Driving Without Insurance

Driving Without Insurance

You can ask our solicitors for advice on driving without insurance using the question box on the front of our website or the following article may answer your questions.

Let’s get this upfront there is no excuse for driving without insurance – it is illegal. Driving a vehicle without insurance is covered by S143 RTA 1988 and is an offence of strict liability. You can still be prosecuted even if the vehicle is insured and you do not have the correct insurance to drive it. 

Driving without insurance

Is it Always illegal Driving Without Insurance?

Without the minimum level of insurance i.e. third party insurance it is illegal to drive a vehicle on a public highway. If you are driving on private land and it cannot be accessed by the public you do not need car insurance. Third party insurance is legally the basic minimum of insurance you will need. It will usually cover you if you are found responsible for a road traffic accident that causes any injuries or damage to property.

With third party insurance cover you can choose to add additional protection against fire and theft or you can opt to have the highest level of cover i.e. comprehensive insurance which not only covers the other party but will also cover you for any damage to your own vehicle.

Stopped by the Police

Most police forces now operate number plate recognition cameras and can do so from within their own motor vehicles. There were almost no instantly whether a car has been insured or not. If you are asked to produce your documents after being stopped, you will have 7 days to provide the information requested by the police and it must include an up-to-date insurance certificate and be valid at the time you were stopped.

NB. if your policy has been cancelled without your knowledge you may have a possible defence for driving without insurance. You will be found guilty if the insurance company can prove they had taken every reasonable steps possible to inform you of the cancellation.

Penalty for Driving Without Insurance

In the unfortunate event that you are caught driving without a valid insurance certificate you will receive a minimum:

  •  fixed penalty fine of £300
  • 6 penalty points on your licence

Serious offences of will be handled by a court for example:

  • the driver has never passed a driving test
  • the driver has given false details
  • the driver was driving a higher risk vehicle such as an HGV

Courts can issue:

  • an unlimited fine
  • disqualification from driving

Section 165A RTA 1988 allows a police officer to seize a vehicle which has no insurance.

The police can also impose the following:

  • seize the vehicle – even if it doesn’t belong to you
  • destroy the vehicle

You will likely also incur additional costs:

  • a higher car insurance premium in the future
  • costs associated with an accident
  • Will I get a Criminal Record for Driving Without Insurance?

Driving without insurance is not normally a custodial offence in itself therefore a conviction will not appear on a criminal record. Though if you are convicted an IN10 will be placed on your licence and will remain on it for 4 years this will need to be disclosed to any insurance providers for further year beyond the 4 years.

Does Comprehensive Insurance Insure me to Drive any Vehicle?

Driving other cars is often included as part of your comprehensive insurance cover, there are always a number of terms and conditions that go with that this could include age and experience so it is always wise to check the policy details first .

Numerous people have broken the law (without realising they have done so) in the belief that their comprehensive insurance cover will allow them to drive another vehicle not owned by them. Subsequently the owner of the other vehicle has also committed an offence if they knowingly allowed someone else to drive their vehicle. You both may receive a fine and points on your licence.

In extreme circumstances you may both also receive a ban.

Mitigating Circumstances

There are a number of ‘special reasons’ that you can reduce the severity of any punishments issued for driving without insurance:

Whilst driving without insurance is an offence of “strict liability” (you either committed it or you did not) and technically you are guilty of the offence, there might be mitigating circumstances:

  • Examples include (but aren’t limited to):
  • An insurance provider cancelling a policy without notifying the holder
  • No policy being in force, due to mistakes made by the insurer
  • A person being told (by the vehicle owner or policyholder) that they can drive the vehicle legally
  • Having a genuine reason to believe they are insured

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