Driving a car without insurance is treated very seriously in the Magistrates Court because of the potential implications of you being involved in an accident. For this reason it carries a hefty penalty of 6 to 8 points on your licence, a possible discretionary ban and a fine of up to £5,000 (depending on the severity of the offence and your financial circumstances).
Using a Vehicle/Having Use of a Vehicle
One of the things that catches most people out is that you do not have to actually be driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence in order to be guilty. Using a vehicle can mean "having use of" the vehicle, and so this means that if the vehicle is parked up on a public road outside your home (even if it is broken down) the Court will still find that you had the potential use of the vehicle and therefore if it is uninsured they will find you guilty of using the vehicle without insurance.
The police also have the power to impound any uninsured vehicle. If they do so, they may only release it once any fines have been paid and you can prove you have arranged the correct cover for your car. They can even destroy the vehicle after a certain amount of time has lapsed and you have not reclaimed it.
Fully Comprehensive Motor Insurance
Another way in which a lot of people get caught out is because they believe that their fully comprehensive insurance covers them to drive a vehicle owned by another person with their permission. Not all comprehensive insurance policies provide this type of cover as standard – especially if you are a young driver or depending on your occupation. It is usually standard practice for insurers to exclude the driving other cars extension if you are aged under 25. The other vehicle must also be insured in its own right.
It is of paramount importance that you read and understand the terms of your insurance policy, and you make sure each and every time you drive either your vehicle or someone else's, that you are actually insured.
Wrong Type of Insurance Cover
It is also common for people to be charged with the offence by simply having the wrong type of insurance policy.
A large number of UK drivers unknowingly require business use under their cover - this is needed if you are driving to various locations as part of your job. Many only have cover for domestic & commuting use, however commuting is defined as 'to and from a permanent place of work', so this may not be adequate. If it is the case that you are driving on the roads under the wrong basis of cover, this may invalidate your policy.
Another common cause for the insurance becoming invalid is due to undeclared modifications on the car. It is safest to declare all modifications when arranging your insurance, otherwise your car, along with your modifications, may not be covered under your policy.
Driving under the mistaken belief that you were insured at the time of the alleged offence is not a defence! Driving without insurance is a strict liability offence - this means that it does not matter whether or not you meant to commit the offence – if, as a matter of fact, you did not have insurance in place at the time you were driving, then you are guilty. The burden is passed to you as the Defendant to prove that you were actually insured at the time of driving, and so here are very few defences to driving a car without insurance.
Arranging Car Insurance with an IN10 Conviction
If convicted of driving without insurance, your IN10 endorsement will remain on your licence for 4 years, however you will need to continue to disclose this to insurers for a further year.
This can unfortunately mean 5 years of higher insurance premiums as you will be seen to be a higher risk to insurers, and so most providers will significantly increase their premiums, if they even offer a quote at all.
However, all is not lost! At Profile we do have a number of specialist insurers that we work with, so rather than relying on a standard insurance policy, we may be able to help you obtain a policy specifically tailored to your needs.