Defences that may be available will depend on the circumstances of each case. For instance, the law provides a statutory defence to employees who are using a company vehicle in the course of their employment, so long as some other conditions are met. A successful defence can, of course, be established on the basis that valid insurance does exist. Close scrutiny of the policy’s terms and the small print is essential. In cases where it is alleged that you have caused or permitted someone else to drive without insurance you may secure an acquittal depending on the type of permission you gave to the person who drove your vehicle.
In other circumstances where it is clear that the offence has been committed the court can refrain from imposing points or disqualification if it believes that there are reasons for doing so. These are known as Special Reasons. Special Reasons for non-disqualification or non-endorsement of your licence may arise if:
you had a genuine and honest belief that you were insured to drive the vehicle in question; andthe genuine and honest belief was based upon reasonable grounds.
Such a position might arise where a friend or family member has told you that you are insured to drive a vehicle, but it turns out you were not. Other examples that might amount to Special Reasons include circumstances where insurance companies have cancelled a policy of insurance by mistake, or where errors have occurred in the renewal of an existing policy that changes the terms or fails to include previously named drivers on the policy. Ultimately, however, it is your responsibility to make sure you are sufficiently insured to drive a motor vehicle.
As more and more people obtain their insurance over the internet the chances of making a mistake are increased. In many cases the first time a driver is aware of a problem is when they are stopped by the police. If the car is uninsured the vehicle can be seized and impounded by the police until the insurance position is confirmed to their satisfaction. This can prove to be a very costly exercise.