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I don’t think many people intentionally drive without a valid insurance policy – but I’ve met many who haven’t got to grips with the terms of their policy and find, when it’s too late, they’re not covered after all.

If you’ve received the benefit of a no claims discount, it’s worth double-checking you’ve fulfilled your side of the bargain and proved your no claims entitlement to your new insurance company. Equally, if you pay by direct debit, are their sufficient funds in your account to pay your insurance bill – every month?

Don’t wait to find out – with the police at the roadside – that your insurers have cancelled your policy.

s143 of the Road Traffic Act, 1988 makes it an offence to:

Use, cause or permit another to use,

a motor vehicle,

on a road or public place,

without insurance (or security for 3rd party risks).

 s143(3) statutory defence for employees

This defence only covers people using cars they don’t own in the course of their employment in ignorance of the lack of insurance cover.

Special reasons

While one may be guilty of s143 as above, it may be open to a defendant, in limited circumstances, to put forward mitigating or extenuating reasons for the Magistrates not to endorse their licence.

Smith, R (on the application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions [2003] EWHC 1080 (Admin) sheds some light on how the courts view defendants in these situations.

It’s much easier to resolve any concerns regarding the validity of your motor insurance policy from the comfort of your own home – rather than taking the risk of spending an entire morning at Court, hoping to convince the Magistrates to let you off the hook.