Driving without insurance

Driving without insurance carries an endorsement of between 6-8 penalty points.

In order to avoid conviction for driving without insurance it will normally be necessary to produce a valid certificate covering use of the vehicle to the Court. Before doing so, it is a good idea to attend a police station to ask them to check the documents and provide you with confirmation in writing that it is valid.

Insurance Policy

It is a defence if it is proven that the person accused of the offence was driving in the course of their employment, that the car being driven did not belong to him and that he did not know or have reason to believe that he was not insured.

The offence of causing or permitting use of a vehicle without insurance carries the same penalty. In such cases, particular scrutiny should be paid to whether there is enough evidence to prove that permission had been given.

Even if there is no defence, it may still be possible to argue that special reasons apply. This may apply if the person accused had a genuine and reasonably held belief that insurance was in place or if it had been cancelled without their knowledge.

If the Court finds that there are special reasons apply it may decide not to impose penalty points.

Call us now to discuss whether you may be able to avoid penalty points.

Penalty Table

Driving without insurance
Band C fine, 6 points to 12 month disqualification

Band A fine = 50% net weekly income

Band B fine = 100% net weekly income

Band C fine = 150% net weekly income

Driving without Insurance

In order for you to drive your vehicle legally on our roads, you must have valid motor insurance. Third party insurance is the compulsory minimum; having third party insurance means you are covered if you have an accident.

If you are caught driving without valid motor insurance, the Police may seize your vehicle, and issue you with a fixed penalty of 6 points and a £200.00 fine. If you are found guilty of driving without valid insurance, it is likely that your insurance premiums will be considerably higher than those of non-convicted individuals when you come to insure your vehicle. If your case is referred to court, you may be liable to pay a more substantial fine. The Court can impose 6-8 points for driving without insurance or a disqualification for a discretionary period.

It’s worth bearing in mind that many people who are convicted of driving without insurance did actually have motor insurance at the time of their offence, but the cover they had was insufficient. For example, many common cases involve drivers with comprehensive insurance who mistakenly believed they were insured to drive other vehicles, and younger drivers who believed they were permitted to drive under their parents’ insurance. We can help you to determine whether your insurance is suitable for you and clarify any uncertainties you may have about your policy.

FAQs

What is the penalty for driving without insurance?

The minimum penalty is between six and eight penalty points on your license, and a fine. The Police are able to give on-the-spot fines and penalty points to drivers caught driving or using a vehicle without valid insurance.

The maximum penalty is disqualification from driving and a fine of up £5,000. In some cases a short period of disqualification may be the more preferable option particularly if the person accused is a new driver who would stand to lose their licence if given 6 penalty points.

What is meant by ‘driving without insurance is an absolute offence’?

An absolute or strict liability offence is a type of offence that does not require any knowledge that it was being committed for a Court to find you guilty; the prosecution merely needs to show that the accused drove or used the vehicle that the driving was not covered by a valid policy of insurance; if your car was not insured, you are guilty of the offence regardless of whether you knew about the lack of insurance or not. The only exception is the statutory defence for employees under s143 (5) Road Traffic Act 1988.

I use a company vehicle. My employer forgot to insure it and now I am being prosecuted. What should I do?

Under s143 (5) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 a defence applies if you did not own or hire the vehicle concerned; were using the vehicle in the course of your employment and did not know or have any cause to suspect that it was not insured. The burden of proving such a defence is on the Defendant which means that you must satisfy the Court that there is more than 50% chance that this defence applies to the facts of your case.

My friend borrowed my car and said she was insured to use it under her own insurance policy; we’ve now found out that her Policy did not allow her to drive other vehicles. Can I be prosecuted?

Yes. This is an issue that is often misunderstood by drivers; allowing an uninsured driver to drive your car is an offence that can land you with a driving without insurance conviction, 6-8 penalty points and and a fine of up to £5,000. If you’re planning on lending your car to a friend, ask for a copy of their insurance policy; many people wrongly assume that their fully comprehensive insurance allows them to drive other vehicles, so it’s worth checking the limitations of their insurance before allowing them to user your car. You should also make it clear to them before you allow them to drive that you are only allowing them to drive the car on the condition that they have adequate insurance to do so.

My car is parked on the road but it doesn’t work and can’t be used; do I still have to insure it?

Yes. According to the Road Traffic Act, any person who keeps their car on a road must have a valid insurance policy; parking on the road counts as a ‘use’ of the road. The offence of keeping a vehicle without insurance, as opposed to using it or driving it, carries a fine but no penalty points.

I haven’t insured my car because it doesn’t work. My friend towed it to the garage whilst I sat in it and steered it; did I commit a driving without insurance offence?

Yes; steering your vehicle whilst it is being towed is tantamount to ‘using’ it in the eyes of the law. If your car isn’t insured and needs to be towed,  use a towing method that doesn’t involve someone having to sit in the car and steer it.

My insurance company cancelled my policy without notifying me. Am I still liable?

Driving without insurance is an absolute offence, therefore if the policy has been cancelled you still commit the offence even if you had no knowledge.

Even if there is no defence, it may still be possible to argue that special reasons apply. This may apply if the person accused had a genuine and reasonably held belief that insurance was in place.

If the Court finds that there are special reasons apply it may decide not to impose penalty points.

I named a person from abroad as the driver in response to a request for details of the driver issued by the police in relation to a speeding offence. The police are now asking for insurance details for that person but I don’t have them – what should I do?

This is an increasingly common scenario and one we have a lot of experience in. Where a person from abroad has been named, the police are mindful that they will probably not be able to enforce the penalty for the speeding offence. They often focus their attention on securing a conviction for permitting the use of a vehicle without insurance and will ask for insurance details with a view to securing evidence for this offence. However, the fact that you may have named a driver does not mean that you gave permission before driving and we therefore urge people to obtain legal advice before responding to request for insurance details for the nominated person. Any admission that permission had been given could be used as evidence so careful consideration is required when asked any questions by the police.

Whatever your situation call us now to obtain advice in relation to insurance-related offences.