Paws For Thought

Have you seen the new TV ad about the new law coming into force that requires every car to have insurance cover?  The one with the green and red cars whizzing about. We’ve had a few people asking us about this:  “Hasn’t it always been an offence to drive without car insurance?” “What about the car in my garage that I never use?” So I thought that we should try and clear up any confusion.  Here goes: The ad is being funded by the insurance industry to the tune of over £1m.  It is designed to provide motorists in England, Wales and Scotland (it does not cover Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands) with advance warning of the new Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme that comes into force on June 20th 2011.  The scheme is part of a wider government crackdown on Britain’s estimated 2 million uninsured drivers and means that the registered keeper of a vehicle must keep it insured unless they've made a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). A SORN can be made by contacting the DVLA either online or over phone. Whilst it’s always been an offence to drive whilst uninsured, the new law means that it will be an offence to own a vehicle that is uninsured, unless it is covered by a SORN. So essentially it takes a whole grey area out of motoring and insurance legislation. It applies to all classic and vintage cars, motorbikes and motorhomes, even if these are only used for part of the year. The only real exception to this is if you own a vehicle that has been kept off-road since before January 31st 1998, the date that SORN was introduced. Or for off-road bikes and construction machinery that is listed on the Off Road Register. Why is this change happening? Quite simply uninsured driving is becoming an increasing problem.  And it’s one that affects all insured motorists, adding an estimated £30 to each motor insurance policy sold. How? Because uninsured drivers are involved in incidents causing an estimated £380 million of damage each year and this bill is picked up by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). The MIB is funded by the UK insurance industry which can only reclaim this money by increasing the premiums paid by law-abiding, insured drivers. (The increase in uninsured driving is one of the factors behind the massive increases in car insurance costs we have all seen over the last 12 months). The CIE scheme should, in the long term, help reduce car insurance costs – or at least help to curb the increases we are currently seeing. The new vehicle insurance law includes a new penalty scheme for vehicle owners caught without insurance.  This means that any registered keeper of a vehicle who ignores official reminders that their insurance has expired (the first batch of letters will go out at the end of June) will be liable to a fixed penalty of £100; could have their vehicle clamped, impounded or destroyed; and could face court prosecution with a fine up to £1,000. Remember that these fines just relate to the ownership of a vehicle. Those caught actually driving without insurance can still face a higher fixed penalty; a fine of up to £5,000; a 6-8 point licence endorsement; disqualification from driving; and possible seizure and destruction of vehicles. There are currently a massive 300,000 convictions for uninsured driving each year and the new legislation and CIE scheme will increase this number. To avoid adding to these statistics, if you are currently the owner of an uninsured vehicle then do one of three things:
  • Insure your vehicle immediately (using of course).
  • Make a SORN if the vehicle is not used on the road.
  • Notify the DVLA if you are no longer the registered keeper of the vehicle.
Remember that if you have any questions relating to insurance you can always Ask The and we will try to help!
01/06/2011 08:53:41 Jo

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