DRIVERS often complain about the high cost of auto insurance, especially when lumped on top of other auto costs such as fuel, taxes, and maintenance. However, it is essential to have if you wish to legally drive a car in the UK as the penalties for going without can be severe.
According to estimates by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau, every 20 minutes someone in the UK is injured in an incident caused by an uninsured or undetected driver, killing 130 people every year in crashes involving that group.
Accidents involving uninsured drivers can cause harm and financial hardship to innocent victims as they struggle to recoup the cost of medical treatment or damaged vehicles that should have been covered by the guilty driver’s insurance.
Figures from 2020 indicate that there are currently around one million uninsured drivers on UK roads, equivalent to around 4% of all drivers across the country.
Is it illegal to drive without insurance?
Yes – it is totally illegal to drive or park a car on public roads in the UK without at least third party liability insurance.
Third-party liability insurance covers the financial costs of damage to persons or property as a result of a traffic accident caused by a driver. Suppose, for example, that an insured driver is at fault in a minor collision with another car. The driver’s third-party liability insurance then covers the costs of repairing the damage to the other vehicle.
What are the main types of car insurance?
Some insurance companies do not offer liability insurance themselves. It can sometimes be bundled with third-party liability, fire and theft insurance, which covers a driver in addition to the most basic insurance if their own vehicle catches fire or is stolen.
Comprehensive insurance covers all that and the cost of repairing a driver’s car after an accident, even if the driver is at fault.
Many policies have a “driving other cars” clause that covers the policyholder to drive cars other than their own. Drivers must ensure that everyone who drives their car is covered for this.
What is the maximum fine for driving without insurance?
A driver will be fined £300 and six penalty points added to his license if caught driving without insurance.
For more serious offenses, such as using a truck or providing false information to the police, the case could go to court, which could lead to an unlimited fine or a driving ban. The judge can also order the driver to pay the costs of an accident in which he may have been involved.
The police have the power to seize and destroy an uninsured vehicle, and a conviction for driving without insurance is likely to lead to higher insurance premiums in the future. They can also issue an IN10 endorsement on the driver’s license, which is valid for four years and must be disclosed to insurance companies for up to five years after the conviction.
How do I check if my car is insured?
View the Motor Vehicle Insurance Database online. The system allows you to enter your car’s registration number to see whether or not your car is insured. In addition, check your files and documents to see if you can find current correspondence about any insurance you have.
Does my car have to be insured when it is parked?
Yes. Any car parked or driven in a public place must be insured. If your car is not in use, it must be declared off the road with a Legal Off Road Notification (SORN) and parked in a private location.
Can you appraise your car without insurance?
No, you need insurance to tax your car.
You do not necessarily need to have documents to hand, the DVLA automatically checks them when you pay road tax. An exception is Northern Ireland, where you must present proof of insurance if you want to pay road tax at a post office.
If you just bought a new car, you can use temporary car insurance to tax the car.
How much does car insurance cost?
As of October 2021, the average price for comprehensive motor insurance in the UK was £412.
The cost of insurance can vary widely depending on factors such as age, location and driving history.
Drivers in East London paid an average of £865 in the second quarter of 2021, but the average for London as a whole was £595. In contrast, the average premium in Scotland’s Galashiels is just £257.
Drivers aged 20 to 24 pay an average of £811 a year, compared to £253 for those over 65.
Drivers with a clean record will also see lower premiums than those with a history of accidents.
When do I not need car insurance?
There is a very limited number of cases where motor vehicle owners do not need car insurance.
- The vehicle has been declared off the road with a SORN
- It is between registered holders or dealers
- It has been demolished, stolen or exported
- It is registered as “commercial” by the DVLA
It is always up to the driver to ensure that he and the car he is driving are properly insured. Accidentally letting a policy expire is not a valid excuse for driving without insurance and drivers will still be subject to the full rigor of the law in that regard.