Driving Without Insurance – I Didn’t Realise It Had Lapsed


I have been stopped and fined by police due to my car not having valid insurance on 15 March 2010.

I was with x insurance and the policy expired on Jan 13th. I honestly didn’t remember a) I had to explicitly renew b) the anniversary day of the policy. They didn’t inform me of the expiry and didn’t propose to renew. It must be noted that I changed address on 7 Dec x but I didn’t inform them.

Although I had a mail transfer in place to my new address until mid-Jan and I am still owner of the old place so that mail is forwarded to me. X insurance otherwise didn’t call me or sent me any email.

Yesterday I called the company to renew my lapsed policy and they refused to do so on the ground that I had no UK licence (I have a French one) and because of the potential pending conviction.

Now my car has been taken away and I have 6 points on my licence. Are there any special circumstances which could be taken into consideration?

Paula Says:

I am afraid that you don’t have a defence to this matter. The only way you can defend it is if you can show the court that you were insured at the time of the alleged offence.

There is no defence of not knowing that the cover had lapsed. The only other argument is that you were unaware that the insurance was not in place and that you were driving under the genuine misapprehension that you were covered.

I afraid that for this special reasons argument to work you would need to show the court that you were misled into thinking you were covered rather than it being an oversight on your part – so I’m afraid that I do not think that you have a good enough chance of arguing special reasons to avoid the penalty points..

Have you got any points already? If so, how many?

You can complain to the insurance ombudsman regarding any failures to remind you but you wont get anywhere with that argument in the magistrates court Im afraid, They will tell you that it is your responsibility to keep a record of important dates.

Question Reply;

Many thanks for your quick reply. I have enough points left. Do you know if I get convicted and how much would it cost me on average? Is it a criminal record?

I will definitely take the issue with the insurance complaint dept and the ombudsman.

Thanks again for this great advice.

Paula’s Reply;

If you get convicted at court it normally costs around £400 – 500 depending on how well off you are. The more disposable income you have the higher the fines.

It is a conviction in the criminal courts, so technically speaking yes – but most people tend to discount road traffic offences.

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