Operation Drive Insured: are you on the right side of the law?

Operation Drive Insured busts common myths about motor insurance

Uninsured driving affects the lives of those involved in road accidents and costs millions of pounds every year. However, some people are driving without appreciating the terms of their insurance. This means that they may be unwittingly breaking the law.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) is supporting police forces across the UK in a national campaign called Operation Drive Insured. This is running from 16 – 22 October 2017.

MIB has highlighted some of the common myths about motor insurance. This to create awareness on the impact of driving without valid insurance. Such as the serious consequences of being on the wrong side of the law.

Myths and misconceptions uncovered through these calls include:

  • “I have fully comprehensive cover so I’m insured to drive other vehicles.”
  • “My policy covers me to drive to and from work.”
  • “My policy covers me to drive to work, so I’m also covered to drive to my meeting.”
  • “I own and use my car the most, but my Mum is the policy holder and I’m a named driver.”
  • “My car isn’t being used, so there is nothing to insure or declare.”

Police roadside insurance checks

Police officers use the MIB Police Helpline to confirm the insurance status of a vehicle. Even whilst standing at the roadside with the driver.

If no insurance is identified or there are concerns about a breach of the policy, the vehicle can be seized.

 

Neil Drane, Head of Enforcement at MIB said:

“It’s clear that many people still don’t fully understand the insurance cover they have purchased. This can lead to them unwittingly driving without insurance.

“It’s important that you check your policy carefully before taking to the road, otherwise you risk having an unnecessary encounter with a police officer.”

 

Is your motor insurance keeping you on the right side of the law?

Myth: I have comprehensive cover so I’m insured to drive other vehicles

Myth busted: Not all policies include cover for the use of other vehicles. Don’t assume that you are covered. Always check your policy wording. Driving other vehicles (DOV) cover is usually only available to the policyholder.

A named driver on a policy would not be able to drive other cars under the policy. Those under 25 years of age are unlikely to be covered to use other vehicles. If you are unsure if you are covered check your policy documents. Or contact your insurance provider before you drive the vehicle.

The MIB Police Helpline receives up to 150 calls per week relating to whether the driver is covered to drive other vehicles.

Consequences:

If the insurer confirms that appropriate cover is not in place, the police officer can seize the vehicle.

Myth: My policy covers me to drive to and from work

Myth busted: To use your vehicle to get to and from work, your policy will need to cover use for commuting. This is often referred to as ‘social, domestic, pleasure and commuting’.

The MIB Police Helpline will regularly contact insurers to establish what cover is in place. This information is passed to the police officer waiting at the roadside with the policyholder.

Myth: My policy covers me to drive to work, so I’m also covered to drive to my meeting

Myth busted: Policies including commuting will cover you to drive to your ‘usual’ place of work. But if you drive to another place of business, such as a meeting or a conference elsewhere, your policy will need to include ‘business’ use.

Approximately 200 calls per month made to the MIB Police Helpline relate to ‘class of use’. In many of these cases, the insurance policy did not include ‘business’ use and the driver was on the wrong side of the law.

Myth: I own and use my car the most, but my Mum is the policy holder and I’m a named driver

Myth busted: This is called ‘fronting’. It is fraud and carries serious consequences. The insurer could void the policy and potentially means the vehicle has been used without insurance. The policyholder should always be the person who uses the vehicle the most and is named as the main driver.

Consequences:

Where the vehicle is being used outside of the policy terms, the MIB shares this information with the insurer. The insurer will contact their policyholder to investigate this further. This may result in the policy being cancelled. A serious breach of the policy terms could result in the police seizing the vehicle.

 

Myth: My car isn’t being used, so I don’t need insurance

Myth busted: Keeping a vehicle without insurance (that hasn’t been declared off-the-road) is an offence that was introduced in 2011. The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation means that you must insure your vehicle. But, if it is not on the public road, it should be declared as off-the-road using a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN).

Consequences:

MIB and DVLA work in partnership to identify uninsured vehicles by systematically comparing DVLA vehicle registered keeper records against insurance records held on the Motor Insurance Database (MID). If your vehicle appears to be uninsured because it is not listed on the MID and not the subject of a Statutory Off-Road Notice, you will be sent an Insurance Advisory Letter (IAL). If you receive an advisory letter and take no action then the penalties are severe.

Compensation for victims of uninsured drivers

Uninsured and ‘hit and run’ drivers kill round 130 people and injure over 29,000 every year. Victims of drivers who do not have the correct insurance in place can seek compensation from MIB. This fund is part of the insurance premiums of all law-abiding motorists.

MIB has issued over 4 million Insurance Advisory Letters (IALs) since 2011. These warn people that their vehicle is not on the MID and that they need to take action. Either by insuring their vehicle or declaring it off the road with a SORN.