Driving without insurance
The law requires that a minimum of third party insurance is in place for any vehicle on a public road. Failure to have cover is a serious offence and can lead to severe penalties. The penalties for driving without insurance are between 6 and 8 penalty points and a means tested fine of up to £5000.
Even if you are not driving the vehicle you can be convicted of an insurance offence, for example, allowing another person to drive the vehicle while it is uninsured.
Below are a few examples of insurance offences and how they may arise:
Lapsed / cancelled insurance
It is common for a situation to occur where someone has had insurance in place and the insurance has either not been renewed, as an oversight, or cancelled by the insurance company due to non payment of premiums.
Driving without insurance is what is known as an absolute offence, meaning you either have insurance in place or you do not. The responsibility for ensuring cover is in place lies with the owner and not the insurance company.
In these circumstances mitigating factors can be put forward to show "special reasons" why points should not be given.
Friends driving your car
Another common occurrence is when a friend borrows your car and tells you that their insurance policy will cover them to drive it and it later turns out that it does not.
The responsibility is on the owner of the car to check the driver's insurance policy. It is a common misconception that if someone has fully comprehensive insurance on their car that they are insured to drive any other car on a third party basis. This is rarely correct and is becoming less common on policies.
Car not in use
If a car is parked on a road, even though it may not be in use, it is still required to be insured. Parking a vehicle on a public road still constitutes "use" in legal terms.
If you drive a company vehicle your employer has a duty to you to ensure that the vehicle is insured and can be convicted of an offence if it is not. In addition to this you also have an obligation to be sure that insurance cover is in place for any vehicle which you drive. In this situation it is possible that both you and the vehicle owner could be charged.
Defences for driving without insurance
A number of defences exist which may be used in cases of driving without insurance. These will be classed as special reasons, for example if you were misled into believing that insurance was in place, or if your policy was cancelled without notification from the insurance company.
This type of defence may be used to avoid receiving a driving ban or penalty points. Preparation of this type of defence can be complex and will require the services of an experiences motor offences solicitor. Contact us for more information.