It is an offence to drive, use or cause or permit the use of a vehicle which does not have third-party insurance.

What is the penalty for driving without insurance?

The minimum penalty is 6 points and a fine. The Police are able to offer fixed penalties 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.

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.
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.

Special reasons that may apply…

Even if there is no defence to driving without insurance, it may still be possible to argue that special reasons apply if the person accused had a genuine and reasonably held belief that insurance was in place. For example, if it had been cancelled without their knowledge or a family member had unintentionally misled them about insurance being in place.

If the Court finds that there is a special reason it may decide not to impose penalty points. Call us now to discuss whether you may be able to avoid penalty points.

Social and Domestic Use of a Vehicle

A common scenario is where a driver holds insurance which covers social and domestic use but not commuting and/or professional use. If the police believe the vehicle was being used for a purpose not covered by the policy, they can seize the vehicle and will normally offer a fixed penalty of 6 points and a £300.00 fine. If the fixed penalty is not accepted and the case proceeds to Court, the charge may still be challenged. In such a situation, the responsibility lies with the police to prove that the vehicle was being used for a purpose not covered by the insurance policy. Often, it may not be able to prove that the vehicle was being used for professional rather than social or domestic use.

Voidable Conditions

Insurance policies normally contain conditions which restrict the circumstances under which claims can be made but this does not mean that an offence has been committed where those conditions apply. It is not possible for a policy to be retrospectively disapplied. For example a policy which states that it does not apply where the driver commits an offence of careless or dangerous driving does not mean that the the offence of driving without insurance then applies.

Similarly, policies which restrict cover according to age (eg. one which states that it does not cover those under the age of 25) have no effect in relation to whether an offence of driving without insurance has been committed.

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

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

Bear in mind that if you are charged with this offence the police must prove you gave your permission or caused the use of the vehicle. The simple fact that you may have nominated the driver of the vehicle some weeks later does not of itself prove that permission was given.

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.

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.

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.