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The Continuous Insurance Enforcement law affects all van operators, from the sole trader to the large fleet van operator

New insurance law: affects traders and SMEs

Van operators must comply with new insurance law

SOLE traders and van operators of small van fleets must comply with a new law today (20 June, 2011) called the Continuous Insurance Enforcement law.

The Continuous Insurance Enforcement law has been designed to crack down on uninsured drivers and makes it an offence to be a keeper of an uninsured van rather than just driving while uninsured. If a van is off-road, it needs to be declared as such with a SORN statement.

Registered keepers identified as having an uninsured vehicle will be sent a letter telling them that their vehicle appears to be uninsured, and warning them of the consequences if they fail to take action.

Those who do not act on this warning – either by taking out insurance or declaring their vehicle off the road – will receive a £100 fine and could have their vehicle clamped, seized and destroyed. They may also face a court prosecution.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said: “Anyone who receives a warning letter should take action immediately by getting insurance or contacting the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) to declare their vehicle off the road.”

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau chief executive Ashton West said: “We know who the registered keepers are with vehicles that have no insurance and letters will be dropping on to their doormats from this week. It’s no longer a case of if you will get caught, but when you will get caught.

“An estimated 1.4 million drivers are flouting the law by driving without insurance. This is a serious offence and results in accidents that cause about 160 deaths each year and more than 23,000 people are injured by uninsured drivers. It also adds around £30 per year to honest drivers’ motor insurance policies.”

Why you need to pay attention to the new law

While the law is clearly designed to deter those fraudsters who try to evade paying for car insurance, it may have ramifications for van operators who manage a small fleet of business vans. Those company vans must be registered on the Motor Industry Database.

“It is the responsibility of the insurance policy-holder to ensure that the details of every vehicle covered by the policy (or multiple policies in some cases) are recorded on the MID,” said Stewart Whyte, director of fleet association ACFO.

“Many companies outsource this task to their insurance broker or leasing company for sound administrative reasons, but under the new law the buck stops with the policy-holder,” advised Mr Whyte.

More detail on the Continuous Insurance Enforcement law

Those business van managers can read what they need to do, and the details that need to be kept on the Motor Insurance Database, in our Law & Tax article called The law and Continuous Insurance Enforcement.

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