Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) Explained
When it comes to car insurance, there are a few laws which help to keep our roads safe.
The minimum third-party insurance policy law, for example, makes sure that other drivers are always protected in the event of an accident where they were not at fault, while it is also considered illegal to lie to an insurer in an attempt to reduce car insurance premiums – but there is one car insurance law which rules them all, and that law is Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE).
What is Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE)?
The Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation makes it a legal offence to be the registered keeper of a vehicle which is not insured.
The only exception to this law is that drivers who have been granted a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN) do not need car insurance. Motors with a SORN must be kept on private land at all times, even when it is not being driven.
When was Continuous Enforcement introduced?
The Continuous Insurance Enforcement law was introduced by the Department for Transport in June 2011, with the aim of reducing the number of uninsured drivers on UK roads, which was estimated to peak at around 1.5 million.
The number of UK motorists taking to the roads without insurance forced the premiums of law-abiding citizens to go up by around £30 per person, according to the Government, costing the UK more than £500 million in car insurance premiums each year.
READ MORE: Is My Car Insured?
Driving without insurance – DVLA fines and penalties
The maximum fine for driving without insurance is a £300 fixed penalty notice, plus 6 driving licence points – on top of this, the vehicle will be seized and can be destroyed by police.
If the driver fails to pay or accept the fixed penalty notice, they can be taken to court to fight their case. A Continuous Driving Insurance court case can result in an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving.
Following the introduction of the Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation, you no longer have to be ‘caught’ driving without cover to be prosecuted – data from the Motor Insurance Database (MID) is shared with the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to help identify registered vehicles that do not have cover.
The data is also shared with the police, allowing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to identify uninsured motors on the road.
How many people are caught driving without insurance?
Following a ‘freedom of information’ request made by RAC Insurance in 2019, it was discovered that almost 725,000 drivers had been caught using an uninsured vehicle by a police officer between 2012 and 2018.
In 2018, 872 of these offences were children under the age of 17 (the UK’s legal driving age), with 2 of the offenders found to be just 11-years-old. In 2016, one uninsured driver was caught behind the wheel aged 10.
The most common age to be caught driving without cover in 2018 was 23, with drivers of this age making up more than 3,300 of offenders.
Is there a Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) grace period?
There is no ‘grace period’ between insurance policies as such – when one policy expires, it is very important that you have another policy to replace it.
Many car insurance policies will auto-renew unless you request otherwise; however, this can cost hundreds-of-pounds more in many cases. To get the cheapest car insurance, be sure to shop around at least 3 weeks before your current policy runs out.
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If you are deemed to own a vehicle which is not insured, you will receive an Insurance Advisory Letter (IAL) to inform you that action must be taken. Failing to recognise the seriousness of this letter could result in:
- A £100 fixed penalty notice (later reduced to £50 if paid within 21 days)
- The vehicle being clamped, seized or destroyed
- An further fine of up to £1,000
An IAL can be sent out instantly when a vehicle is seen to be uninsured, so even a few hours between policies could cause one to be issued.
In some cases, drivers of insured vehicles will receive an IAL when their insurance provider has failed to send a record of cover to the MID. If you think this is the case, contact your insurance provider urgently to get them to update your records.
READ MORE: The Best Car Insurance Cashback Deals 2020
Continuous Insurance Enforcement exemptions
If a car is being used on public land (including parking on a public road), there are no exceptions to the Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation.
However, registered vehicle owners are able to avoid paying for car insurance if:
- There is an active Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN)
- A vehicle is scrapped
- A vehicle is marked as ‘stolen and not recovered’
- A vehicle is marked as ‘disposed to the trade’
- A vehicle is marked as ‘disposed’
- A vehicle is marked as ‘exported’
- A vehicle is owned by the Crown
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