Driving without insurance guide

Don't drive without car cover. Read our guide to discover the severe penalties you could face for driving without car insurance.


Regardless of whether it is a legitimate mistake or not, driving without insurance is illegal in the UK and carries some serious consequences. Discover the only time it’s acceptable to drive without insurance and find out how you could save on a future policy with our helpful guide.

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Is it illegal to drive without car insurance?

It is illegal to drive your car on UK roads without having at least third party car insurance cover. All drivers must insure their cars at all times as detailed in the Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation, which has been enforced since 2011.

Are there any exemptions?

If your car isn’t currently being used and is stored away in your garage, you can avoid having to insure or even tax it, but you will need to legally declare your vehicle as being off the road. The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) refers to this as statutory off road notification or “SORN”.

Whilst your vehicle is registered as SORN, you will need to make sure that your car is not driven by anyone or parked on any public roads. It will only be allowed to be stored on private land, on a private driveway or inside a garage.

What are the penalties for driving without insurance?

If you knowingly or unknowingly drive your car without cover, you could face a fixed penalty of £300 and 6-8 points on your driver’s licence.

In the event of driving without insurance, the police have the power to seize your vehicle and even destroy it in some circumstances.

If you are caught driving without car insurance and your case goes to court, you could be banned from driving and have to deal with an unlimited fine. A motoring conviction of this nature is known as an IN10 and will remain on your licence for four years from the actual date of the offence being discovered. You’ll also have to disclose this conviction with any insurance provider for five years from the date of the offence being discovered, which is likely to mean much higher premiums.

An IN10 could really scupper your ability to get car insurance in the future, let alone policies with lower premiums, so it is best to avoid driving without insurance at all costs.

Are there any special reasons for driving without insurance?

When a person is found to be driving without insurance, there are some “special reasons” that may apply, which could reduce their punishment. This is because there may be times when a person may be legally at fault but may, on a personal level, be morally innocent. Examples of “special reasons” can include the following:

  • When an insurer cancels an insurance policy without informing the policyholder
  • When a person genuinely believes that they have insurance, even though they do not
  • When a person is told by the owner of the vehicle or the insurance policyholder that they can legally drive the car

When is it OK for a car to be uninsured?

There are only a handful of times when it is acceptable for a car to be uninsured. These include the following:

  • When a car is registered as SORN
  • When a car is between registered owners
  • When a car has been off public roads since before 1 February 1998
  • When a car has been scrapped, stolen or exported with prior notification

How can I save money on a new car insurance policy?

  • Choose a cover level that suits you. Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive cover can be cheaper than third party (TP) or third party fire and theft, so it’s always worth checking. This is because of the risk profile of many people who typically get TP.
  • Increase security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
  • Have a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Limit your mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
  • Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
  • Add experienced drivers. Adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy could help to lower the premium.
  • Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
  • Advanced driving skills. You could be in line for a discount with certain providers by taking an advanced driving course such as those offered by the Pass Plus scheme.
  • Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
  • Pick a smaller car. Choosing to drive a small, safe car is likely to lower your premium.
  • Limit modifications. Any modifications made to your car to make it look better or drive faster are likely to increase your premiums, so think carefully before making any changes.
  • Consider telematics insurance. Having a “black box” fitted to your car to monitor your driving could result in discounts if you drive safely.
  • Shop around. Don’t simply choose to renew your car insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need. Shop around and compare your options to find the best deal. Keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best policy so check the cover details carefully.

Frequently asked questions

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