What are the consequences of driving without insurance?

It hopefully goes without saying that you should never drive without insurance. Having appropriate cover to protect both yourself and other road users from harm is a legal necessity for all drivers on the UK’s roads. But what happens if for some reason you don't have car insurance and you're caught driving without it? Well, there are some serious consequences to deter anyone even thinking about heading out without appropriate cover. This Insurance Factory guide gives you a quick rundown of what can happen, and why driving without insurance should always be avoided.

Whatever the reasons for driving without insurance, be warned that consequences include penalty points and driving bans, while your car may even be seized by police. If that happens, you’ll need impounded car insurance in order to get the car released before it’s destroyed.
Here at Insurance Factory, we’ve spent years working with our panel of insurers to help you find the most suitable policy that’s right for you and your circumstances. So, don’t delay, quick and easy insurance cover is just a phone call away.

Driving without insurance in the UK
All drivers need insurance to legally get behind the wheel of a car on Britain’s roads. Despite this, there are still an estimated one million uninsured drivers on our roads. And every month there are around 6,000 prosecutions for keeping an uninsured vehicle.


According to estimates from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), the numbers of uninsured drivers are still at epidemic proportions. The MIB calculates that one person in the UK is injured every 20 minutes in an accident caused by uninsured or untraced drivers. With many thousands injured and around 130 people killed every year the effect on our community is devastating. Not to mention the yearly economic losses to the country of more than £1.8bn.
So, having valid motor insurance is much more than just a legal requirement. It’s there to protect victims of road traffic collisions by providing them with vital financial compensation. Through campaigns such as Operation Drive Insured the authorities are trying to make uninsured driving as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
What level of car insurance do you need?
If you drive a vehicle on a public road then you must have a minimum of third-party insurance cover to do so legally. This really is the bare minimum needed as it only covers injuries or damage to the property of a third party if you’re found responsible for an accident.
It will cover injuries caused to other people, passengers or animals, accidents caused by a passenger or named driver on your policy, damage to other people’s property, and injuries to people travelling in your car.
Cover for injuries may also include items such as hospital care expenses or loss of earnings. While cover for property damage can cover replacement of the damaged item and even compensation for the loss of its use.
What third-party insurance will not cover you for is repairs for your car, injuries to you, and the cost of replacement if your vehicle’s been stolen or destroyed by fire. When you’re found not to be at fault for an accident, the other person’s insurance provider will pay you compensation.
There are two alternatives to third-party insurance that are worth considering.
First up is third-party, fire and theft insurance. This insurance will cover all that third-party insurance does, but with added protection in case of fire or theft. This is seen as being particularly useful if you live or work in an area with a high crime rate.

Finally, fully comprehensive insurance covers damage to you and your car as well as other third parties, no matter whose fault the accident was. As well as covering you for fire and theft you can also make a claim if you discover damage to your car but can’t prove who caused it. So, this might cover such things as chipping or scratching, vandalism and accidental damage to your car. It really does give owners complete protection.
Be aware that having fully comprehensive insurance doesn’t automatically insure you to drive a vehicle owned by someone else. It depends on the terms and conditions of the policy. Read your policy and don’t get caught out.

It’s also worth remembering that the cheapest car insurance isn’t always third-party only insurance. It depends on your personal circumstances, so it’s always worth speaking to an insurance specialist like those at Insurance Factory when considering quotes from insurers.

What happens if you’re stopped by the police for driving without insurance?
If you’re driving around without insurance then chances are you’ll eventually get pulled over by the police. With state-of-the-art number plate recognition cameras and access to large electronic databases, the police will soon know whether a car is insured or not. 

Being stopped and asked to present your documents can be a nerve-wracking experience – particularly as many people don’t drive around with their insurance documents to hand. But don’t panic if this happens to you. You have seven days in which to provide the police with an up-to-date insurance certificate.
Be aware this has to be valid at the time you were stopped – you can’t just rush out and buy insurance and hope it will cover you. It doesn’t work like that. If you get caught driving without insurance then there is no getting away with it! You’ll receive one of the following consequences.

For driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive, the police will send you a fixed penalty fine of £300.
Even if the uninsured car is parked on the road and not being driven, you could still receive a fixed penalty of £100. In addition, your vehicle could be wheel-clamped, impounded or even destroyed. If the car is impounded then you might also be hit with a £20 per day storage charge and a £150 removal fee to recover your car.

For serious offences, such as if you’ve given false details or are driving a higher risk vehicle, you might even be taken to court and given a hefty fine.

Penalty points and driving bans
You could also receive six penalty points on your licence for driving while uninsured. These points will stay on your driving record for four years. You’ll also need to disclose the endorsement to insurers for a further year after that.

And if you’ve already picked up penalty points for other motoring offences this can be a big problem. If you receive 12 or more penalty points within three years then a court could disqualify you from driving.
If you receive a ban lasting 56 days or more, you’ll have to apply for a new licence before driving again. You might also have to retake your test or an extended driving test before getting back your licence.

Seizure and destruction of car
And now on to the ‘nuclear’ options. The police also have the power to seize an uninsured vehicle, even if it doesn’t belong to you. And they may even destroy it. Indeed, every year thousands of uninsured cars are seized by the police, with many ending up crushed and sold on at auction.

If you want to save your beloved motor from such a dreadful fate then you’ll need to get insurance pronto. Unfortunately, many insurers won’t insure impounded cars. That’s why you need to arrange impounded car insurance through a specialist company such as Insurance Factory.  


When don’t you need insurance?
There are some exceptions to these rules. You don’t need insurance if:
  • Your car is declared as off the road using the Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) process.
  • It’s been scrapped, stolen or exported with notice.
  • It's between registered keepers or dealers.
  • It’s registered as ‘in trade’ with the DVLA.
If you're not sure whether your car is insured, visit the Motor Insurance Database to check. To run the check, you need the car’s registration number and must declare you’re the owner or registered keeper of the car.
For the avoidance of doubt, yes you still need insurance if you’re test driving a car or just borrowing a car for a short trip. And no, accidentally letting your policy lapse is not a defence.

Get an impounded car insurance quote

Whatever the reason for it, getting your car impounded can cause a huge amount of stress to even the most experienced of drivers. But when this happens there are always people to lend you some help when you most need it.

If you’re looking for impounded car insurance then call the team at Insurance Factory first. We can bring simplicity to even the most complicated situation.

We’re able to arrange temporary cover, giving you plenty of time to get your car or van back on the road. Having such a policy is vital, because if you don’t have proof of insurance you won’t get your vehicle back.
Take out a policy with the Insurance Factory, and you’ll receive documents to use as proof when you visit the pound.

Get a no-obligation quote for insurance for impounded cars today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.