Now you MUST have car insurance, if you drive or not
Insurers may use the change to increase costly auto-renewals
If you’ve got a vehicle, and it isn’t insured, you’re breaking the law whether you drive it or not under rules that came into force this week, unless you officially declare it ‘off-road’.
The Continuous Insurance Enforcement scheme means it’s an offence to keep an active, uninsured vehicle. Under the previous law, you only needed insurance if you were driving the vehicle.
The new regime began on Monday, but the Government has declared a short amnesty to give drivers a chance to get their vehicle insured – likely to last until 20 June.
If you own a vehicle you don’t drive, the only way to avoid getting insurance is with a Statutory Off Road Notice (Sorn), declaring your vehicle is not in use.
All other cars, motorbikes and motor homes must now be continually insured. Even a lapse of a few days could mean you fall foul of the new rules. This means it’s no longer possible to leave a vehicle uninsured while you’re in hospital or on holiday.
Owners of uninsured vehicles, without a Sorn, could be given a £100 fine, then if the car remains uninsured it could be clamped, seized or destroyed.
This could play into insurers’ hands
The welcome aim of this new rule is to cut the number of uninsured vehicles, which currently stands at 1.4 million. But it could play into insurers’ hands if customers simply allow them to auto-renew cover just to avoid penalties. Instead, a few minutes’ work could cut the cost of cover by £100s.
MoneySavingExpert.com creator Martin Lewis comments:
“Any crackdown on uninsured drivers is good news for motorists.
“Yet it’s important that any savings insurers make from not having to bear the cost of uninsured drivers having accidents are passed onto customers, who’ve already seen 40% hikes in car insurance in the last year.
“However, there is a worry that many people will simply ‘auto-renew’ with their existing insurer to avoid potential fines, and that allows insurers to hike prices knowing they’ve no competition.
“To avoid this, everyone should diarise six weeks before their renewal is due to start the comparison process, as if you wait until your insurer reminds you it’s often far too late.”