It is illegal for any person who uses or permits a vehicle to be used on a road or other public place, without at least 3rd party insurance.
It is mandatory for a driver driving a vehicle on road or public places to hold a valid insurance against the risks of third party. A driver can be found guilty for an offence even if there is insurance for the vehicle itself and the driver is not insured to drive it.
This offence is chargeable under section 143 of Road Traffic Act 1988.
If you have been charged for an offence on no insurance the following elements of the offence apply:
1) The burden of proof lies on the driver. A driver will need to show valid evidence that they were insured to drive the vehicle in question.
2) The offence imposes strict liability, which means irrespective of whether the person knew that the car was not insured he can be found guilty for this offence.
Possible defences available:
- That driver was not driving the uninsured vehicle at the time
- There is evidence that driver was misled by the insurance company that the insurance was still valid.
- The Insurance company had cancelled the insurance without providing proper notice to the person.
- Employees driving an uninsured company car may have a defence to driving without insurance, provided;
- The vehicle belonged to the company and that he did not have a contract of hire or loan in his possession
- That he was using the vehicle in the course of his employment, and
- That he did not know or have reason to believe that the vehicle did not have insurance.
I borrowed a car and was told that it was insured, do I still have a defence?
No. However in certain circumstances the prosecuting authorities can be asked to consider prosecuting the owner instead of the driver if that person caused or permitted a person to drive an uninsured vehicle. It may also amount to special reasons for points not being imposed on a licence even though technically guilty of the offence.
- If caught driving a vehicle and you’re not insured to drive;
A fine up to level 5/£300 and between 6-8 penalty points may be imposed
- If the case goes to court – A maximum fine of £5,000 or discretionary disqualification.
- The Police have the power to seize an uninsured vehicle, and in some cases, destroy it.
Driving disqualification or driving ban for no insurance:
A driving disqualification can be imposed for serious incidents of driving without insurance. If a driver accumulates 12 penalty points or more within three years, there is a six months disqualification
- On 2nd disqualification within three years twelve month disqualification
- On 3rd disqualification two years disqualification
If user is disqualified for 56 days or more will need to apply for a new licence before driving again. The driver will be required to retake driving test or take an extended driving test.
Short period disqualification is if user is disqualified for less than 56 days. In this case user need not renew his licence. The stamp by the court shows the disqualification period and user can use the same licence again once disqualification period is over.
In certain circumstances a driving disqualification can be suspended or not imposed on the basis of “ exceptional hardship”. See our specialist section on fighting a driving ban or disqualification and how we can help you keep your licence it if you are at risk of losing it.