By law, you need third party insurance as a minimum if you drive a car or other vehicle. That also applies if you own one and leave it parked on the street, on your drive or in your garage.
If you don’t have car insurance and the police check your details on the spot, they can seize your car there and then – even if you arrange cover at the roadside. You’ll need to show a Certificate of Insurance and pay to get your car back. If you don’t, the police can dispose of your car 14 days later.
If your car looks like it doesn’t have insurance, you’ll get a letter from the Motor Insurers' Bureau. They’ll ask you to insure it or make sure your insurance company has entered your details on the database correctly.
You should get in touch with them as soon as you can to tell them if you’re insured. If you’re not insured and you don’t get cover straightaway, you’ll get a Fixed Penalty Notice to pay. If you still don’t insure your car, it could be seized, clamped or destroyed. You might even be taken to court.
There are some situations when it's legal for your car to be uninsured. You don't need car insurance if:
- you have a valid Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
- you’ve kept your car off a public road since before 1 February 1998
- your car has been scrapped, stolen or exported – and you’ve told the DVLA about it (if you haven’t, you could be fined £1,000)
- your car is between registered dealers or with an authorised dealer.