers has warned.
The situation is worsening rapidly. According to the figures, the number of drivers who take to the roads without any cover has risen by more than 28% since 2008.
That increase has prompted experts to estimate that between 370,000 and 740,000 motorists driving in France on any given day are uninsured - or between 1% and 2% of the total number of drivers on the country’s roads.
Young motorists are the worst offenders, with 59% of uninsured drivers being aged under 35.
Paradoxically, it is insured drivers who are left to foot the bill. Victims of collisions involving uninsured drivers are compensated by the Fonds de Garantie des Assurances Obligatoires (FGAO), a “guarantee fund” which is paid for by insurance companies.
The fund was involved in 27,164 cases in 2013.
Uninsured drivers involved in collisions can be prosecuted.
The maximum fine for driving while uninsured is €3,750 but any uninsured driver found to be at fault in a collision will be liable for insurance payouts and companies will seek to recover costs.
Paying back the cost of a collision can take many years. In exceptional cases, the debt may pass on to uninsured motorists’ children.
Last year, the cost of driving without insurance was estimated at more than €88m.