Soon after the introduction of the Road Traffic Act in 1930, unexpected issues arose when motorists needed to drive a vehicle other than their own in genuine emergency circumstances. Volunteering to move a vehicle, for example, where another motorist had been taken ill or been involved in an accident, could lead to the "assisting" driver being prosecuted for no insurance if the other car's insurance did not cover use by any driver. To alleviate this loophole, an extension to UK Car Insurances was introduced allowing a Policyholder to personally drive any other motor car not belonging to him/her and not hired to him/her under a hire purchase or leasing agreement. This extension of cover, known as "Driving Other Cars" (where it is granted) usually applies to the Policyholder only. The cover provided is for Third Party Risks only and there is absolutely no cover for loss of, or damage to the vehicle being driven. This aspect of UK motor insurance is the only one that purports to cover the driving of a vehicle, not use.
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The immediate impounding of an apparently uninsured vehicle replaces the former method of dealing with insurance spot-checks where drivers were issued with an HORT/1 (so-called because the order was form number 1 issued by the Home Office Road Traffic dept). This 'ticket' was an order requiring that within seven days, from midnight of the date of issue, the driver concerned was to take a valid insurance certificate (and usually other driving documents as well) to a police station of the driver's choice. Failure to produce an insurance certificate was, and still is, an offence. The HORT/1 was commonly known – even by the issuing authorities when dealing with the public – as a "Producer". As these are seldom issued now and the MID relied upon to indicate the presence of insurance or not, it is incumbent upon the insurance industry to accurately and swiftly update the MID with current policy details and insurers that fail to do so can be penalised by their regulating body.
Comprehensive insurance covers all of the above and damage to the vehicle caused by the driver themselves, as well as vandalism and other risks. This is usually the most expensive type of insurance. It is custom in the UK for insurance customers to refer to their Comprehensive Insurance as "Fully Comprehensive" or popularly, "Fully Comp". This is a tautology as the word 'Comprehensive' means full.
The registration number of the vehicle shown on the insurance policy, along with other relevant information including the effective dates of cover are transmitted electronically to the UK's Motor Insurance Database (MID) which exists to help reduce incidents of uninsured driving in the territory. The Police are able to spot-check vehicles that pass within range of automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, that can search the MID instantly. It should be noted, however, that proof of insurance lies entirely with the issue of a Certificate of Motor Insurance, or cover note, by an Authorised Insurer which, to be valid, must have been previously 'delivered' to the insured person in accordance with the Act, and be printed in black ink on white paper.
You’ll notice that none of that liability coverage pays for your car or injuries, nor for any injuries your passengers sustain if you cause a wreck. This is why many people — particularly those whose car isn’t yet paid off — want “full coverage” car insurance. This isn’t actually a type of coverage, but instead typically refers to policies that include liability coverage, plus comprehensive and collision coverages.