Driving without Insurance
In the UK, it is a mandatory requirement for any person who owns a vehicle to ensure that at least third party insurance in place to drive that particular vehicle.
Not insuring a vehicle (whether it is being driven or not) is an offence that is treated seriously by the courts and but it is no longer an offence for which you can be sent to prison.
Insurance matters are often more complicated than they seem particularly in cases where a company has “fleet insurance” or there are instances of driving other people’s vehicles so we would always urge you to seek advice as early as possible if you face any charges.
There are some conditions imposed by insurers that are invalid and illegal and therefore it is essential that you receive advice from us and NOT your insurance company as to whether or not a condition makes you guilty of the offence.
It is also an offence to allow other people to use your vehicle knowing that there is no valid insurance policy in place for that driver. However, at Olliers Motor Law we are able to offer realistic advice in relation to whether you have any prospects of successfully defending this allegation.
Driving without insurance is what is legally termed a “strict liability offence”. This means that an offence can be committed regardless of whether or not you intended to drive without insurance.
The only defence available is where you can prove that the vehicle did not belong to you, that it was not hired or loaned to you; OR that you were using the vehicle in the course of your employment and that you neither knew, nor had any reasons to believe, that there was no policy of insurance in force.
Typically, this is referred to as the “employees defence” and the easiest way to think about it is to ask yourself whether you were genuinely misled into believing you had insurance.
It is important for motorists to be aware of any restrictions contained within their policy of insurance, as some of them will invalidate the policy under certain circumstances. A common restriction is that an insurance policy is invalidated if the driver is found to be over the limit at the time of an accident.
Many drivers are unaware of such restrictions until an allegation arises.
For example, a Trade Policy intended to insure vehicles for business use would not be valid if you use the vehicle for a personal journey (i.e. giving a friend a lift or taking shopping home). This singular instance is enough to void the policy for the whole time the vehicle is being used for that purpose.
The policy will also be invalidated if any of the following apply:
- Previous convictions were not disclosed at the time of purchasing the policy;
- The vehicle is registered at a different address to that contained in the policy;
- The car has been modified since the policy was purchased;
- Certain medical conditions were not disclosed at time of purchase;
- You were over the drink drive limit whilst driving at the time of any incident.
This list is not exhaustive so you should familiarise yourself with your policy as much as possible and discussing it with one of our lawyers if necessary.
Driving without insurance is punishable, on conviction, by a fine and between 6 – 8 penalty points however in recent years a fixed penalty scheme has been introduced which imposes 6 points and a £200 fine (check out GOV.UK for more details).
In extreme cases, the Courts can sentence you to a Community Order and/or a disqualification – the length of which is determined by the Magistrates.
If a conviction will means that the total number of points on your licence numbers 12 or more we would refer you to our “Totting Up” section.
If you are facing an allegation of driving with no insurance, contact us on 0808 168 0017.