26 Oct

Will I be punished for driving without insurance?

Insurance guides

There are circumstances where you might think you’re insured to drive…but before getting behind the wheel, always double check. A hasty decision could result in serious consequences.


While some may wilfully drive uninsured, for others, it’s simply a lack of awareness, such as:


  • Thinking because you have comprehensive insurance, you can ‘drive any car’. This is a common misconception but is often not the case. Even if included, it may only provide third party cover and for those aged over 25.


  • Not checking if your car has auto-renewed – so missing a paper or email reminder – and if it hasn’t, failing to buy replacement cover.


  • Taking a car for a test drive and believing it will be insured – if it’s a private seller, it won’t be.


What the law says

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, a car on the road or other public place must be insured, at least for third party risks.

If you’re involved in an accident – even if it’s not your fault, checks will be made. Police use number plate recognition cameras and pick up who is uninsured. You can’t simply buy cover retrospectively – it must be valid at the time you’re stopped.


Penalties for driving uninsured

Police can impose a fixed penalty of £300 and six to eight penalty points, while if the case goes to court, there could be an unlimited fine and a driving disqualification.


Points are recorded for four years and disqualification is likely with 12 or more penalty points within three years. If you’re disqualified for any period longer than 56 days, you’ll need to apply for a new licence.


Police can seize an uninsured car and either destroy the vehicle or have it sold at auction. Uninsured driving convictions also show up on DBS checks. In the most serious cases, where there is a fatality, there can be jail sentences of up to two years, or 10 years if ‘dangerous driving’ is proved.

Even if a car is not being driven, if it’s uninsured, you could be given a £100 fine and a £20 storage charge per day and £150 collection fee if it’s seized by police.

However, driving without insurance in itself is not an imprisonable offence and does not appear on a conviction on a criminal record.


What about cars that are not driven?

In most cases, if a car is out of action, it still needs to be insured. This is the case if it’s on the street as a stationary car can still be in an accident. You can declare a car Statutory Off Road Notice, meaning it does not need to be insured, but it cannot be left on a public road.


A simple solution from GoShorty

There’s a straightforward and affordable way to make sure you don’t have to risk driving uninsured. Short-term comprehensive car or van insurance from GoShorty can be purchased from one hour up to 28 days and provides ultimate reinsurance. So, this would cover a test drive or can be taken out on a regular basis if you want to car share or borrow a vehicle from time to time. It’s available for drivers aged 18 to 75 and is the fast and certain way to ensure you don’t need to drive uninsured.

Don’t risk driving without insurance – get cover today with GoShorty