UK Requirements for Personal Vehicle Insurance.

In order to operate a motor vehicle on a public road, motor vehicle insurance must be purchased. Minimum coverage is legally mandated in the UK through the Road Traffic Act. All drivers must operate an insured vehicle that covers any injuries to another person, as well as damage to property or another person's vehicle. This type of insurance coverage is typically known as Third Party Only or Liability cover.


The UK government first introduced laws requiring drivers to ensure their personal motor vehicles in 1930. The new law required anyone who used a vehicle on public roads to purchase third party personal injury insurance. This type of insurance covered any injuries to another person following an incident where the driver was at fault. In 1988, the Road Traffic Act introduced additional insurance cover requirements to protect against damage to third party property.

Legal Requirements under the Road Traffic Act, 1988

Mandatory and minimum coverage requirements are outlined in the Road Traffic Act,1988, which was amended in 1991. Under the Act, all drivers in the UK must be insured for a minimum of £500,000. This coverage includes liability for injuries to any other person, including passengers driven by the insured person. This minimum cover also protects against damage suffered to another person's property, including another motor vehicle damaged or lost while being operated on a public road or in a public place. The Road Traffic Act makes it an offence to operate a motor vehicle without this basic level of insurance. It is also an offence to allow others to use an uninsured vehicle.

A registered keeper of a motor vehicle must be insured or declared as an off the road vehicle (that is, request a Statutory Off-Road Notification or SORN).Regardless of who is driving the car, the owner or registered keeper may get penalised for not insuring the vehicle. If a vehicle is not insured by the registered keeper, they face a fixed monetary penalty. The motor vehicle may also be wheel-clamped, impounded or destroyed. The owner of an uninsured vehicle may also face court prosecution and additional fines.

If an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, compensation is available to victims. Driving without insurance also may result in serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Drivers may also be disqualified from driving if they are caught driving an uninsured vehicle. Uninsured drivers could also be assessed penalty points on their driving record.

Road Traffic Act Only Insurance

Road Traffic Act Only Insurance provides the minimum cover as required by law. It is not readily available from insurance companies and insurers typically offer Third Party Only insurance coverage instead. Road Traffic Act Only cover offers a limit of up to £1 million for any third party damage. By comparison, Third Party Only insurance policies offer higher limits for damage or loss suffered by a third party.

Third Party Only Cover

In order to meet the minimum vehicle insurance requirements set out in the Road Traffic Act, insurance companies offer Third Party Only cover. This basic car insurance option protects drivers from any claims made by another person for damages or loss that result from an accident or incident where the driver is at fault. Third Party Only insurance covers any injuries suffered by another person, as well as loss or damage to property or another vehicle.

With Third Party Only cover, insured drivers cannot make claims for any loss or damages to their own vehicle or body following an incident where they were at fault. Third Party Only cover also does not allow drivers to submit claims for damage suffered as a result of theft or fire. Damage or loss that results from environmental occurrences, such as high winds, hail or flooding, are also not covered. In these cases, additional optional coverage may be purchased such as comprehensive insurance or third party, fire and theft insurance at the discretion of individual drivers. These types of car insurance cover options are not mandated by law.

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