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The Annotated

Highway Code

Vehicle insurance

Overview

You have to have motor insurance before you can drive on public roads.

Third party insurance is the legal minimum. This means you’re covered if you have an accident causing damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property. It doesn’t cover any other costs like repair to your own vehicle.

You may want to use an insurance broker to help insure your vehicle.

If you’re in an accident

If you have an accident causing damage or injury you must give the following to anyone with ‘reasonable grounds for requiring them,’ for example an insurance company:

If the vehicle isn’t yours, you also need to give the owner’s name and address.

If you don’t give your details at the time of the accident you need to report the accident to the police within 24 hours.

You must also report the accident to your insurance company, even if you’re not planning to make a claim.

Accidents with uninsured motorists

If you have an accident with someone who’s not insured you should tell the police.

Your insurance company will also be able to give you more advice.

You might also be able to get compensation if you’re the victim of an uninsured or hit and run driver.

Driving abroad

Driving in the European Union (EU)

All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third party cover to drive in other EU countries.

Check with your insurer if your policy has extra cover for things like theft or damage to your car abroad.

Driving in other countries

Outside the EU, a ‘green card’ proves that your insurance covers the minimum cover in the country you’re driving in. Ask your insurance company if they can issue you with one.

Uninsured vehicles

Rules in England, Wales and Scotland

The rules for insuring vehicles are called ‘continuous insurance enforcement’. They mean that if you’re the registered keeper of a vehicle it must be insured or declared as off the road (SORN).

If not, you could:

It doesn’t matter who is driving the car - if you’re the registered keeper, you could get penalised.

You will also still have to pay for your insurance on top of any fines received.

You can check if your vehicle is insured on askMID.

Motor traders - exceptions

If a vehicle is between registered keepers or registered as ‘in trade’ with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), it’s excluded from continuous insurance enforcement.

If you’re a trader and you have vehicles you keep for your own use, these are not excluded.

Rules in Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland, the rules are different. You can find out about vehicle insurance on nidirect.

Driving without insurance

Driving a vehicle on a road or in a public place without at least 3rd party insurance is illegal.

Even if the vehicle itself is insured, if you’re not correctly insured to drive it you could get penalised.

Penalties for uninsured drivers:

If you’re caught driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive, the police could give you a fixed penalty of £200 and 6 penalty points.

If the case goes to court you could get:

The police also have the power to seize, and in some cases, destroy the vehicle that’s being driven uninsured.

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Annex