Monday, 30 January 2012

Sainsbury's Finance Money Matters Blog Guest Post : Never drive without car insurance

Car insurance can be very expensive, especially if you drive a large, powerful car - but driving without it is simply not an option.

Car insurance is compulsory in the UK if you use a vehicle - in fact, you must be adequately insured even if you leave your car parked or unattended, or allow others to drive it.

What happens if you’re not insured?
It’s essential you’re sufficiently insured at all times - otherwise, there could be severe financial and legal consequences.

If you’re uninsured and you cause an accident, you’ll be personally liable for all vehicle damage and injury costs, which can run into thousands.

Then there are the legal implications. Using a car while uninsured is considered a serious offence and carries severe penalties. Many counties issue a Fixed Penalty Notice for such an offence, which typically carries six points and a £200 fine.

If you repeatedly drive without insurance, you can receive a substantially larger fine and more points. You might even be issued with an immediate driving ban, often up to 28 days. But again, it can be significantly longer if you are a repeat offender.

Ignorance is not a defence
Sometimes drivers unwittingly use a car uninsured - for example, if they didn’t keep a note of when their car insurance was up for renewal and their insurance provider failed to inform them. However, the insurance company only has a duty to insure you for the duration of your policy - the onus is on the driver to check they’re insured.

The bottom line is, if you use a vehicle, or allow others to use it, you are responsible for insuring it. So even if a motorist unintentionally drives without insurance, an offence has still been committed.

Similarly, if you allow a friend to drive your car and they tell you they’re insured when they’re not, that’s not a valid defence if they’re caught.

If your friend showed you what appeared to be a valid insurance certificate, you might not receive penalty points or a fine, but you could still have a conviction on your record. It might seem unfair, but that’s the law.

Carry your insurance certificate
The police are now able to check at the roadside if you’re insured. For this reason, it’s advisable to carry a copy of your car insurance certificate with you. But don’t worry if you don’t - you’re normally allowed seven days to produce it at your nearest police station.

Failing to produce a valid insurance certificate within the allotted time is a separate offence in itself, whether you are insured or not.

Court action
If you’re summoned to court for driving uninsured, but can prove you were insured at the time of the supposed offence, send a copy of your insurance certificate to the prosecution. The offence for driving uninsured will be dropped, but you will might still be prosecuted for not disclosing the evidence within the seven-day time period.

In addition, if you don’t prove you’re insured in the allotted time, the police can remove your car from the road and charge you for its storage. After 14 days, your vehicle could be scrapped.

So don’t take chances. And make sure your car insurance policy gives you all the cover you need.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Keeping your kids entertained in the car

Advice on Family Car Options under £5000 from Netcars 

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1 comment:

  1. I always make sure to check and double check insurance policies - not worth the risk!