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Thread: Driving without insurance - How was this possible?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Default Driving without insurance - How was this possible?

    Pulled up on M62 because the police register didn't have my car listed as covered. No problem though because my certificate at home would verify my cover so I thought plus my monthly direct debit. The police made contact with AXA via M&S who verified I was covered with them but the registration was 2 digits different ie. XKN and not XHF as it should have been. AXA changed their records and I went on my way.
    I returned home to discover my Cert of insurance also had the incorrect registration number. I contacted M&S to ask if they could retrieve the telephone call to verify that I gave the correct info and that it was their admin error. I phoned yesterday to chase this up to be told that I had actually given the incorrect registration number and there was nothing else they could do to help. I was uninsured until the date of changes even though I was paying monthly insurance premiums. I can only assume that this happened due to being stressed out from breakdown of my car.
    We have 2 cars but became a 1 car family due to finances and my partners car was left on the driveway for several months. When my car decided to give up on the way home from work, I phoned my insurer to transfer the cover to my partners vehicle. I thought I knew the reg, but for some unknown reason I ended with XKN instead of XHF (the rest of a number plate from one of my previous cars). Unfortunately, XKN is an identical car in London to the one my partner owns in North West. I have nothing to gain by insuring this other vehicle, just a complete mess up with my brain and not reading the documents before filing. Police want to charge me 300 plus give me 6 points. I am going to have my say in court but does anyone have any further advice prior to court? Why should someone who knowingly avoids insurance receive the same punishment as someone who is uninsured through error? Also, shouldn't my insurer have picked up that the car in London was being insured twice? Police could see on their roadside laptop that it was covered twice so I'm sure insurance companies must know. I know ignorance and stupidity are no form of defence but surely this has to be an exception for some leniency?

  2. #2
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    In the eyes of the law, insurance is an absolute offence i.e. either it is in force or it is not. This is why the police are pursuing it as they have. In their eyes you do not have insurance - the reason for that is not their concern - it is up to you to prove you had it.

    So far as the insurance data base being duplicated, this is quite a common occurrence. My partner has her Toyota insured through her as she is the main driver. To allow me to drive it on my trade policy, I have notified my insurer also and both are on the Motor Insurers Data base (MID). So it can easily show up twice.

    The best I think you can do is appear at the court, where you will be (most likely) found guilty if you contest it, but rely on the mitigating circumstances you have found yourself in and hope for some leniency from the court when sentencing. If you do contest it and are found guilty remember there will be additional costs to pay. If you plead guilty and have your say then you may get a smaller fine.

    However, rather than relying on views like mine, you should really get some proper legal advice. If your insurance has this legal protection cover then this would be the best place to start. Otherwise free advice from Citizens Advice Bureau may help.

  3. #3
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    Every year when my car insurance comes though, there is a cover letter which shows all the car details as well as the house address. In the letter they ask me to check that all them details are correct, and that if I don't inform them of any mistakes, then I am held responsible.

    Did you get a similar letter when you renewed your insurance?

  4. #4
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    Jul 2013
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    This is a surprisingly common mistake and the Insurer will correct the problem.

    What you need to do is speak (Politely) to the Insurers, you need them to provide a "Letter of Indemnity" which is basically a letter confirming they would have indemnified you for claims at the time you were stopped so make sure you have the documents from the police with you.

    If the person you speak to tells you they cannot do this they do not know what they're doing, politely ask for a team leader who should have a higher level of knowledge / experience and should have dealt with this problem before.

    When you get the letter of indemnity take it into the police station, they will then tell you they will pass it on and the case will be dropped.

    If the Insurers are not willing to help, tell them you want to make an "Official Complaint" (You need to use this wording) you can make a official complaint over the phone as it's quicker than via post. They have to properly investigate the matter and they are normally handled by experienced staff who have the power to correct mistakes. Technically they have eight weeks to respond, however in this type of case it will often be done quicker.

    Go to the police station and explain the situation and ask them to give you an extension before they take any further action which should give you some more time.

    It's a shame you're wit Axa as they're not very on the ball with customer service

  5. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    dacouch you obviously know what your talking about. From my very limited knowledge I would have thought something like this would be in place. It was reasonable to assume that the car was insured and if there had been an accident it would have been covered - the OP had paid his premium for this car ( a minor error should not invalidate this - he was not attempting any deception ) . Sometimes on forums I just read unpleasantness : however, your post is an example of how valuable contributors can be. Sorry if this sounds at all patronising, not meant, I just want to recognise what seems to me a very helpful post.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by belucky22 View Post
    dacouch you obviously know what your talking about. From my very limited knowledge I would have thought something like this would be in place. It was reasonable to assume that the car was insured and if there had been an accident it would have been covered - the OP had paid his premium for this car ( a minor error should not invalidate this - he was not attempting any deception ) . Sometimes on forums I just read unpleasantness : however, your post is an example of how valuable contributors can be. Sorry if this sounds at all patronising, not meant, I just want to recognise what seems to me a very helpful post.
    No problem.

    The situation the OP is in is surprisingly common and would normally be resolved either when the traffic office rings the Insurer's MID rep or the next day when they ring the Insurer and it's discovered the reg number is incorrect.

    As you rightly point out, the correct premium has been paid so the Insurer would pay any valid claims and thus would be happy to issue a letter of indemnity.

    Sometimes due to the Insurers software using the reg number to select the exact vehicle model via a link up to the DVLA, inputting the wrong reg can mean you pay the wrong premium as the wrong car is insured, in extreme cases it could mean the Insurer would nor have provided cover had they been aware of the correct car.

    I forgot to mention for John to mention the Consumer Insurance Act 2013, which basically means an Insurer cannot decline a claim for a non disclosure unless you've either acted intentionally and / or they would not have insured you had they been given the correct information. Assuming they would have insured the car had the correct reg been given then they would be liable for any claims hence why they should issue a letter of indemnity.

  7. #7
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    For the OPs sake it is to be hoped that the simple steps outlined here are correct. But I am not so sure.
    The police will be unwilling to drop the process unless they see a certificate of insurance that covers the driver at the time of the stop. A letter of indemnity may not be enough. It would be better if Axa produced a certificate covering the date as the police tend to accept this without question.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hometune View Post
    For the OPs sake it is to be hoped that the simple steps outlined here are correct. But I am not so sure.
    The police will be unwilling to drop the process unless they see a certificate of insurance that covers the driver at the time of the stop. A letter of indemnity may not be enough. It would be better if Axa produced a certificate covering the date as the police tend to accept this without question.
    A letter of indemnity is the Industry Standard way of satisfying the police that insurance covering third party liabilities as required by the Road Traffic Act was in place.

    A letter of Indemnity is produced as strictly speaking the Insurers should not back date a Certificate.

    The police will be very familiar with a Letter of Indemnity and will normally drop the charge as they know if it goes to court and either a valid Certificate of Insurance or a Letter of Indemnity is produced the court will drop the case.

    A letter of indemnity basically confirms that at x time and date (Hence why I said have the police documents to hand when calling the Insurers) the Insurers were providing insurance against third party liabilities as per the RTA.

    I've dealt with this kind of situation many many many many times.

  9. #9
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    We may never find out as the OP has disappeared.

  10. #10
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    Thank you everyone. Dacouch, your response is fantastic and I will be responding to the insurers today based upon your advice. I had reached the end of my tether and put this out as a question in the knowledge I was clutching at straws. I now have a shred of optimism and will let you know how I get on and for anyone else who gets themselves in the same pickle.

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