Motor insurance can feel very expensive, especially if you've had an accident or have penalty points on your licence. Even for someone with a spotless driving record, the average cost of car insurance can range from £600 up to £1,000, or more. But despite the price of car insurance, it's never a good idea to drive without it. Here's an overview of what can happen if you've ever considered driving without a valid car insurance policy, including penalty points, fines, being disqualified from driving or even having your car impounded.
If You're Caught Driving Without Insurance
To be on legal the road, both the vehicle and the driver need to be covered by a valid insurance policy. The consequences of being uninsured vary according to whether the vehicle is uninsured or the driver is not insured (even if the car is otherwise insured).
As the registered owner of a car in England, Wales and Scotland, properly insuring your car is your responsibility if it is driven or kept on the road. If your car isn't insured under a valid policy, you could:
- Get a fixed penalty of £100
- Have your vehicle wheel-clamped, impounded or destroyed
- Face a court prosecution, with a possible maximum fine of £1,000
Those who keep their car off the road can make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), which eliminates the need to tax or insure your car. A vehicle is considered kept "off the road" if you don't keep or use it on a public road (e.g., if it's stored in a garage, on a drive or on private land).
Even if the vehicle you're driving is insured, you must also be insured to drive it. For the most part, you'll only be insured to drive an insured car if it's your own car or if you've been formally listed as a named driver on the car's insurance policy. A driver that isn't insured can incur penalties from the police of:
- A fixed penalty of £300
- 6 penalty points
For cases that go to court, the repercussions can be even greater and you could face:
- An unlimited fine
- Being disqualified from driving
What if You're in a Car Accident Whilst Uninsured?
In addition to the legal consequences of driving without valid car insurance, driving without proper cover also puts your financial well-being at risk. If you get into a car accident whilst driving uninsured, you alone will have to bear the expense of repairing or replacing your vehicle or personal possessions (e.g., sat nav). You could also find yourself facing a lawsuit from a third party and having to pay for their damages or injuries as well. This could cost you thousands and thousands of pounds that could otherwise have been paid for by your insurer, depending on the type of car insurance.
Nobody enjoys paying for car insurance, however driving without insurance is not only illegal but can cost you much more than an insurance policy would cost. There are ways, however, to make sure you're not paying more than you need to on your premium. If you'd like to learn more about finding good value for money when shopping for car insurance, consider reading our guide on top ways to save money on your car insurance. Or information on finding the best insurance company for your needs, see our article on top, cheap car insurance companies.