Written by, Marija Petkova
Updated July, 1, 2022
Driving in the UK without vehicle insurance is illegal and could result in a hefty fine.
But, what are the consequences of driving without insurance, what is the maximum fine for driving without insurance, and which circumstances don’t require insurance?
Let’s find out.
Technically, there is no max fine for driving without insurance in the UK because the fine can be unlimited.
If you’re caught driving without insurance, you will get a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points.
However, if you’re stopped by the police while driving without insurance and the case goes to court, the maximum fine is unlimited and you could get disqualified from driving (provided that you lose the case).
You can also get fined for having an uninsured vehicle, even if you’re not driving it. (In this case, you’re required to declare the vehicle as SORN. Here’s how to do that)
Why is car insurance important?
Having vehicle insurance is a legal requirement in the UK– all drivers need to have at least third-party insurance (the bare minimum) to drive on UK public roads.
The reason why it’s mandatory is that it provides financial protection in case of an accident. Depending on the type of insurance, policies can cover you, the other driver, their passengers, your passengers, and damage to both vehicles.
Certain policies can also offer protection in case of theft or fire (also known as third party, fire, and theft insurance).
The costs of driving uninsured don’t stop at the base fine. Even if you don’t go to court (and avoid a maximum fine for no insurance), you might add a couple of pounds to your bill if the police impound your vehicle.
You’ll get charged £20 per day for storage and will have to pay a £150 collection fee to recover it.
Any vehicle might get crushed if the owner doesn’t claim it within 14 days.
It is not a criminal offence to drive without insurance – it will not appear on your record and you won’t be at risk of going to prison.
However, it will appear as a record on your driving licence and stay there for four years. Most insurers usually ask for a driving history of up to 5 years, which means you’ll have to disclose it to your insurance provider and likely end up paying higher premiums.
You will get fined if you’re caught driving uninsured, regardless of whether your policy expired, you’re in a rush, or having an emergency.
Under UK law, it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure they are covered by insurance; although, insurers always notify policyholders when their insurance is about to expire and most insurance companies automatically renew policies (read more about the new auto-renewal rules here).
Worth noting: You might be able to avoid a fine if you can prove that your insurance provider cancelled your policy without letting you know.
The Motor Insurance Database (MID) keeps records of all insured cars and shares the information with all police forces across the UK. When police stop you, they can check whether the vehicle is insured via the MIB Police Helpline.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras also have access to this information and can tell if the vehicle is uninsured in a matter of seconds.
If the DVLA doesn’t have the vehicle on record in the database, it will send you an Insurance Advisory Letter (IAL) and fine you.
You don’t need car insurance in the UK if:
There is no maximum fine for driving without insurance in the UK because if you’re caught driving uninsured and the case goes to court, the fine can be unlimited. Even if that doesn’t happen, you’ll still have to pay a fixed fine of £300 for driving a vehicle without insurance on a public road.
If you are caught driving without insurance, you will get a fine of £300 and 6 penalty points on your licence. Police can also seize your vehicle and in some cases, destroy it.
Police can check if a vehicle has insurance via the MIB Police Helpline or with the help of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
ANPR technology can detect uninsured vehicles because it has access to the database of insured vehicles at the Motor Insurance Database (MID).
The max fine for driving without insurance is unlimited, but a driver would only get a hefty fine if they go to court and are found guilty.
My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.