Do You Have to Declare a Driving Ban to Insurance?
Everything you need to know about drink driving and car insurance.
The law requires all vehicles on a public road in the UK to hold a valid policy of insurance. If you plan on driving a vehicle, you must hold at least third party car insurance. Car insurance is a contract, in the form of a policy, which offers financial protection to a motorist in the event they are involved in an accident with another vehicle, a person, an animal or property.
If you drive without car insurance, you run the risk of being charged with a criminal offence (punishable with 6 penalty points). You could also be sued by another party if you cause damage or injury.
If you have been charged with a drink driving offence or are under investigation, you may be wondering if you have to notify your car insurance provider. The requirement to notify your insurance provider depends upon the wording of your insurance policy. Some insurance policies are worded deliberately vague when it comes to drink driving offences (as a 'capture all' clause). All insurers will want to know immediately if you've been arrested for drink or drug driving - but you may not be required to tell them. Remember that you're innocent until proven guilty.
What happens if I tell my insurance about a drink driving offence?
It all depends upon whether you've been involved in a collision. If you have, the other party's insurance are going to try to shift some or all of the blame on to you. You were, after all, over the legal limit. Whether the collision was your fault or not, it's easy to blame a 'drink driver'.
If you tell your insurance that you were arrested for drink driving, it is likely they will invalidate your policy. This means that you are then liable for the damage or injury caused. This could reach tens of thousands.
In a recent case I handled, a client's insurance provider was attempting to sue him for £86,000 due to injuries caused to another driver. We managed to win his case meaning his insurance paid out.
I regularly speak with clients who have been told by their insurers that their policy is invalid. However, once you carefully review the wording of the policy, you may find that this is not the case. Check the wording if your policy. Does the policy require a conviction before it becomes invalid? If you have only been charged with the offence, then you have not been convicted. In which case, your policy should not be invalidated. Of course, if you're later convicted, the insurance company may be entitled to recover costs back from you. Many insurers, however, don't bother trying the recover the money.
Will the Police contact my insurance?
It is always possible (but highly unlikely) that the police will contact your insurance provider. There are two reasons why they might contact your insurance;
- To try to determine whether you were driving the vehicle
- To notify them that you've been involved in an accident
You may tell your insurance company that you were arrested for drink driving, but this does not necessarily become admissible in evidence against you. It is, of course, very difficult to prove that you made the phone call and provided details. Even if you did, how does that become admissible in evidence? The chance of a call handler being asked to attend court to give evidence is, obviously, slim to none. Insurance companies don't want to get involved in criminal cases. Their interest is your insurance.
Free advice about no insurance?
MAJ Law is a specialist driving defence firm. We represent clients across England and Wales charged with serious driving offences, such as drink driving, drug driving, failing to provide and no insurance. We believe that everyone has the right to free initial advice and affordable legal representation. Our reputation is built on our results.
What happens if I don't tell my insurance about a drink driving offence?
Your insurance provider will require you to notify them of anything that may alter your premium, such as a drink or drug driving conviction. If you do not, your insurance provider are unlikely to pay out in the event of an accident. You can read more about drink driving and insurance premiums here;