New crackdown on uninsured drivers beginsContinuous Insurance Enforcement law explained

20 June 2011

Crashed car

From today, it will be more difficult to drive without insurance

A crackdown on uninsured drivers has begun today as the Continuous Insurance Enforcement law comes into force.

The law, which makes it an offence to keep – not just drive – an uninsured vehicle, means that some people who previously kept uninsured cars ‘parked’ could receive letters warning them they are in breach of the new regulations.

Registered keepers of vehicles who fail to act on a warning letter will face a £100 fine, and could have their vehicle clamped, seized and destroyed. They may also face a court prosecution, and are likely to find it more difficult – and expensive – to buy car insurance in future.

Uninsured drivers 'will get caught'

It is already an offence to drive an uninsured car, and some motorists are likely to take exception to the new law because it requires that they officially declare an unused vehicle 'off the road'. This will mean contacting the DVLA in Swansea and filling in a statutory off-road notification (SORN), as well as giving up the car's tax disc.

While being forced to deal with this extra 'red tape' may irritate drivers who have old vehicles they are in the process of selling, or who own sports cars they rarely use, road safety minister Mike Penning argues that the new law is necessary to protect law-abiding people.

'An estimated 1.4 million drivers are flouting the law by driving without insurance. This is a serious offence and results in accidents that cause about 160 deaths each year - and more than 23,000 people are injured by uninsured drivers. It also adds around £30 per year to honest drivers' motor insurance policies.

'We know who the registered keepers are with vehicles that have no insurance and letters will be dropping onto their doormats from this week. It's no longer a case of if you will get caught but when you will get caught.'

Making it harder to drive without insurance

Which? car insurance expert Dan Moore says: 'This change in the law is good news as it should make it harder for people to drive without insurance. If you intend to use any car you own, you should already have appropriate insurance cover for it – while, although it may seem inconvenient, registering any car you don't intend to drive with the DVLA is simple.

'You can apply for a SORN online and it is completely free, so legitimate drivers and registered keepers of vehicles won't lose out from the introduction of Continuous Insurance Enforcement.'

To compare Which? recommended car insurance providers, visit our online car insurance review.

You can check to ensure details of your vehicle's insurance status are recorded correctly by logging on to

pound coins

Which? Money when you need it

You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.

Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.

Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what's going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.