If you are the driver or owner of a motor vehicle and it is kept and/or used on a public road, you are required by law to have adequate insurance.

'Adequate insurance' means you must have at least third party cover so, if you have an accident which is your fault, your insurance company will pay for the damage or injury to the other party.

Being without insurance need not necessarily mean you simply haven’t taken out a policy. If you have a policy but don’t fulfill it’s requirements, you may still not be covered.

For example, if the MOT on your car has expired, this will invalidate your insurance. If you have a provisional licence and drive without a passenger who is over 21 and has held a full licence for at least 3 years, your insurance will again be invalid. In other words, you and your car must be road legal.

Penalties:

The following is taken from the government directgov website and is the authoritative source:

"The seriousness of the offence is reflected in the level of the maximum fine of £5,000, and the automatic endorsement of an offender’s licence with six to eight penalty points. The courts can order the immediate disqualification of the offender. The police also have wide powers to stop vehicles and inspect certificates, and this leads to around 300,000 convictions for uninsured driving every year.

Driving without insurance can be punishable within the fixed penalty system. The fixed penalty of £200 and six penalty points allows a more thorough enforcement of this offence. The possibility of a fixed penalty gives the police an extra option for dealing with the offence concerned, but it doesn't prevent the police's ability to prosecute in appropriate cases when they consider that to be the best course of action.

The police have the power to seize, and in some cases, destroy the vehicle that’s being driven uninsured. Any vehicle seized under these powers will only be released on payment of the fixed penalty and must show a valid insurance certificate. The vehicle will only be released to the registered keeper of the vehicle or, if there's no registered keeper, to the person appearing to be the owner. The police can dispose of vehicles not claimed within a set time.

The Road Safety Act 2006 makes provision for harsher sentences for those who kill or are involved in accidents while driving uninsured."

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