New rules come into force today (23 May) that require registered keepers of all cars to have continuous car insurance – or face penalties ranging from a fine to court prosecution.
Those who own a car that is not insured must either take out insurance or declare it SORN with the DVLA, even if they never drive it.
If they do not, the DVLA will discover them, through a link with the Motor Insurance Database. This detects uninsured cars: if there is no SORN declaration, action will automatically commence.
Called ‘Continuous Insurance Enforcement’ (CIE), the laws come into force now, but will not be rigorously enforced until 20 June. The month-long ‘amnesty’ will give the DVLA and car insurers time to publicise the law, allowing owners to react.
The new rules have been devised to tackle the big problem of uninsured cars on UK roads. The Department for Transport estimates there are 1.4 million uninsured vehicles on Britain’s roads – 4% of all UK drivers have no insurance.
It is estimated these uninsured vehicles add £30 to the insurance bill of every car insurance policy.
The DfT says that Police are already seizing 1,500 uninsured vehicles each week. This number is expected to rise with the new continuous car insurance law coming into force.
CIE extends laws that tackle with people who drive uninsured cars on the road. The Police have the power to issue Fixed Penalties here – a £200 fine and 6 penalty points – but prosecution through the courts is also available. Here, the maximum fine is £5,000.
300,000 people are convicted for uninsured driving each year. Today’s new Continuous Insurance Law extends this to registered keepers who do not use their cars, too.
CONTINUOUS INSURANCE ENFORCEMENT: WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
If your name is on the V5 registration document, YOU must arrange insurance for the vehicle in question, unless you have declared it SORN.
This is the case even if you do not use the vehicle. If you have a classic car tucked away in your garage, that is only insured and used for a few months in the summer, you still have to insure it all year round.
If you do not take out insurance for cars you have not declared SORN, you face prosecution and risk losing your car.
In the first instance, an Insurance Advisory Letter (IAL) will be issued, informing you there’s a risk of prosecution if you do not take out insurance.
Ignore this, and a £100 Fixed Penalty will be issued. If you still take no action, there is the risk of your car being clamped, so you cannot use it. Or, worse still, it could be sized and crushed.
The most serious penalty is court prosecution. Here, people who still refuse to take out insurance risk a court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000.
Registered keepers thus have two courses of action: either take out insurance, or declare a vehicle SORN.