Whilst many businesses have unfortunately suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, some have positively thrived. Online shopping giants like Amazon have reaped the benefits from a population forced to stay at home, and restaurants offering takeaways have also been able to increase their output, particularly via Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats.
Many people with access to a vehicle have identified an opportunity to earn an additional income whilst being furloughed, and as a result, we have received a huge increase in the number of enquiries we receive for prosecutions involving driving without insurance.
Buying insurance can often be a frustrating process, as policies may be ambiguous as to exactly what they cover and what they do not. Are you able to commute to work? Can you drive somebody else’s vehicle? Are you able to become an Uber driver or conduct other work on your policy? These are all questions that need clear answers in any policy to help motorists avoid falling foul of the law, so hopefully, this page will provide some clarity to the situation.
The three main types of policy that everybody is familiar with are:
• Third-party – this is the absolute minimum that all drivers are required to have. This type of protection can cover damages to others, but not yourself.
• Third party, fire and theft – this mid-level of cover includes everything from a standard third-party insurance policy, but also protects you for fire damage and/or the theft of your vehicle.
• Fully comprehensive – this insurance category offers the highest level of protection. This covers you and other drivers for injury compensation, as well as damage and fire and theft of both your own vehicle, as well as other drivers, whether the accident is your fault or not.
It is wrong to assume that opting for “fully comp” will cover you for every type of scenario, as it doesn’t. The points below are specific types of cover you usually have to “opt-in” to, as they may not always be included in a fully comprehensive cover.
Driving Other Vehicles
Under a fully comprehensive policy, a motorist can usually drive other vehicles, as long as the other vehicle also has at least third-party insurance cover.
Commuting to Work
This appears to be something that has changed over the years, as commuting to and from work used to be included in the most basic of insurance policies. The only distinction when it came to the “work” side was that if your job actually involved driving for work, then you needed a different type of cover. However, you have to be careful that when buying a policy, it specifically states that you can use it to commute to and from your place of work, even if your job does not involve driving.
This is where the part-time Deliveroo driver often falls foul. If you own a vehicle and have the fully comprehensive cover, you might think you can sign up to be a delivery driver without switching your policy, but this is incorrect. Your cover might protect you under normal circumstances, but if you are now making deliveries, your policy must be amended to add protection for work-related journeys, if it did not include this before. If you are usually based in an office 9am to 5pm, then your current policy will probably need to be amended if you intend to start working as a delivery driver.
Driving without insurance can attract between six to eight penalty points and an unlimited fine, however, most cases are now dealt with by way of a fixed penalty of six points and a £300.00 fine. If you already have six points or more on your licence, then you will become a “totter”, meaning that the total number of points on your licence will ultimately number twelve or more. At this point, the court will look to impose a disqualification from driving for 6 months.
It is understandable to want to earn extra money, but if you are considering this route, our advice is to carefully consider each insurance policy and identify exactly what it covers you for, so that you do not fall foul of the law. We cannot stress enough how many more enquiries we are receiving about this over the last few months, in a similar fashion to those we receive from people using E-Scooters and similar “vehicles”. We would also strongly recommend that you take out Motor Legal Protection as part of your cover and make sure that it includes protection to defend motoring prosecutions (not all of them do). This will mean that in the unfortunate event you are charged with a motoring offence, you may not have to worry about paying for representation yourself.
Motoring Defence Solicitors are road traffic lawyers specialising in drink and drug driving offences. Based out of their central London offices, they provide free advice on a range of offences to motorists nationwide. You can contact Neil Sargeant for free on 0800 433 2880 or visit the website at www.drinkdrugdriving.co.uk.