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Why is car insurance mandatory?

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Written by  Saarrah Mussa
3 min read
Updated: 13 Feb 2024

Is car insurance mandatory in the UK? 

Yes, it is the law in the UK to have insurance when driving on any road in the UK as it became mandatory to have insurance under the Road Traffic Act of 1930.  

car insurance

Why is car insurance mandatory? 

Car insurance is mandatory as UK law dictates it. It helps financially protect drivers when unfortunate events happen such as an accident or theft of a vehicle.  

What's the minimum requirement? 

There is no minimum requirement, as long as you have a valid insurance policy in place, you can legally drive. There are three different levels of car insurance for you to choose from:  

Third-party only  

This option offers the lowest level of cover. In the past this option used to be considered the cheapest car insurance cover, however, this is no longer the case. 

This policy will cover you for any damage or injury you cause to anyone else or their property. 

Third-party, fire and theft  

As the name suggests, this policy will cover you in three specific circumstances. It will cover you for any damage or injury made to a third party or their property as a result of an accident in your car as well as damages caused by theft or a fire.  

This policy will not cover you if your own vehicle gets damaged in an accident. Any repairs or claims made in this case will have to be paid by yourself.  


A comprehensive car insurance policy is the highest level of cover you can get and is often referred to as fully comprehensive cover.  

Do I have to insure my car if I'm not driving it? 

If your car is on a road in the UK, it has to be insured as well as taxed. Even if you are not driving it, if it is parked on a street, it needs to be insured. You can have an uninsured car on your drive or in your garage without getting fined.  

What's the fine for driving an uninsured car? 

The penalty for uninsured drivers could range between a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points if you are caught driving without insurance, or you can get disqualified from driving if the case goes to court.  The police also have the power to seize your vehicle if you are driving without insurance.  

If you are stopped on suspicion of no insurance, it is always handy to keep a copy of your insurance policy details on you or in your vehicle for proof. You do not need to be stopped by a police vehicle to get caught without insurance, traffic cameras look for non-ULEZ cars, road tax, and insurance so there is nowhere to hide. If the vehicle is insured but you are not correctly insured to drive the vehicle you can also get a penalty.  

How can I find out when my insurance expires? 

The terms of your insurance policy will be specified on your insurance documents. Once you take out your insurance policy, you should get emailed insurance documents, be sure to keep those safe. You can easily check whether your car is insured for free at, all you need to enter is your vehicle’s registration number. 

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