Why is it important to have valid motor insurance?
It is a legal requirement set out in the Road Traffic Act 1988. As such it is a punishable offence/crime not to have this.
If I have an accident whilst in a vehicle that does not have a valid policy of insurance can I walk away and forget about it?
No. If you have had an accident you should report it. Leaving the scene and failing to report an accident is also an offence. However, if you have caused injury to people or damage to property then they have the right to claim compensation from you. They can pursue you directly or they may choose to involve the Motor Insurers Bureau.
I don’t have any money to pay any compensation so surely it will go away if I ignore it?
No it won’t go away. The situation will only get worse if you ignore any claim that has been initiated. Your opponent is likely to instruct a solicitor and legal costs as well as damages will be accruing. The sooner you step in to take action the sooner you can have an input into the claim.
I’ve received court proceedings what should I do?
Contact a solicitor immediately to get advice. You only have a short timescale in which to respond and set out a defence to the claim. Whilst you might not be able to deny that the accident happened or that it was as a consequence of your negligent driving, you may still be able to make representation to reduce the sums of money being claimed.
I “borrowed” the vehicle that I was driving from a friend. They had a policy of insurance and so surely this will cover me?
It is wrong to make this assumption. Under the provisions of the Road Traffic Act, where an insurer offers a policy of insurance to a vehicle and the accident is caused by a driver who is not covered under their policy then the RTA Act stipulates that they will step in to compensate the claimant but they have the right to pursue the driver directly to recover all of the money paid in damages and legal costs as well as their own costs. It’s important to remember that there may also be implications for anyone who knowingly invited you to drive the vehicle without insurance.
The council has written to me to claim for damaged street furniture. Surely this isn’t my problem?
It is your responsibility to repay the cost of repairs for damaged street furniture if it was caused by your negligent driving. This includes lamp posts, seating, fencing etc. You may also receive separate claims from any home owners whose property has been damaged.