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Business car insurance
cheapshots
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:07
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Hi all,

I'm fuming about this issue, below is a summary, any thoughts would be welcome!

1) I own a pharmacy, I asked my sister to drop off an elderly patients medicines on her way to visiting her friend

2) A very young policeman (early 20's) stopped my sister for driving without a seat belt (she deserved it)

3) Officer said he's giving her a severe caution for not wearing a seat belt, asked for her licence and insurance details etc

4) Officer then asked what she was doing, my sister answered honestly i.e dropping off medicines on her way to visiting friends

5) Officer now changed his mind, he became very rude, issued her a fine for not wearing a seatbelt (fair enough), issued points for not wearing a seatbelt (I guess also fair enough), ordered her car to be taken to a car pound (clearly he was just being an *** now), and said he's sending her to court driving without business insurance (again, being an ***)

P.S my sisters car is a bog standard ford fiesta, she's not a DPD driver!

Officer clearly had a vendetta against my sister who was in tears (much to the officers joy I assume). She argued with him about why he's towing her car, he never gave a valid answer, instead just told her to be quiet because she's under caution.

I don't even know where to begin

This post has been edited by cheapshots: Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:14
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post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:07
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The Rookie
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:10
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This is a common issue.

Vendetta, no, doing his job, he carried out a routine stop for a visible offence and an investigation uncovered another offence being committed.

A guilty plea seems her best choice as nothing you've said suggests any form of a defence.

This post has been edited by The Rookie: Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:10


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NewJudge
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:10
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She could contact her insurers and ask them to confirm they would cover her in the circumstances. If they say they would not (as is likely)....
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cheapshots
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:12
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Seems very very very harsh but ok fair enough, why tow the car?

She told the officer she's happy to discard the medicines in front of him and drive back home i.e she's not doing anything commercial or business related
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The Rookie
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:30
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QUOTE (cheapshots @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:12) *
Seems very very very harsh but ok fair enough, why tow the car?

She told the officer she's happy to discard the medicines in front of him and drive back home i.e she's not doing anything commercial or business related

If the medicines could be discarded safely and the offence was no longer being committed then the tow would appear disproportionate.

COULD they be disposed of safely (legally) where she was stopped? The only recourse would be a complaint and then a civil claim against the Police if they don't agree, which I wouldn't suggest was worthwhile (the claim, not a written complaint).


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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!

S172's
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cheapshots
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 15:53
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Yes the medicines could have been taken away safely BEFORE the car was towed.

A member of my staff (who has the relevant insurance) drove to my sister and took the medicine from her.

Sister then pleaded with officer not to tow the car especially now as there was no medicine bag in it, officer refused and this is when he told her to be quiet as she was 'under caution'

To me, he clearly had an axe to grind. The whole thing was blown way out of proportion by the officer. He just wanted to inflect maximum damage.

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roythebus
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:11
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Adding business use for a car is usually very simple as is commuting to and from work. a phone call and maybe a small rise in premium.

i got my car insurer to add business travel to and from work, carrying goods and passengers in connection with my work (but not for hire and reward) and the cost actually went down!
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NewJudge
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:12
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QUOTE (cheapshots @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:53) *
He just wanted to inflect maximum damage.


I wouldn't go down that line if I were you.

There is a big problem with people undertaking business activities without the proper insurance. Many of these stem from circumstances exactly as you describe - friends or relatives "helping out" by undertaking informal deliveries. The problem the police face is that if they do not take action where it is due (and it seems it is in this case) and an accident occurs which causes serious personal injury, the insurers most certainly will do all they can to repudiate liability (although they have some difficulty these days because legislation makes that difficult for them). The police will then stand accused of "turning a blind eye".

I agree that seizing the car seems a little heavy handed and a contrite approach to the constabulary may get some recourse. But if you wade in citing "vendettas" and the officer seeking "to inflict maximum damage" you may get short shrift.
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666
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:25
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QUOTE (cheapshots @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:07) *
5) Officer now changed his mind, he became very rude, issued her a fine for not wearing a seatbelt (fair enough), issued points for not wearing a seatbelt (I guess also fair enough), ordered her car to be taken to a car pound (clearly he was just being an *** now), and said he's sending her to court driving without business insurance (again, being an ***)

It may be small comfort in the circumstances, but there are no points for seatbelt offences.
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cheapshots
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:31
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I agree that the law is the law.

I'm sure officers hear it all the time - "It was just one time" etc etc

A little common sense could have prevailed though - it is clear that my sister is not a business/commercial user, the officer knew this by looking at her car (bog standard fiesta), by what she was wearing (no uniform) and by the items in her car (he searched her car).

She was simply doing a favour, which should count as social, domestic and pleasure. If my sister had gone and collected the medicine on the patients behalf she wouldn't need business insurance!!!

I firmly believe the officer blew things way out of proportion. Evident by the fact he towed the car for absolutely no reason.

Will be putting in a complaint and she will most likely be pleading not guilty



QUOTE (666 @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 17:25) *
QUOTE (cheapshots @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:07) *
5) Officer now changed his mind, he became very rude, issued her a fine for not wearing a seatbelt (fair enough), issued points for not wearing a seatbelt (I guess also fair enough), ordered her car to be taken to a car pound (clearly he was just being an *** now), and said he's sending her to court driving without business insurance (again, being an ***)

It may be small comfort in the circumstances, but there are no points for seatbelt offences.


hahaha, thanks for that
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NewJudge
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:50
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QUOTE (cheapshots @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 17:31) *
Will be putting in a complaint and she will most likely be pleading not guilty

Forget the towing away for a bit. Before she considers a NG plea she needs to enquire of her insurers whether they would insure her in the circumstances. If they say they would not a Not Guilty plea will cost her a shed load of money.

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:51
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cp8759
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 17:20
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QUOTE (The Rookie @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:30) *
COULD they be disposed of safely (legally) where she was stopped? The only recourse would be a complaint and then a civil claim against the Police if they don't agree, which I wouldn't suggest was worthwhile (the claim, not a written complaint).

On what basis could a claim be brought against the police?


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Jimzzr
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 17:37
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QUOTE (roythebus @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 17:11) *
Adding business use for a car is usually very simple as is commuting to and from work. a phone call and maybe a small rise in premium.

i got my car insurer to add business travel to and from work, carrying goods and passengers in connection with my work (but not for hire and reward) and the cost actually went down!


I'd bet they'd class it as 'courier' work as it's in connection with someone else's business in which case they'd want an absolute fortune.

Best bet is to try an argue with the insurer that it was a favour for a relative and not for any commercial gain whatsoever and so should be covered by SDP. That said I doubt they would agree, but no harm trying, when they decline (I.e. you have reached the end of their complaints procedure) you can also escalate to the financial services ombusman
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The Rookie
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 17:59
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 18:20) *
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:30) *
COULD they be disposed of safely (legally) where she was stopped? The only recourse would be a complaint and then a civil claim against the Police if they don't agree, which I wouldn't suggest was worthwhile (the claim, not a written complaint).

On what basis could a claim be brought against the police?

If a tow is unlawful then that would be the basis for a claim.

If she pleads not guilty and looses the costs and fine will increase by circa £700 compared to a guilty plea.
What basis would she plead not guilty on? She was either insured for the use or not and it appears not.


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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!

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

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Logician
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 19:56
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She was undoubtedly using her car for a business purpose, it was not insured for such use, therefore she is guilty of the offence, and would be foolish to go to trial and plead not guilty.

This is an offence which is very common because people help out friends and relatives without thinking about it, and mean no harm, but the situation is what it is.

I agree it was quite unnecessary to have the car towed, but the PC knew he had that power and exercised it, demonstrating a rather over-zealous attitude, but not a vendetta. A calm letter to the constabulary concerned asking if it is there policy to tow vehicles for no insurance when the situation can easily be remedied by discarding the business goods might get an admission that towing was not necessary, but a rant about a vendetta will just produce a purely defensive response, I think.


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Redivi
post Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 22:22
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QUOTE (roythebus @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 17:11) *
Adding business use for a car is usually very simple as is commuting to and from work. a phone call and maybe a small rise in premium.

i got my car insurer to add business travel to and from work, carrying goods and passengers in connection with my work (but not for hire and reward) and the cost actually went down!


A standard condition of this business insurance for a small (if any) extra charge is that the driving is in connection with the insured's business

It wouldn't cover situations like this - acting as a courier for somebody else's business



This post has been edited by Redivi: Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 22:22
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Mr Rusty
post Tue, 25 Jun 2019 - 09:15
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Ask the insurers. be specific

"Does dropping off some medicines for an old lady on my way to my destination, as a one-off activity on behalf of my pharmacist friend count as business use for insurance, or is it captured by social, domestic and pleasure? This is neither my regular occupation or trade nor is it a commercial activity for which I am paid".

Ask them in writing for a clarification and ask for a written reply (email).

I suspect it won't get the result you want, but definitely worth a try.

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Durzel
post Tue, 25 Jun 2019 - 12:10
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QUOTE (cheapshots @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 16:31) *
I agree that the law is the law.

I'm sure officers hear it all the time - "It was just one time" etc etc

A little common sense could have prevailed though - it is clear that my sister is not a business/commercial user, the officer knew this by looking at her car (bog standard fiesta), by what she was wearing (no uniform) and by the items in her car (he searched her car).

She was simply doing a favour, which should count as social, domestic and pleasure. If my sister had gone and collected the medicine on the patients behalf she wouldn't need business insurance!!!

You're right, I'll bet the Police hear "it was only this once" all the time, for a myriad of driving offences.

Unfortunately you're either insured or you're not, it's an absolute liability offence with limited exceptions that don't apply here. She could have been dropping off medicine every day for a year and just happened to get caught this once. Likewise someone drink driving might get home without incident 9 times and on the 10th get stopped. It's the luck of the draw.

As has been said above there is a LOT of misguided opinion about business use, "driving other cars", etc where people assume they're covered and in actuality they're not. The Law requires that anyone driving is aware of the conditions and exclusions of their insurance, and ignorance is no defence.

As a point of note if she had collected the medicine on the patient's behalf she may well have fallen foul of not being insured if she had, or was going to, accept any kind of reward for doing it.

The car seizure seems harsh as described, but your sister doesn't appear to have any defence against the charge. The best thing to do, as said above, is to approach the insurance company, giving them the circumstances, and ask them whether they would have been prepared to cover the risk, and proceed from there.

This post has been edited by Durzel: Tue, 25 Jun 2019 - 12:11
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nigelbb
post Tue, 25 Jun 2019 - 12:29
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QUOTE (Logician @ Mon, 24 Jun 2019 - 20:56) *
She was undoubtedly using her car for a business purpose, it was not insured for such use, therefore she is guilty of the offence, and would be foolish to go to trial and plead not guilty.

This is an offence which is very common because people help out friends and relatives without thinking about it, and mean no harm, but the situation is what it is.

I agree it was quite unnecessary to have the car towed, but the PC knew he had that power and exercised it, demonstrating a rather over-zealous attitude, but not a vendetta. A calm letter to the constabulary concerned asking if it is there policy to tow vehicles for no insurance when the situation can easily be remedied by discarding the business goods might get an admission that towing was not necessary, but a rant about a vendetta will just produce a purely defensive response, I think.

Did the PC have the power to tow? The OP has confirmed that a member of pharmacy staff with the relevant insurance drove there & and took the medicine away & then that the OP's sister then pleaded with the PC not to tow the car especially as there was now no medicine bag in it but the officer refused. What justification did the PC have to tow the car? If the OP's sister drove off without the medicine bag on board then she was insured.

This action by the PC does way seem over the top. We have heard of cases on here where the driver stopped for inadvertently driving with no insurance has been able phone up & sort out insurance to continue driving & avoid the car being towed. Did the sister fail the attitude test or was there a racial element or is there some other reason why the PC acted so vindictively?

This post has been edited by nigelbb: Tue, 25 Jun 2019 - 12:46


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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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southpaw82
post Tue, 25 Jun 2019 - 12:34
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QUOTE (nigelbb @ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 - 13:29) *
was there a racial element

Nice.

On public law grounds the tow sounds iffy, on the grounds presented.


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