Like every other insurance policy, car insurance has certain legal requirements and stipulations. The transport department of the UK government enforces strict motoring laws. Consequently, it is vital for all vehicle owners to be aware of the legalities of car insurance laws.
There are three prerequisites for acquiring car insurance :
First and foremost, the car must be registered. It is illegal to drive a car that has not been registered with the DVLA which makes it a prerequisite of car insurance also.
Secondly, it is obligatory on the policyholder to keep the insured car roadworthy. In the UK, this means producing an MOT certificate when applying for or renewing your insurance policy. MOT is required on a car that is over 3 years old.
Thirdly, road tax on any insured car must be up-to-date. Insurance companies will not issue insurance
without proof of payment of the road tax.
The most basic legal requirement of any existing insurance policy is that the details given by the policyholder are correct. If they change during the existence of the policy, the insurance company must be informed. Without this, the contract becomes null and void and any claim will not be upheld. By law, within the UK, it is a legal requirement for every car to have at least a ‘third-party’ insurance policy; it is illegal to drive without it. This ensures that the driver is insured against any injuries to other people, or damage to property.
If traveling abroad, it is necessary in some countries to carry a ‘green card’. This is an internationally recognized document which states that your insurance covers at least the minimum requirements of the country which you are visiting. Within Europe, most countries have the same requirements as the UK, so the green card is not needed. However, do always carry your certificate of insurance and always check that you have the right insurance before you leave.
Car Insurance Laws
The first UK car insurance law dates back to 1930 which stipulated that any person who drives a car needed to possess at least third party personal injury insurance. Subsequently, the car insurance law came to be known as the Road Traffic Act (RTA), which asserts that :
- Car owners are completely responsible for their car (even when someone else drives their car and is involved in an accident or injury).
- It is compulsory for vehicle owners to have at least third party insurance against liabilities.
- The policy holder cannot allow any other person to drive the car unless they do not have a car insurance policy.
Third Party Insurance
Third Party Insurance, according to RTA, is a policy that car owners need to be insured for liabilities such as possible injuries to others. They also require the driver to be insured for possible damage to another person’s residence due to the use of a car on a public road or in other public places like parks, residential areas and private properties.
Insurance Policy and Legality
The terms and conditions documented in your car insurance policy holds a legal value in the court of law. It provides legal proof that your car has been insured and that you are wholly responsible for it. According to the motoring laws of UK, the authorities such as the traffic police can request a driver to show car insurance coverage when needed. It should be noted that not producing the insurance policy is a legal offence.
Failing to produce an insurance policy is a legal offense and can lead to penalties like :
- Issuing an HORT/1 : HORT/1is a notice issued to drivers when they are unable to produce the car insurance policy and their driving license. Once the producer or HORT/1 is issued, the driver can produce the required documents within a week at the police station.
- Prosecution : If you do not furnish the documents within the stipulated time period, you can be prosecuted in a court of law.
Required Car Legal Documents
Besides a valid car insurance policy, the driver must possess other legal documents like a certificate of insurance, cover note and a driver’s license.
Certificate of Insurance : A legal document issued by a car insurance firm or an independent car insurance provider. It proves that the insurance document is in effect. The document summarizes the coverage type, insurance benefits and the names of those insured. It also includes the date and time when the certificate will come into effect.
Cover Note : It is a certificate issued by a car insurance company giving the insured a provisional insurance policy until the issuance of the actual policy. The cover note becomes invalid when you obtain your car insurance policy.
Insurance Policy : A written contract between the insured and insurance company. It includes the car insurance plan, its coverage, exclusions, benefits, terms and conditions, expiry dates and rates assessed.
Driver’s License : A legal document that permits driving a vehicle on public roads. It is obtained after passing a driver’s test.