Avoid a Charge of Driving Without Insurance
I’ve lost count of the number of drivers charged with driving without insurance because their policy lapsed without their knowledge. Many of these drivers have simply been caught out when their policy did not automatically renew at the end of the year.
Many of these drivers are professional people, often running their own successful businesses and juggling many balls. This can mean that personal tasks are considered lower priority and may be overlooked.
This is compounded by the volume of junk email most of us receive on a daily basis. It’s so easy to miss important mail among the countless offers and newsletters we don’t remember subscribing to in the first place. Many insurers are online only meaning that the traditional postal reminders are not sent.
The penalties for driving without insurance
The penalties for driving without insurance are severe, despite the fact that most people don’t do it deliberately. It is what is known as a ‘strict liability’ offence.
Even if your insurance expired the day before, you will still commit the offence.
If you are eligible for a fixed penalty and accept it, you will receive 6 points and a £200 or £300 fine depending on where you are in the country.
If the offence is dealt with in court, you face 6-8 penalty points or a discretionary disqualification. You will also receive a Band C fine, which is 125-175% of your relevant weekly income before any credit for a guilty plea.
Don’t opt out of auto-renewal
We all like to save money, but, unless you are extremely organised, opting out of auto-renewal of your insurance is not the way to do it. If you forget when your insurance is due, you will face far heavier financial penalties and even possible disqualification if you are caught.
You may have to attend court and spend money on legal advice which negates the potential saving in the first place.
You can still shop around
Putting your insurance on auto-renew does not prevent you from shopping around for a better deal. If you find a deal, you can contact your existing insurers and cancel the policy so that it will not renew.
However, while most of us have good intentions, our busy lives often prevent us from being as organised in our personal affairs as we are in business. Therefore, if you don’t get around to it, by leaving your policy on auto-renew, you won’t commit an offence.
It may cost you a few quid, but it’s certainly less stressful and cheaper than the alternative.
Top tips to avoid driving without insurance
- Ensure your payment and contact details are up to date with the insurers
- Make sure there is sufficient money in your account to pay your premiums
- Consider having a separate email account for important emails and another for purchases and subscriptions
- Provide all documentation requested by the insurer in a timely manner
- Be honest about any vehicle modifications and who the main driver of the vehicle is
- Check your policy documents are correct and that you know what you are covered for:
- not all fully comprehensive policies allow driving of other vehicles
- does your policy cover social and domestic driving, commuting and business use?
Ask yourself, what date does my car insurance expire?
If you can give a precise date and you are confident you have a mechanism in place to remind you, then good for you! If, like most of us, you have no idea or only a rough one, I strongly suggest you consider opting in to auto-renew.
If you read this article too late and need help with driving without insurance, please get in touch with our Nottingham driving offence solicitors for advice.