Vehicle insurance (also known as car insurance, motor insurance, or auto insurance) is insurance for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other road vehicles. Its primary use is to provide financial protection against physical damage or bodily injury resulting from traffic collisions and against liability that could also arise from incidents in a vehicle. Vehicle insurance may additionally offer financial protection against theft of the vehicle, and against damage to the vehicle sustained from events other than traffic collisions, such as keying, weather or natural disasters, and damage sustained by colliding with stationary objects. The specific terms of vehicle insurance vary with legal regulations in each region.
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.
The 12-month policy will generally start on the date that the last car insurance is up for renewal, with short-term cover used to protect the other cars in the interim. For example, if you have one car that needs to be insured from February and another in June, the February car will be insured first but the policy will actually renew in June when both cars are covered. After the last car has been insured for a full 12 months, the policy will renew each year until you choose another policy.
Most existing no-fault plans are limited in the sense that they usually permit the insured party to sue the party at fault for damages in excess of those covered by the plan and permit insuring companies to recover costs from each other according to decisions on liability. Total no-fault insurance, on the other hand, would not permit the insured to enter tort liability actions or the insurer to recover costs from another insurer.
In 1930, the UK Government introduced a law that required every person who used a vehicle on the road to have at least third-party personal injury insurance. Today, this law is defined by the Road Traffic Act 1988, (generally referred to as the RTA 1988 as amended) which was last modified in 1991. The Act requires that motorists either be insured, or have made a specified deposit (£500,000 in 1991) and keeps the sum deposited with the Accountant General of the Supreme Court, against liability for injuries to others (including passengers) and for damage to other persons' property, resulting from use of a vehicle on a public road or in other public places.
Auto insurance is financial protection, and not just for the investment you made when you bought your car. After a really serious accident, bills for damage and injuries can easily reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you happen to cause such a wreck, the victims could sue you. In the worst case scenario, assets such as your savings and home could be seized.