Make a comprehensive check of your cover

Richard Wood

Richard Wood - Credit: supplied

Legal viewpoint: Richard Wood, at Keep Your Licence, says motor insurance isn't what it used to be... no, really.

Motor insurance not being what it used to be is not just the muttering of a befuddled old motoring lawyer who has got too long in the tooth (although it may nonetheless be so) who is mistakenly looking back upon a halcyon bygone era of motoring cover.

No, there is a real issue here for everyone taking out insurance for their vehicle. As a consequence, you might be committing a criminal offence every day unwittingly.

I get the same call two or three times a week – my client has taken out 'comprehensive' insurance. 'Comprehensive', for them, has always meant they were insured to drive any other vehicle other than the one identified on the policy, albeit third party only. Historically, he/she would have been right to make this assumption but it is no longer the case. As you scurry off to check your policies, I wonder how many will find your comprehensive policy isn't quite what you thought it was.

No doubt the pressure upon insurance companies to reduce premiums and keep them competitive with other firms means you now have to specially request that your insurance covers you to drive any other car. Also ensure your insurance certificate accurately reflects your application for insurance. Do not rely upon representations by salesman on the phone.

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The consequences of a mistake on your insurance can be severe. Driving without insurance carries a driving ban or six to eight penalty points. If you have points on your licence already, or are a new driver, you can find yourself facing a minimum six-month disqualification under the 'totting' provisions (reaching 12 points or more). You can avoid this by arguing 'exceptional hardship'.

If you have been misled into believing you had insurance, and that mistake was a reasonable one on your part, then you will be able to argue a 'special reason' which acts as a kind of defence in that it means you can avoid any penalty. We recommend you get advice from a motoring lawyer if you believe any of these potential arguments may apply to your situation. But please check your policy of insurance and avoid the need for lawyers completely!

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If you do need further advice, contact Richard Wood at Keep Your Licence on 0800 707 6004 for free assistance.

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