Is your car REALLY insured? Police warning over common policy mistakes that could get your car seized

Does your car insurance policy cover you fully?
Does your car insurance policy cover you fully?
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Police have released a list of the common insurance policy mistakes that could lead to your car being seized when you least expect it.

Police today issued this list from Motor Insurance Database (MIB) to raise awareness of common insurance policy mistakes that could lose you your car.

Police officers use the MIB Police Helpline to confirm the insurance status of a vehicle whilst standing at the roadside with the driver.

If no insurance is identified, or if the police officer has significant concerns about a breach of the insurance policy, the police officer can immediately seize the vehicle. Myths and misconceptions uncovered through these calls include:

1 Myth: I have fully comprehensive cover so I’m insured to drive other vehicles.

Myth busted: Not all policies include cover for the use of other vehicles. Always check your policy wording and don’t just assume you are covered. Driving other vehicles (DOV) cover is not normally available to anyone other than the policyholder, so a named driver on a policy would not be able to drive other cars under the policy. If you are under 25 years of age, it’s likely that your policy will not cover the use of other vehicles. If you are unsure as to whether you are covered or not, check your policy documents or with your insurance provider before you drive the vehicle.

What MIB sees: The MIB Police Helpline receives up to 150 calls per week relating to whether or not the driver is covered to drive other vehicles.

Consequences: Where the insurer confirms to the Helpline that appropriate cover is not in place, the police officer then has the power to seize the vehicle.

2 Myth: My policy covers me to drive to and from work.

Myth busted: To use your vehicle to get to and from work, your policy will need to cover use for commuting. This is often referred to as ‘social, domestic, pleasure and commuting’. You can find out if you are covered for commuting by checking your insurance certificate and schedule. This essential document explains what uses of the vehicle you are covered for.

What MIB sees: The MIB Police Helpline will regularly contact insurers directly to establish what cover is in place. This information is conveyed to the police officer waiting at the roadside with the policyholder.

Consequences: Where the vehicle is being used outside of the policy terms, then MIB shares this information with the insurer to enable them to address the matter with their policyholder. The insurer will contact their policyholder to investigate this further and may result in the policy being cancelled. A serious breach of the insurance policy terms could result in the police seizing the vehicle.

3 Myth: My policy covers me to drive to work, so I’m also covered to drive to my meeting.

Myth busted: Policies that include commuting will cover you to drive to your ‘usual’ place of work, but if you drive to another place of business, such as a meeting, conference or an event elsewhere, your policy will need to include ‘business’ use.

What MIB sees: Approximately 200 calls per month made to the MIB Police Helpline relate to ‘class of use’. In many of these cases, the insurance policy did not include ‘business’ use and the driver was on the wrong side of the law.

Consequences: Where the vehicle is being used outside of the policy terms, then MIB shares this information with the insurer to enable them to address the matter with their policyholder. The insurer will contact their policyholder to investigate this further and may result in the policy being cancelled. A serious breach of the insurance policy terms could result in the police seizing the vehicle.

4 Myth: I own and use my car the most, but my Mum is the policyholder and I’m a named driver.

Myth busted: This is called ‘fronting’ and is considered fraud and carries serious consequences where your insurer could void the policy and potentially means the vehicle has been used without insurance. The policyholder should always be the person who uses the vehicle the most and is named as the main driver of the vehicle on the insurance policy.

Consequences: Where the vehicle is being used outside of the policy terms, then MIB shares this information with the insurer to enable them to address the matter with their policyholder. The insurer will contact their policyholder to investigate this further and may result in the policy being cancelled. A serious breach of the insurance policy terms could result in the police seizing the vehicle.

5 Myth: My car isn’t being used, so I don’t need insurance.

Myth busted: Keeping a vehicle without insurance (that hasn’t been declared off-the-road) is an offence that was introduced in 2011. The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation means that you must either insure your vehicle or, if it is not on the public road, declare it as off-the-road using a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN).

Consequences: MIB and DVLA work in partnership to identify uninsured vehicles by systematically comparing DVLA vehicle registered keeper records against insurance records held on the Motor Insurance Database (MID). If your vehicle appears to be uninsured because it is not listed on the MID and not the subject of a Statutory Off-Road Notice, you will be sent an Insurance Advisory Letter (IAL). If you receive an advisory letter and take no action then the penalties are severe.

The MIB Police Helpline is used by police officers to identify the insurance status of a vehicle when roadside with a driver. If the insurance policy is found to be invalid or non-existent, the police officer can immediately seize the vehicle and the driver can face further penalties.

Since the introduction of Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation in 2011, 4 million IALs have been issued by MIB warning people that their vehicle is not on the MID and that they need to take action by insuring their vehicle or declaring it off the road with a SORN. Where the vehicle is being used outside of the policy terms, then MIB shares this information with the insurer to enable them to address the matter with their policyholder.

The insurer will contact their policyholder to investigate this further and may result in the policy being cancelled. Neil Drane, Head of Enforcement at MIB said: “It’s clear that many people still don’t fully understand the insurance cover they have purchased.

This can lead to them unwittingly driving without insurance. It’s important that you check your policy carefully before taking to the road, otherwise you risk having an unnecessary encounter with a police officer.”