Do I have to have insurance to drive a car in the UK?

Currently in the UK a huge amounts of deaths and damage are caused by reckless driving on our roads. Furthermore it is estimated that one in five new drivers will have some form of accident during their first year of driving.

Protection of other Road users  

Due to the possibility of injures occurring when using the road the UK Government has placed various initiatives and legislation in place in order to prevent accidents happening.

Two year probationary period

An example of a UK Government Initiative which is designed to protect road users and try and eliminate the potential for accidents in the first few years of driving there is a two year probationary period for any driver who passes his test after 1 June 1997. This is designed to discourage new drivers from committing motoring offences.

The Road Traffic Act 1988

The Road Traffic Act 1988 is the most comprehensive piece of legislation to deal with motoring offences in the UK. The act covers such things which must be in place before you can drive your vehicle on the road such as insurance, tax and the passing of a ministry of transport test (MOT) each year before you are allowed to drive on the road.

What does the Road Traffic Act say about insurance?

Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1998 states that a person must not use a motor vehicle on a road or other public place unless there is in force in relation to the use of that vehicle by that person a policy of insurance.

Furthermore under section 145 of the Road Traffic Act the policy must be issued by an authorised insurer and must insure for death or bodily injury to any person, or damage to property, caused by, or arising out of, the use of a vehicle on a road in Great Britain – this specifically means that the insurance must be third party insurance.

Are there any exceptional circumstances where I will not require insurance?

There are exceptional circumstances whereby you will not be required to have car insurance such as if the car is stored in a private garage and has been declared legally off-road. However, if you drive a car on the road under the terms of the Road Traffic Act you must have insurance otherwise you will be liable to a penalty.

What penalty will I get if I get caught driving without insurance?

If an individual is caught driving without insurance in contravention of the Road Traffic Act then they will be liable to receive 6 – 8 penalty points on their driving licence and a fine of up to £5,000. This is a serious penalty meaning that the requirement to have your car insured should be adhered to.