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Caught driving without insurance, Insurer didn't auto-renew as they have on previous years
baklava
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45
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Hi All

Thanks in advance if anyone can give me any advice. I'll try to describe the situation as concisely as possible.

Wife stopped by a police officer for no insurance. We thought we had - but on checking our emails, we found that it has indeed lapsed. We rang the insurer - who have always previously auto renewed - and they told us that the reason it hadn't done so this time was because we paid with a 3rd party's credit card (I paid, and it's my wife's policy). We weren't warned that would be the case when we paid that way.

Officer said he had no discretion, and had to give a ticket, the only discretion he could show was in not impounding the car - we would instead allow it to be driven home, and he would follow in his car. In the end, he didn't actually follow home. He got separated at a junction, and never then turned up. I am utterly bemused by this one - surely he can't let her drive it uninsured still once it's known? I had expected to have to go out to them and collect the car with my 3rd party insurance.

The ticket given states a "Y001" offence code, which I have not heard of before. I had assumed IN10. It says wait 3 weeks for a letter (presumably an NIP) and ring them if it doesn't appear.

Any thoughts on our options? Legally speaking, I'm sure that the admin error nature (and that at least some of the fault is with the insurer) holds no water.

If we're offered a fixed penalty, will it definitely be £300 and 6 points? Or can it vary?

If we are, is there any hope at all with going to court and explaining the situation (the renewal time also happened right while we were moving house. Another excuse which makes no difference legally, but can you expect sympathy?)
Or will they be more likely to increase it for wasting their time?

Again, thanks for any advice. I suspect we've no options, but I didn't want to just assume when others might know better.


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post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45
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Jlc
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 15:00
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Yup, the fixed penalty will be £300, 6 points - the endorsement code is IN10. The other code is an internal one.

The onus is on the defendant to show they were insured, not for the Police to show they were not. Unless the insurer is prepared to provide cover then it's difficult.

The matter can be taken to court and they only real option is to plead guilty and ask them to consider 'special reasons not to endorse' on the basis that you have a genuine misapprehension that you were insured. 'Poor' communication by the insurer might help but ultimately the policyholder has a responsibility to ensure the cover is renewed, automatic or not.

I don't see why a '3rd party payment card' should make any difference mind - if it was good enough last year surely it's good enough this year!!! One could pursue a complaint on this basis and push it as far as possible.

QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45) *
...but on checking our emails, we found that it has indeed lapsed.

Elaborate on this - did you simply not read them in time?

This post has been edited by Jlc: Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 15:00


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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BaggieBoy
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 15:02
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QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45) *
If we're offered a fixed penalty, will it definitely be £300 and 6 points? Or can it vary?

The clue is in the word "fixed", it's always the same. However taking it to court and pleading guilty will likely see a higher fine, plus costs, plus victim surcharge. Highly unlikely the court would do anything but sentence using the guidance they have.
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Logician
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 16:01
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If your wife takes it to court I expect the court might show some sympathy but will almost certainly sentence in accordance with the guidelines anyway. I do not think there is much chance of them finding special reasons not to endorse, you did have the opportunity to query with the company why the renewal had not come through, and when you checked your emails you discovered what had happened. I would take the fixed penalty if offered.

I can see why the insurers would not automatically charge another year's premium to any credit card other than the policyholder's, they are not to know whether another person is still willing to pay the cost, even between husband and wife. What I think is very poor practice is not warning your wife that there would be no automatic renewal, or did they in fact ask for payment and your wife assumed that the charge would be made automatically?.

The officer did your wife a big favour by allowing her to drive home, I would not complain about it, we hear of cases where the car has been impounded and the driver left completely stranded.


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Fredd
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 16:42
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QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45) *
I had expected to have to go out to them and collect the car with my 3rd party insurance.

It's rather peripheral to your main issue, but if you're referring to the "driving other vehicles" provision of your own comprehensive policy then you should check your policy carefully before relying on this in the future - it seems to be the norm now for that cover to specifically exclude recovering a vehicle impounded in these circumstances.


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baklava
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 19:04
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QUOTE (Jlc @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 15:00) *
QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45) *
...but on checking our emails, we found that it has indeed lapsed.

Elaborate on this - did you simply not read them in time?


Ah, sorry - that wasn't clear.

I had expected to find an email from them confirming coverage, but there was no email since the year before.

On checking our paper documents, I found the renewal letter - and I do have to admit that on reading it carefully it did say that we had to ring to confirm renewal.

So while I am annoyed with Privilege not making it clearer, I think we have to admit that it's our own fault.
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Jlc
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 19:20
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That's annoying indeed but a sympathetic bench will be hard to find. More annoying will be the loading that insurers will put on the premium.


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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StuartBu
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 21:11
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QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 19:04) *
QUOTE (Jlc @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 15:00) *
QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45) *
...but on checking our emails, we found that it has indeed lapsed.

Elaborate on this - did you simply not read them in time?


Ah, sorry - that wasn't clear.

I had expected to find an email from them confirming coverage, but there was no email since the year before.

On checking our paper documents, I found the renewal letter - and I do have to admit that on reading it carefully it did say that we had to ring to confirm renewal.

So while I am annoyed with Privilege not making it clearer, I think we have to admit that it's our own fault.


Sounds as if they DID make it clear
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notmeatloaf
post Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 22:10
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The only possible way out, and it is a long shot, it to contact Privilege (probably chief execs office) - explain loyal customer, genuine mistake, renewed as soon as you realised; and ask if they would retrospecively cover you. They have the discretion to do this, and if they confirm in writing that they would have met your third party obligations on the day then you have a defence to the charge.

They can only say no, and you may get a secretary who has has similar complaints about the letter and helps you out. Don't ask, don't get.

Otherwise as people have said it is a strict liability offence, you either are or aren't insured and if Privilege don't agree to cover you then the fixed penalty is probably your best bet.

As someone who almost did have their car seized (licence wrong on PNC, midnight so couldn't call the DVLA) then he did do you a massive favour by letting you drive home seeing as having a police car tailing you doesn't make you any more insured if you hit someone!

This post has been edited by notmeatloaf: Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 22:12


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My username is notmeatloaf because I'm not made of meat loaf. I hope that clarifies things.
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nigelbb
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 05:00
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QUOTE (Jlc @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 15:00) *
'Poor' communication by the insurer might help but ultimately the policyholder has a responsibility to ensure the cover is renewed, automatic or not.

Poor communication from insurers seems to be common regarding cancellation of policies. A few years ago I was paying Admiral monthly for my car insurance when a screw up in cashflow at the bank meant a direct debit payment failed whereupon Admiral cancelled the policy without telling me. It was only when I accessed the policy online a few weeks later to check something that I discovered that I had been driving around uninsured. When I called them up I was forced to pay the remaining year's payment in a lump sum before they would reinstate the policy & backdate it. They claimed to have sent an email informing me of the cancellation but I never received it & I checked my Junk etc. In cases where they cancel the policy or don't auto renew they should be forced to send a letter giving warning rather than relying on the unreliable medium of email.


--------------------
British Parking Association Ltd Code of Practice(Appendix C contains Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 ) & can be found here http://www.britishparking.co.uk/Code-of-Pr...ance-monitoring
DfT Guidance on Section 56 and Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/syste...ing-charges.pdf
Damning OFT advice on levels of parking charges that was ignored by the BPA Ltd Reference Request Number: IAT/FOIA/135010 – 12 October 2012
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The Rookie
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 05:15
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Most junk folders auto empty, so from a few weeks earlier had probably been deleted.


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There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

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Redivi
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 08:10
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+1 that an email is woefully inadequate to inform a motorist that he is going to be driving unlawfully and his car can be seized

On a typical day, I only open between 1% and 3% of the 400+ messages I receive
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nigelbb
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 10:22
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QUOTE (The Rookie @ Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 05:15) *
Most junk folders auto empty, so from a few weeks earlier had probably been deleted.

My junk mail is not autmatically purged of old messages either on my Mac email client or on my mail server. Which is in any case besides the point as email is an intrinsically unreliable medium with no proof of delivery.


--------------------
British Parking Association Ltd Code of Practice(Appendix C contains Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 ) & can be found here http://www.britishparking.co.uk/Code-of-Pr...ance-monitoring
DfT Guidance on Section 56 and Schedule 4 of POFA 2012 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/syste...ing-charges.pdf
Damning OFT advice on levels of parking charges that was ignored by the BPA Ltd Reference Request Number: IAT/FOIA/135010 – 12 October 2012
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Logician
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 10:35
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QUOTE (Redivi @ Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 08:10) *
+1 that an email is woefully inadequate to inform a motorist that he is going to be driving unlawfully and his car can be seized

On a typical day, I only open between 1% and 3% of the 400+ messages I receive


So you are virtually shut out of using email as an effective communication medium. I suggest you get a new email address and notify it only to those you want to hear from, abandoning your existing address. Unsubscribe your new address from useless mailing lists if it gets on them.

Many of those who appear in court for no insurance do so because their direct debits have failed, usually through lack of funds at the crucial time. I would advise people never to use these arrangements, better to pay an annual premium on a credit card. Fail to make a payment on a credit card and you start to get nasty letters and then other action, but you will never get your insurance cancelled and risk all the unpleasant consequences of driving uninsured.


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baroudeur
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 12:05
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QUOTE (Fredd @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 16:42) *
QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45) *
I had expected to have to go out to them and collect the car with my 3rd party insurance.

It's rather peripheral to your main issue, but if you're referring to the "driving other vehicles" provision of your own comprehensive policy then you should check your policy carefully before relying on this in the future - it seems to be the norm now for that cover to specifically exclude recovering a vehicle impounded in these circumstances.


The OP would not have been covered DOC on his own policy because the car he intended to drive is required to have its own insurance in force. In this case, quite obviously, it didn't!
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panther12
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 12:18
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QUOTE (Fredd @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 16:42) *
QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45) *
I had expected to have to go out to them and collect the car with my 3rd party insurance.

It's rather peripheral to your main issue, but if you're referring to the "driving other vehicles" provision of your own comprehensive policy then you should check your policy carefully before relying on this in the future - it seems to be the norm now for that cover to specifically exclude recovering a vehicle impounded in these circumstances.

You'd have to check the policy but also if your own insurance allows to drive other cars 3rd party it's usually a condition that the car being driven is insuranced in its own right.
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Logician
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 14:46
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QUOTE (baroudeur @ Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 12:05) *
QUOTE (Fredd @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 16:42) *
QUOTE (baklava @ Sat, 17 Feb 2018 - 14:45) *
I had expected to have to go out to them and collect the car with my 3rd party insurance.
It's rather peripheral to your main issue, but if you're referring to the "driving other vehicles" provision of your own comprehensive policy then you should check your policy carefully before relying on this in the future - it seems to be the norm now for that cover to specifically exclude recovering a vehicle impounded in these circumstances.
The OP would not have been covered DOC on his own policy because the car he intended to drive is required to have its own insurance in force. In this case, quite obviously, it didn't!


Sometimes that is a condition, sometimes it isn't. It is not on mine, the only limitation being not to use to collect impounded vehicles.



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The Rookie
post Mon, 19 Feb 2018 - 09:36
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Its not on mine either, it has got more common to prevent 'car fronting' (insuring a cheap car to drive an expensive one) but is by no means universal.


--------------------
There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
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Council PCN's
Rookies 1-0 Warwick
Rookies 1-0 Birmingham

PPC PCN's
Rookies 8-0 PPC's
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notmeatloaf
post Mon, 19 Feb 2018 - 14:34
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I know hindsight is a wonderful thing but I would never contemplate paying for something like car insurance or home insurance via direct debit where the consequences of a failed payment, for whatever reason, are so high.

You can bet if your home burns down and you've missed last month's payment they're not going to be "Oh well, mistakes happen, here's £xxx,000 anyway. Put it on a credit card and pay that off throughout the year if need be.

I appreciate that insurers actively encourage direct debit payment though, and as it is offered more and more there really needs to be better safeguarding processes in place. To be fair we've just renewed our car insurance through Aviva on an annual direct debit and they sent two letters and called the day before to check we were happy to continue.


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My username is notmeatloaf because I'm not made of meat loaf. I hope that clarifies things.
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StuartBu
post Mon, 19 Feb 2018 - 16:08
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Mon, 19 Feb 2018 - 14:34) *
I know hindsight is a wonderful thing but I would never contemplate paying for something like car insurance or home insurance via direct debit where the consequences of a failed payment, for whatever reason, are so high.

You can bet if your home burns down and you've missed last month's payment they're not going to be "Oh well, mistakes happen, here's £xxx,000 anyway. Put it on a credit card and pay that off throughout the year if need be.

I appreciate that insurers actively encourage direct debit payment though, and as it is offered more and more there really needs to be better safeguarding processes in place. To be fair we've just renewed our car insurance through Aviva on an annual direct debit and they sent two letters and called the day before to check we were happy to continue.


So you dislike monthly direct debits but you've just paid your insurance by an annual direct debit so what happens at renewal time .....better make an entry on your Diary or your 'phone to check at the time .
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