It is an offence to use a motor vehicle, or allow others to use it without insurance that satisfies the requirements of the Act. This requirement applies while any part of a vehicle (even if a greater part of it is on private land) is on the public highway. No such legislation applies on private land. However, private land to which the public have a reasonable right of access (for example, a supermarket car park during opening hours) is considered to be included within the requirements of the Act.
If a vehicle is to be "laid up" for whatever reason, a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) must be submitted to the DVLA to declare that the vehicle is off the public roads and will not return to them unless the SORN is cancelled by the vehicle's owner. Once a vehicle has been declared 'SORN' then the legal requirement to insure it ceases, although many vehicle owners may desire to maintain cover for loss of or damage to the vehicle while it is off the road. A vehicle that is then to be put back on the road must be subject to a new application for VED and be insured. Part of the VED application requires an electronic check of the MID, in this way the lawful presence of a vehicle on the road for both VED and insurance purposes is reinforced. It follows that the only circumstances in which a vehicle can have no insurance is if it has a valid SORN; was exempted from SORN (as untaxed on or before 31 October 1998 and has had no tax or SORN activity since); is recorded as 'stolen and not recovered' by the Police; is between registered keepers; or is scrapped.
For example, a 50-year-old woman with 30 years' driving experience and a squeaky clean licence is in a prime position for one of the cheapest insurance policies available. Her 18-year-old daughter on the other hand, recently unleashed onto the roads, will be considered a far higher risk for the insurer, consequently increasing the overall cost. Read our guide on getting cheap insurance for young drivers if this applies to you.
Several jurisdictions have experimented with a "pay-as-you-drive" insurance plan which utilizes either a tracking device in the vehicle or vehicle diagnostics. This would address issues of uninsured motorists by providing additional options and also charge based on the miles (kilometers) driven, which could theoretically increase the efficiency of the insurance, through streamlined collection.
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