If you don’t insure your car you may face hefty penalties. Car insurance is required by law before you can get behind the wheel in the UK - unless you’ve declared your car off the road. It also ensures your costs are covered in the event of an accident.
What does UK law say about car insurance?
By UK law, you must have at least third-party car insurance on a vehicle before you can drive it or tax it.
Third-party insurance covers you in the event that you cause an accident and need to pay for repairs to someone else’s property or injuries to another person. (It doesn’t cover your own costs).
It’s illegal to drive a vehicle that you’re not insured to drive - even if the car itself is insured. It’s also an offence for someone else to let you drive their car without insurance. You could both end up with a fine and points on your licence.
It’s best to check your policy to see what is and isn’t included before you get behind the wheel. Not all comprehensive policies will cover you to drive other cars.
What if my car is off the road?
Legally speaking, you need to make sure it’s insured even if it’s off the road - unless you have officially made a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
What penalties are there for being uninsured?
If you’re caught by the police for driving an uninsured vehicle, they could:
- Issue a £300 fixed penalty fine
- Add six penalty points on your driving licence
- Seize the vehicle until you pay the fixed fine and get valid insurance
- Destroy the vehicle if they don’t receive payment
In more serious cases, court action may be taken, which could lead to:
- An unlimited fine
- Disqualification from driving
Note: you can’t be sent to prison for driving without insurance. However, you will be seen as higher risk by car insurers in the future. This is likely to push your premiums up.
When don’t you need car insurance?
In most cases, you do need car insurance to drive in the UK. But there are some exceptions to the rule, including when your car is:
- Declared off-road (SORN), or has been off-road since before 31st January 1998 (when SORN was introduced)
- Scrapped, sold, stolen or permanently exported - and you have given notice of this
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