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How to fight the points?
July 28, 2008 3:40 AM   Subscribe

My friend got pulled over on an insurance check yesterday (UK). It turns out that the insurance company cancelled his policy 2 months ago because there were insufficient funds for the direct debit. How can he fight this?

The insurance company sent him a letter, which he never recieved and they are claiming that they are under no legal obligation to phone him to tell him that he is no longer insured. He hadn't noticed that the direct debit hadn't been coming out of his account and so he was completely unaware of there being any problem. Until yesterday.

He is now being hit with 6 points, a £200 fine and they've taken his car away, which will cost him £150 to get back plus £12.50 per day for storage.

He has only had his licence since October, so being within the 2 year probationary period it looks like he might lose his licence over this. His job involves a lot of driving.

Does anyone know if there is a way to fight the 6 points? He doesn't care about the car or the fine, but these points could wreck his career at this point. What happens now? Who should he ask for help? It seems completely insane to me that they should get away with this when he had no clue that he was doing anything wrong.

I know yanal.
posted by Happycat79 to Law & Government (6 answers total)
 
Get in contact with the officer in question, and see if he will be sympathetic.
posted by Solomon at 4:08 AM on July 28, 2008


[disclaimer: I work in motor insurance, in a common-wealth country, but it isn't compulsory yet] This will come out entirely biased, but only because I have to deal with this stuff day to day, but it really is the customers responsibility to ensure that their bills are up to date. We've had situations in the past where customers have let their policy lapse due to non payment then a few months later attempt to claim on their insurance saying that we never told them the policy had been cancelled.

If it were that easy, then no one would ever pay their insurance bills until they had an accident then cry foul that they had no idea the policy had been cancelled.

Chances are if you challenge the company on it, and say that he was pulled over and didn't know the insurance had lapsed, then they DEFINITELY wont reinstate it, because there's no reassurance for them that he didn't have an accident at the same time, and is just waiting to claim on it. He will have better luck with the police than he will with his insurer. As solomon said, he needs to talk to the cops and explain his situation. The police have nothing to lose in this case, whilst the insurer has the potential to open itself up to risk.
posted by chrisbucks at 5:25 AM on July 28, 2008


then cry foul that they had no idea the policy had been cancelled.

That would be, quite often, because they have no idea the policy has been cancelled.

Call the financial ombudsman.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:34 AM on July 28, 2008


Can't help directly, but not knowing your insurance policy has not been renewed is a common thing in the states...just don't let it get expired without notification, get in an accident, pay for the accident out of pocket, have the state require proof of insurance via mail every six months for five years, then the state misplaces your paperwork one time, get your license revoked (and again, the state couldn't be arsed to tell you!), and get picked up for doing exactly 70 in a 70MPH zone with a revoked license, and have to have your girlfriend and your mom drive eight hours to pick you up from a county jail in Kansas. Just sayin' - it sucks.
posted by notsnot at 5:41 AM on July 28, 2008


not knowing your insurance policy has not been renewed is a common thing in the states...just don't let it get expired without notification, get in an accident

In New York state, simply driving without insurance is a mandatory one year suspension and $1000 fine. However, in a case not unlike yours, I took a lawyer, all my paperwork, and a hang dog expression, went to court and the judge dismissed it, "in the interest of justice." Along with a few unkind words for insurance companies that over-sell and under-perform.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:24 AM on July 28, 2008


It seems completely insane to me that they should get away with this when he had no clue that he was doing anything wrong.

Driving without insurance in the UK is an "absolute" offence - there is no need for the prosecuting authorities to prove guilty knowledge on the offender's part. If you do it, you're guilty: it's as simple as that. He has no defence in law. So if he were to choose to fight this in court he would be better off pleading guilty and offering the circumstances above in mitigation, than he would be pleading not guilty on the grounds that he didn't know he was uninsured. (Time to speak to a solicitor, of course, if he decides to go down this route.)

Which leaves him with his insurance company:-

Were they within their rights to cancel his policy when he stopped paying for it? That question kinda answers itself, doesn't it? Though the small print will set out the terms that he agreed to when he bought the policy, if your friend wants a definitive answer regarding the company's obligations.

Does the fact that he didn't receive their cancellation letter somehow negate their cancellation of the policy? Again, read the terms of the contract. I'll bet it doesn't.

Will they be prepared to retrospectively reinstate his insurance if he offers to make good the missing payments now? No. Chrisbucks has explained why not above.


... Which leaves him in all likelihood facing the six points, and, with the greatest respect to your friend, rightly so. It was his responsibility to make sure he had valid insurance, and ("He hadn't noticed that the direct debit hadn't been coming out of his account") he neglected to do so. If he had been responsible for an accident or injury during the last two months, the innocent victim would have potentially have been looking at irrecoverable losses. Bad.
posted by genesta at 12:04 AM on July 29, 2008


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