Insurance Policy Lapsed


I have been advised to send you an email outline of the facts pertinent to my case to enable you to give initial advice. Forgive the length of the email, but I want to try and convey all the information to you in what I hope is a clear and chronological format.

1. I was stopped by x police on Friday morning last week (x at approx 0935am) for driving whilst operating a mobile telephone. (There is very little I can say about this other than the irony is I have a work issue mobile phone that has a hands free system, but unfortunately this particular device was broken and the call I was taking on a ‘spare’ device which was not compatible with the hands free [call was received not made by me] was from my work IT Helpdesk trying to resolve the issuance of a new mobile device to me.

This new device would effectively reactivate my hands free mobile in car system). HOWEVER, I do not wish to distract the real purpose of this email and the background continues below.

2. I was given a ticket for £60 to pay and a 3 point penalty and asked to provide my drivers licence and insurance documents at my nearest police station with 7 days (not yet done this – and your advice is required as a result of additional information below).

3. The Traffic officer conducted all the usual background tests on me and my vehicle (outstanding criminal notices, car registered keeper, etc).

4. Given that you do not know my personal background I would highlight at this point I have never been in any trouble with the law or any other agency in my life and hence these checks all came back clean.

5. However, the Officer’s initial checks for car insurance revealed that the Police own database did not have a record of valid car insurance. I did not agree with this and understood my policy was with RAC Insurance. I also understood that I had paid my insurance premium in full at the start of each year which the officer said was a good thing as it meant I would have a full year of insurance and thus in his words ‘…..

I was a decent person who paid for insurance and not someone who set up a monthly direct debit to get the policy certificate and then cancel the direct debit as less decent people do…’. The Officer then said the Police data base was not infallible and as such contacted another person (female lady with American accent) to double check the police record.

Again this lady confirmed the police record showed no valid insurance but again the Police Officer advised this was not unusual as she had just checked the same system that he had checked.

6. The female person the Officer had just contacted then agreed to call the Officer back as she would follow up direct with x Insurance.

7. This lady called the officer back (the call was on speaker phone so I was also listening) and informed the officer that x had CONFIRMED a valid policy was in place for the vehicle, but that I was to call the RAC as a follow up.

The Traffic Officer asked why I needed to call back (he assumed it was that one of the car licence alpha-numeric digits on my policy may be one number/letter out) and as such I was released from the police car and allowed to travel onwards with my journey in my vehicle. The lady said she could not answer this question due to Data Protection issues.

I said I was in the car and on the speaker phone call, but she said Data Protection prevented her from disclosing further details and that I was to call x direct myself. I agreed to do this.

8. I called x Insurance this morning primarily to ask for a duplicate certificate of my insurance policy to provide to the police station along with my drivers licence and I was informed I do not have a valid car insurance! I was naturally somewhat surprised by this.

I explained that the Police had spoken with the x on Friday the previous week and that x had confirmed a valid policy was in place, and as such there must be some mistake. Again x checked and said NO insurance was in place.

9. AGAIN (somewhat confused by now) I explained the circumstances and the x to check again as the Police had checked 3 days prior and had it confirmed insurance was in place (and let me travel onwards without impounding my car which I understand the Police would have automatically done had there not been any insurance in place?).

The RAC remained adamant that NO car insurance exists. I immediately bought car insurance with them this morning to ensure whatever happens I am correctly insured going forward. The x also confirmed they had NO record of the Police speaking with the x on Friday the x or any other day. I asked if there was another dept that the Police call, and I was told no there was not.

10. However, despite my protestations that I thought I was already insured (a fact they confirmed to the police 3 days prior), the x are continuing to say I did not have valid insurance at the time of the offence on Friday last week.

Therefore, I am now very concerned about the possible implications for myself if I did not have insurance but had wrongly assumed I did have insurance. The fact the Police confirmed a valid policy was in place – where do I stand? Do I face Points, a fine, or even worse? Could this result in a criminal record against me?

11. Furthermore, given I still have yet to produce my documents to the police station within the original 7 Days of the mobile phone offence,

I am now very concerned that giving the police a copy of the NEW car insurance policy bought today that shows a start date of today (and not the date of the mobile phone offence for which I was originally stopped) will suddenly trigger all sorts of new problems for me. Given that the police were told I had insurance (and I genuinely thought I did have insurance) is there any mitigating action/commentary I should be ready to provide to the police at the same time as I provide my drivers licence and insurance document? What else should I expect?

Will I have to go to court to resolve the Insurance part of this problem? Whilst I doubt it is a pure defence, and assuming I did not in fact have valid car insurance in place, does the fact I thought I did and also the fact the Police also thought I had insurance give me any ‘protection’ from a charge of driving without insurance?

Afterall, If the Police own investigations confirmed I had valid insurance, is it not reasonable that I also thought I had insurance (again assuming I did not actually have insurance)?

I hope this helps give you the background you need, and I would welcome your advice and recommendations, especially with regards how I handle the problem of producing my documents to the police that would seem to suggest the original mobile phone charge may be added to a more serious lack of Insurance charge?

Paula Says:

I am sorry you are having so many problems with this matter.

Have you managed to get to the bottom of what actually went wrong with the insurance and why it was cancelled? Had you just forgotten to renew it? Did you think it was automatic renewal? Were the insurance company waiting to hear from you regarding no claims etc.

These are the really important issues.

If you cannot get a certificate out of the x then you will have to bite the bullet at the police station. Depending on what went wrong with the insurance I will, be able to advise you on whether or not to take a fixed penalty ticket or whether to take the matter to court – you may not get the choice.

Have you got any other points on your driving licence?

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