You must have motor insurance to drive your vehicle on UK roads.
Third party insurance is the legal minimum. This means you’re covered if you have an accident causing damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property. It does not cover any other costs like repair to your own vehicle.
You may want to use an insurance broker.
If you’re in an accident
If you have an accident causing damage or injury you must give the following to anyone with ‘reasonable grounds for requiring them’, for example an insurance company:
- your name and address
- the vehicle registration number
You also need to give the owner’s name and address if the vehicle is not yours.
You must report the accident to the police within 24 hours if you do not give your details at the time of the accident.
You must also report the accident to your insurance company, even if you’re not planning to make a claim.
Accidents with uninsured motorists
You should tell the police if you have an accident with someone who’s not insured.
Your insurance company will also be able to give you more advice.
You might also be able to get compensation if you’re the victim of an uninsured or hit and run driver.
If you’re driving in most European countries
All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third party cover to drive in:
- the EU (including Ireland)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
Check with your insurer if your policy has extra cover for things like theft or damage to your car abroad.
You do not need to carry a green card when you drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland. You still need valid vehicle insurance.
You may need to carry a green card to drive in other countries, including:
If you’re driving in the rest of the world
You may need to carry a green card to prove you have the minimum insurance cover required by the country you’re driving in. This includes:
You may also need additional insurance for your vehicle, trailer or caravan. Check the travel advice for the country you’re going to.
Getting a green card from your insurer
A green card is proof that you have vehicle insurance when driving abroad.
Contact your insurer to get one for your vehicle. They’ll either:
- post you a green card – allow up to 6 weeks
- tell you how to download a green card to print yourself
You will need to carry extra green cards if:
- you’re towing a trailer or caravan (one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan)
- you have 2 insurance policies covering your trip (one card for each policy)
- you have multi-car or fleet insurance (one for each vehicle on the policy)
Showing your green card when driving abroad
You must show your green card if you’re involved in an accident.
You may have to show your green card:
- at the border when moving between countries
- if you’re stopped by the police
Rules in England, Wales and Scotland
You must have motor insurance for your vehicle if you use it on roads and in public places.
You do not need to insure your vehicle if it is kept off the road and declared as off the road (SORN). This rule is called ‘continuous insurance enforcement’.
If not, you could:
- get a fixed penalty of £100
- have your vehicle wheel-clamped, impounded or destroyed
- face a court prosecution, with a possible maximum fine of £1,000
It does not matter who is driving the car – if you’re the registered keeper, you could get penalised.
You will also still have to pay for your insurance on top of any fines received.
Motor traders – exceptions
If a vehicle is between registered keepers or registered as ‘in trade’ with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), it is excluded from continuous insurance enforcement.
Vehicles you keep for your own use are not excluded.
Rules in Northern Ireland
There are different rules for vehicle insurance in Northern Ireland.
Driving without insurance
It’s illegal to drive a vehicle on a road or in a public place without at least 3rd party insurance.
Even if the vehicle itself is insured, if you’re not correctly insured to drive it you could get penalised.
Penalties for uninsured drivers:
The police could give you a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points if you’re caught driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive.
If the case goes to court you could get:
- an unlimited fine
- disqualified from driving
The police also have the power to seize, and in some cases, destroy the vehicle that’s being driven uninsured.