Driving without insurance
If you have been charged for driving a vehicle without insurance then we advise that you seek advice at the earliest stage. Uninsured driving is a serious motoring offence, anyone caught driving without insurance can face a fine and penalty points. Driving without valid car insurance may also lead to a driving ban, depending upon the circumstances.
If you are facing any charges of having been caught driving without valid insurance, or alternatively facing accusations of allowing somebody to drive your car without insurance, contact us today.
Our dedicated team of motoring solicitors and barristers will represent and defend both your reputation and driving licence.
Caught driving without valid insurance?
By law, if using your car on a road or in any other public place you must have third party insurance. You are also liable to prosecution for being uninsured if your car is parked on a road, or in another public place.
In addition to this, if you allow another individual to drive your vehicle, you must ensure that the appropriate insurance coverage is in place. Failing to do so, may also lead to legal repercussions, for both you and the driver in question. This offence is known as permitting a person to use a vehicle without insurance. If found guilty of this offence, you may still face the same penalties as the driver of the vehicle.
The national motor insurance database takes note of every car insurance policy currently registered. In the event of being stopped by the police or having received a letter in the post regarding your policy not being registered, you will receive a ‘driving without insurance’ charge. This will then be shown on your driving licence, known as an IN10.
What are the penalties for driving an uninsured vehicle?
Driving without insurance can lead to a number of serious penalties, of varying degrees. The seriousness of the penalty often depends on whether or not you received a ‘fixed penalty notice’ from the police, or alternatively, you are summoned to court.
In the circumstances of receiving a ‘fixed penalty notice,’ you are likely to receive:
- Fixed penalty fine of £300; and
- Six penalty points (These stay on your driving record for four years)
In circumstances whereby the police decide your case is more serious, you can be summoned to court. Examples of this may include, uninsured drivers who have never passed their driving test or driving a higher risk vehicle, such as a HGV. Should your case go to court, the penalties you can face are as follow:
- Unlimited fine (exact amount to be decided by the courts)
- Penalty points (t0 stay on your driving record for four years)
- Disqualification from driving (the court will decide how long the ban is to last)
The police also have the power to seize an uninsured vehicle. Alongside this, the vehicle can be destroyed if failing to provide proof of adequate car insurance within seven working days of receiving the notice letter to reclaim your vehicle.
This may present further challenges, as not all insurance policies will cover the collection of vehicles impounded by government agencies. In this instance, you will need to check with your insurance company as to whether this is covered, before trying to reclaim the vehicle in question.
It is also worth noting that once caught driving without car insurance, it will have a direct impact on the cost of any insurance premiums taken out in the future.
What can be the maximum fine for driving without car insurance?
There is no maximum fine for driving without insurance, due to the potential of a fine being unlimited.
The amount you can be fined is often at the discretion of the courts and will depend on the seriousness of the case.
As mentioned earlier, a standard ‘fixed penalty fine’ starts at £300. However, should your case be more serious, there is no limit to the potential fine you can face.
Can I receive a criminal record for driving without insurance?
Driving without insurance will not be placed on your criminal record. Alongside this, you will not face the risk of going to prison.
It will, however, appear as a record on your driving licence. The IN10 endorsement remains on your driving license for four years.
How will the police know if I have valid insurance?
Police will routinely patrol and run number plates through their specialist software. The software has the ability to see whether a vehicle is correctly insured and MOT’d.
In the event of the software flagging a motor vehicle as being uninsured, the police will pull over the uninsured driver and initiate legal proceedings.
Alternatively, you may be pulled over by the police on suspicion of a separate offence, such as running a red light. This can lead to the police pulling you over and asking to see any necessary documents, such as a valid driving licence and your insurance details.
If you are unable to provide proof of any insurance coverage at the scene, you will be given seven days to present any valid cover at a police station. In the event of failing to provide proof of any fully comprehensive insurance cover, or discovering it to be invalid, you will be charged with driving without insurance.
Across the country, there are also stationary cameras known as ‘Automatic number plated recognition’ (ANPR.) These cameras have the ability to automatically check your number plates against the national motor insurance database.
What to do If I am accidentally caught driving without insurance?
It is not uncommon for people to be found driving without insurance due to innocent misunderstandings, such as missing a policy renewal or confusion as to what their policy actually covers. Something as simple as mistakenly entering information onto a policy also often leads to a charge.
However, it is your responsibility to ensure you hold a valid insurance policy and not drive your vehicle as an uninsured car. Simply forgetting to do so will not suffice as a valid reason.
Those with an existing policy should be notified by their insurance provider when it is time for renewal, usually a few weeks before the expiry date. In many instances, the insurance provider will even automatically renew your policy, unless told not to.
Setting a reminder of your renewal date for your insurance policy will help to deter any possible issues in the future.
Can ignorance be a defence?
No, ignorance will not hold up as a valid defence, in the eyes of the law. Although a regular occurrence and often an honest mistake, unknowingly driving without insurance will still lead to a charge as an uninsured driver.
What to do if I was told I was insured?
In this instance, as the circumstances are different, you will be able to appeal your case. If holding a genuine belief you were insured on the vehicle in question, you will be able to make a claim against the charge. For example, in some instances, an employer, family member or friend has told the individual that they are insured to drive the vehicle, where in fact this is not true.
An individual facing this charge would need to respond to the ‘notice of prosecution’ (NIP.) They would need to make light of their situation and make it clear they want to reject the charges in question. Following this, a date for a court hearing will be set.
During the hearing, the individual would need to explain to the court why they should be exonerated from said charges, despite technically being guilty of driving without insurance.
If you are in this situation, please contact us for help. The presentation of your case is imperative. Our team of dedicated motoring solicitors can build and present the necessary evidence, to argue your case in court.
In some instances, it can even be possible for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to drop any charges brought before you, before reaching court, if we can show there was no criminal intent in said actions.
When don’t I need car insurance?
In nearly all circumstances, you will be required to hold valid car insurance. There are, however, a few circumstances in which your car can be legally unregistered. These include:
- Declaring your vehicle as SORN – Having a valid ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ (SORN) allows you to put your vehicle’s insurance on hold, by declaring it off the road. You must ensure your car is kept off the road such as in a garage, drive or on private land. You will not be allowed to drive or park anywhere public.
- The vehicle is between dealers or registered keepers – You will not need any insurance if the car is between owners. However once you have become the registered owner, you will need to ensure it is correctly insured.
- The vehicle has been written off, scrapped or stolen – In any of these circumstances you will not be required to insure your vehicle. You will need to inform the DVLA and insurance provider, however.
Can I drive on private land without insurance?
As the law only applies to vehicles on public roads, if you were caught driving without insurance on private property, the prosecution must fail.
You will only be able to drive on private land without insurance providing that it cannot be accessed by the public. Defining a ‘public’ road can often be a grey area. Generally, however, if the public has access to it, it is defined as a public road.
Get legal advice
At #1 Motoring Solicitors our expert team of motor defence solicitors are here to help if you have been accused of driving without insurance. Whatever the circumstances, we can provide our expertise and knowledge, to provide the best outcome on a case-by-case basis. We will be by your side for the duration of the proceedings, fighting to get the best outcome on your behalf.
If you would like our professional help then please contact us on 02920 458999 or complete our enquiry form and we will offer you a free consultation.