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Crackdown on motorists: check you are insured

Did you know it is now an offence not to insure your car regardless of whether or not you drive it? We explain what the new law means for you and how to keep costs down.

Crackdown on motorists: check you are insured

Before you load up the car and set off for your Easter break, bear in mind that the Department for Transport is cracking down on uninsured motorists. 

New regulations introduced on the 18 April mean that it is now an offence to not insure your car – regardless of whether you drive it or not – unless it is subject to a statutory off road notification (SORN). 

A recent survey by the AA however reveals that most motorists are unaware of the new ‘Continuous Insurance Enforcement’ law. And of those who were aware of it, 38% said they ‘don’t know what it means’.

Cars crushed

There are estimated to be about 1.4 million cars being driven on Britain’s roads without insurance and acccording to the AA this costs honest drivers an average of £30 extra on their car insurance. 

The DVLA and MID (Motor Insurance Database) are currently building up a list of vehicles that have neither insurance nor a SORN.

The new legislation will allow the DVLA to take action against car owners who ignore written warnings to get their vehicle insured. Under the Motor Vehicles (Insurance Requirements - Immobilisation, Removal and disposal) Regulations 2011 vehicles kept without insurance may be clamped and ultimately removed and disposed of.

And don’t think you won’t get caught.

‘The police already do a great job using automatic number plate equipment technology to stop vehicles that are being driven without insurance,’ warns Simon Douglas, director of AA insurance. 

‘They convict about 242,000 uninsured drivers every year and last year, confiscated about 180,000 cars, most of which were crushed,’ he added.

So if you don’t have car insurance, now is the time to get it. There are dozens of online websites that offer a comparison service and most are relatively easy to use.

Check at renewal

If you have car insurance, make sure you renew your policy on time as under the new regulations you are not allowed to have a break when you are uninsured. This means shopping around well before the renewal date.

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15 comments so far. Why not have your say?

colin grant

Apr 19, 2011 at 12:41

Cant wait for my insurance premium to drop £30. Whats that? You dont think it will? In that case I'll buy some shares in an insurance company. It must be Christmas time for them with the Police doing their sales pitch for them.

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Apr 19, 2011 at 13:31

Do we really believe that average insurance premiums have risen 94% in the last 3 years. why has mine increased only 10-20 %. I have shares in 2 insurance companies and it has a good pyschological effect when you here that they are making lots of money. I would recommend it. Also I suggest shares in a couple of banks and oil companies too, this is an easy way to improve your happiness and develop a positive attitude to negative news stories.

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Apr 19, 2011 at 13:41

Just as well the police are doing a good job only 1.4 million cars without insurance god knows how many it would be if they weren't. They should crush them immediately no questions asked - it might get through to these people quicker if this happenned. I am sick and tired of paying over the odds to compensate for the uninsured drivers.

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alan pearson

Apr 19, 2011 at 13:58

I say Chaps

lets pass a law that nobody will basically understand, then don't tell anyone about it . Whoopee the fuzz and dvla can then fine the .... out of us.

Tell you what the government might change but the attempts to screw all of us with fines etc goes on a pace

What makes these idiots think that the scum that don't insure their cars bother to register them with the dvla??

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Martin Drew

Apr 19, 2011 at 14:25

I live on a tiny single track country lane and we noticed an increase in traffic a couple of years ago. Eventually we discovered it was being used as a rat run by the uninsured drivers in a village 4 miles away who had worked out a route into the nearest town 7 miles beyond without going along the main road that had recently had those blue traffic cameras installed. I have no idea if they do number plate recognition too, but the local poor obviously thought they did.

Of course none of them were taxed either, but on the other hand they probably couldn't afford to tax or insure the old bangers they had, and without them they couldn't get to work, and as there is virtually no public transport enforcing the rules just puts them out of work and on benefits. Of course the farmers still need the work done and so they'll employ people with Lithuanian number plates, probably uninsured too, but beyond the scope of the local police's number plate recognition.

In the deepest recesses of rural Britain things are not quite as black and white as they are in places like London.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Apr 19, 2011 at 15:29

I dont know what makes anyone think if all cars were insured their premiums will go down. Insurance companies who can lobby the goverment and have any law introduced dont really give a .... as long as they can sc... the common man for moreand more money even if they cant afford it.

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gordon davison

Apr 19, 2011 at 15:40

Telegraph and Argus [Bradford] newspaper had an article a fair while ago about the incidence of untaxed vehicles in certain post code areas. Recall the survey suggested about 15% of parked vehicles were untaxed in ares where there was a significant immigrant/itinerant population More surprising was the 'tame' official Police response in that they said they were aware of the problem but it was not prioritised.

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Apr 19, 2011 at 17:04

Well I managed to almost halve my insurance with Saga two months ago, by getting the cheapest quote on the internet providing the same information and emailing it to Saga.

.......... no question asked....... most impressed.

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Adam Eve

Apr 19, 2011 at 18:36

WHY? WHY? WHY? do we not do what the Aussies do?

WHEN you tax you car in OZ (and most here people CAN afford RFL).

The GOVERNMENT insures the car for Road Traffic act purposes (thru a choice to the fee payer of two or three insurance companies).

This ensures that every TAXED car in Australia has basic cover insurance.

To TFT or go fully comp IS expensive but at least a taxed car IS insured.

ONE OTHER interesting thing the Aussies do is require a RFT on EVERY type of trailer AND Caravan, NOW Clarkson would LOVE that!

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Adam Eve

Apr 19, 2011 at 18:38

Just thought, why worry, at current rates of detection / conviction the roads will be free of untaxed cars in six or seven years!

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Vyvyan Toms

Apr 19, 2011 at 19:09

I fully support efforts to get all uninsured cars off the road. I was watching one of those police in action type programs the other day and the number of people without insurance, driving licence (often no test taken/passed) is ridiculous. The policeman featured also said because they are illegal they are more inclined to drive badly. The cars are in the two/three hundred quid bracket and thus the odds are in their favour to a large degree as fines appear to be derisory and the loss of a cheap banger is well worth the saving on tax and insurance for a reasonable period.

Another problem that I have faced in the last two years is where the insurance company makes a mistake and you end up uninsured because they debit the wrong amount to your card (specifically the reduction amount instead of the reduced premium and their computer automatically cancels the policy). This year my SAGA renewal was dated early December and arrived in late January, well after the renewal date. Fortunately I realised that it was due and had continuous cover. There needs to be some scope for an explanation to be acceptable in such circumstances.

SAGA are apparently moving to automatic renewal if you don’t say no in advance and that may be a blessing given the new law.

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Peter Keating

Apr 19, 2011 at 21:52

A bit misleading. You only have to keep it insured if it is taxed. If you take it off the road and a tax disk is still in force and you cancell the insurance, you must surrender the tax disk and SORN it. Not a problem really, who would not want to get a refund on the tax disk? and if it's not taxed, you have to SORN it, the same as before.

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Anonymous 2 needed this 'off the record'

Apr 20, 2011 at 14:40

Unfortunately more than a few coppers prefer easy collars to hard graft: driving around in a comfy car with a number-plate recognition camera on board to tell them which poor idiot's insurance just ran out, or hididng in bushes with a speed-check radar at the bottom of a hill to nab a poor idiot coasting through the speed-limit, for example, keeps them busy without risk; confronting gangs of young villains carrying weapons and running wild round housing estates, for example, is altogether too dangerous, ennit...

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Arshad Mohammed

Apr 22, 2011 at 12:08

It doesn't make any sense crushing the cars. Why doesn't the police auction the cars instead and use the revenues to off-set the fines they and other govenment angency on us poor motorists. Since, it is compulsory to get insurance, I think the government should make it compulsory for insurance companies to justify these year on year insurance price rises above inflation.

Maybe us motorists need to start our own lobbying group to get these parasites under control.

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chris johnson

Apr 23, 2011 at 20:37

It is much cheaper to pay a fine for being uninsured (if caught) than it is to pay the insurance. Paying insurance is pointless - until this is rectified those of us who do pay will be penalised by increased premia.

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