It is a legal requirement to have insurance if you use a vehicle. Use of the vehicle includes not only driving but parking on a public highway. If you use a vehicle on a road or other public place without at least a policy of insurance covering third party risks you will be guilty of an offence.
In addition, if you allow another person to use your vehicle and they are not covered by a policy of insurance you will be committing the offence of permitting no insurance.
Driving without insurance is known as a strict liability offence. This means that the prosecution does not need to prove any guilty knowledge or intent to convict. There are some potential exceptions and it is important to seek specialist legal advice if you are facing a prosecution for having no insurance.
Hewitts Motor Solicitors often represent clients who genuinely believed that they were covered by a policy of insurance when using a vehicle. This can often occur when someone’s spouse has taken responsibility for obtaining the insurance but failed or forgotten to add them as a named driver to the policy.
Many clients also believe that if they hold fully comprehensive cover on their own vehicle that they are insured with third party cover to drive another person’s vehicle. Whilst this maybe the case it is certainly not always so. You must check the terms of your policy to see what it covers.
As the owner of a vehicle, it is your responsibility to ensure that anyone driving that vehicle is insured. If an uninsured driver is driving your vehicle with your knowledge and permission you could be fined and receive 6 penalty points on your licence.
In cases like this it may be possible to argue special reasons. If the Court found that there were special reasons then they can decide not to impose penalty points.
It is important to make sure that your insurance policy covers the specific use of the vehicle. Some policies only cover social, domestic and pleasure use and not use for work. Business use can include driving between different offices or to appointments during your employment.
If you were using your vehicle for these purposes and did not have business use on your policy, you could face prosecution for driving without insurance.
No insurance usually results in 6 to 8 penalty points and a fine. The Court can however order a disqualification and are likely to if the vehicle was involved in an accident.
There are some defences to driving without insurance. A person will not be convicted if they can prove:
- That the vehicle did not belong to them and was not in their possession under a contract of hiring or of loan and
- That they were using the vehicle during their employment, and
- That they neither knew nor had reason to believe that there was not in force in relation to the vehicle a policy of insurance
This is often known as the “employee's defence”. If you are being prosecuted for driving a works vehicle without insurance, it is very important that you get expert legal advice.
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