Since 1939, it has been compulsory to have third party personal insurance before keeping a motor vehicle in all federal states of Germany. In addition, every vehicle owner is free to take out a comprehensive insurance policy. All types of car insurance are provided by several private insurers. The amount of insurance contribution is determined by several criteria, like the region, the type of car or the personal way of driving.
The insurance certificate or cover note issued by the insurance company constitutes the only legal evidence that the policy to which the certificate relates satisfies the requirements of the relevant law applicable in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Island of Guernsey, the Island of Jersey and the Island of Alderney. The Act states that an authorised person, such as a police officer, may require a driver to produce an insurance certificate for inspection. If the driver cannot show the document immediately on request, and evidence of insurance cannot be found by other means such as the MID, then the Police are empowered to seize the vehicle instantly.
Insurer, and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) / licence data, are shared by the relevant authorities including the Police and this forms an integral part of the mechanism of CIE. All UK registered vehicles, including those that are exempt from VED (for example, Historic Vehicles and cars with low or zero emissions) are subject to the VED taxation application process. Part of this is a check on the vehicle's insurance. A physical receipt for the payment of VED was issued by way of a paper disc which, prior to 1 October 2014, meant that all motorists in the UK were required to prominently display the tax disc on their vehicle when it was kept or driven on public roads. This helped to ensure that most people had adequate insurance on their vehicles because insurance cover was required to purchase a disc, although the insurance must merely have been valid at the time of purchase and not necessarily for the life of the tax disc. To address the problems that arise where a vehicle's insurance was subsequently cancelled but the tax disc remained in force and displayed on the vehicle and the vehicle then used without insurance, the CIE regulations are now able to be applied as the Driver & Vehicle Licence Authority (DVLA) and the MID databases are shared in real-time meaning that a taxed but uninsured vehicle is easily detectable by both authorities and Traffic Police. From 1 October 2014, it is no longer a legal requirement to display a vehicle excise licence (tax disc) on a vehicle. This has come about because the whole VED process can now be administered electronically and alongside the MID, doing away with the expense, to the UK Government, of issuing paper discs.
Vehicles kept in the UK must now be continuously insured unless a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been formally submitted. This requirement arose following a change in the law in June 2011 when a regulation known as Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) came into force. The effect of this was that in the UK a vehicle that is not declared SORN, must have a valid insurance policy in force whether or not it is kept on public roads and whether or not it is driven.