The technology advances of recent years have resulted in the police having a database to tell them instantly whether a vehicle is insured, who is insured to drive it, the insurer and what it is insured for.
Gone are the days of the ‘producer’ or ‘seven day wonder’ (although they still have legal force) which was a slip of paper issued to a driver requiring them to produce a piece of paper at the police station. That system had a number of flaws, not least of which was the fact that the officer checking the insurance was not the person who saw what the vehicle was being used for.
Motor insurance is a very competitive market; to offer you the best possible quote the cover available is split down so you are not paying for more than you need. The temptation to save money by underplaying the use of the vehicle is very high. The groups generally are;
- Social, domestic and pleasure, crucially despite the use of the word domestic this does not include commuting to work
- Social, domestic, pleasure and commuting to a permanent place of work, this does not cover going from one office to another or visiting clients
- Social, domestic, pleasure and business use by the policy holder in connection with their trade or profession, this often does not include the carriage of goods
- A specified business use such as builder or motor trade, this may not include use by employees for social, domestic and pleasure
Employers that allow employees to use their own vehicles for business journeys such as visiting clients need to be aware that they could be held to be ‘using’ the vehicle without insurance if the employees do not have business use. This is important because this is a strict liability offence which means you would be guilty regardless of what you thought was the case. This is to make everyone responsible for checking the insurance, whether you own the car or not. Where travel in an employee’s vehicle is an essential part of their job, or simply permitted, the employer should check the driving licence and the insurance at least every year and keep a copy. Use of vehicles (and not authorising travel expenses) for those who do not produce documentation provides a defence that the vehicle was not being used by the business as it was against the companies rules/ policy, an enforcement of not paying mileage unless evidence of licence and insurance is produced would be good evidence in support.