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Compulsory Car Insurance Rules in the UK

New legislation for car insurance has been implemented in the UK, requiring owners to keep their cars continuously insured. This is applicable to all cars, vans, motorbikes, motorhomes and trucks, even if they aren’t in use. The initial launch in May 2012 had a soft introductory period however this is now over and as of 20th June, the government has begun enforcing its crackdown on the estimated 1.4m vehicles that are driven whilst uninsured.

Why the crackdown?

The purpose of the crackdown is to cut down on dangerous uninsured drivers who account for 160 deaths on the year and causing injuries to a further 23,000 people each year. The additional costs add an estimated £500m in extra premiums to insured drivers, adding approximately £30 to every policy taken out in the UK. Any vehicle that’s now driven on UK roads need to be covered by third party insurance as a minimum.

How is it going to be enforced?

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency with and identify cars without insurance using the Motor Insurance Database, investigating occurrences of registered vehicles that don’t have nsurance in place. Notifications are being sent out with tax disc renewal reminders and the DVLA will also be writing to registered owners whose vehicles are neither insured nor declared SORN with warnings from now on.

Who’s responsible?

Each vehicles registered keeper has the responsibility for insuring it as well as making sure it’s roadworthy and taxed accordingly. Fail to do this and registered owners could face a fixed penalty of £100 at the very minimum, fines of up to £1,000 and court prosecution will be used in the worst cases of repeat offenders.

Will I need to insure my vehicle?

Registered keepers of a motor vehicle will need to be insured even if it’s sitting unused in a garage. This applies to classic cars, i.e. those with a nil value tax disc, motorhomes and motorbikes that are only used a couple of times a year.

The only way to get around insuring a vehicle not being used is to officially declare it off-road by registering a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). Doing so will exempt it from the compulsory insurance requirement. The only exception to this is if a vehicle has not been taxed, insured or driven since before 31st January 1998.

If you’d like to to use the car again?

Driving a vehicle that’s been registered with a SORN is illegal. However, registering its roadworthiness is also straightforward. The vehicle simply needs to be taxed and insured, after which it will be entitled to drive it on public roads again.

How do I declare a vehicle SORN?

Declaring an unused vehicle SORN is straightforward and it can be done free of charge. Simply notify the DVLA by completing a form on their website – the registered owner will need to do this. Registered owners will be asked for a reference number in the vehicle’s logbook, on a tax disc or SORN renewal reminder form (V11) that will have been sent by the DVLA. Once completed, a confirmation that the vehicle is officially classed as unused (and therefore exempt from the insurance requirement) will be sent out within four weeks. Declarations last for twelve months after which the SORN will need to be renewed.

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