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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70304
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My son was stopped today 19.5.13 by the police to be told that

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My son was stopped today 19.5.13 by the police to be told that he had no insurance on his car and his car was seized and taken to Charlton car pound, to collect the car the charge will be £150 plus he got a £200 penalty and six points on his license. He took out insurance with Kwik fit insurance on the 15th March 2013. I paid the initial deposit of £89.32 for him and he set up a direct debit for eleven more monthly payments of £58.54. The insurance policy arrived and he has since made two payments one on the 4th April 2013 and one on the 2nd May 2013. So you can imagine his shock when he was told by the police that he had no insurance. The policeman informed him that there had been no insurance on the car since the 15th March which was the day we took out the insurance. After taking out the insurance Kwik fit asked for a copy of his no claims bonus, my husband took a photograph of his schedule from previous insurers and sent it to them as a phone message but they rang him back to say it was unclear and we would need to resend the details. My son then received a letter asking for him to send proof of his no claims bonus so my husband emailed it to them on the 6th of April 2013. Also on the no claims letter from the previous insurers there was mention of an no claims, no fault accident in November 2008 which my son had thought had happened in 2007 so therefore had expired the five years in which they ask you to disclose. On realising his mistake my son immediately informed Kwik Fit of his ommission when we emailed them with the letter. In the meantime he received a letter from RSA saying that information had been passed on to them regarding an accident that was not disclosed and they were requesting certain documentation from my son such as his driving license, paper copy and any information relating to the accident. We did not have any paperwork relating to the accident as there had never been a claim made. We sent all the relevant information to the RSA and have to this date not received any other communications from them. As far as my son was concerned he was insured with Kwik Fit on a comprehensive cover and they apparently cancelled his policy, they have not informed him of this cancellation and are still taking payments from his bank account. Any advice on how to proceed in dealing with this?

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

In order to give you answer tailored to your circumstances I will need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

What would you like to know about this insurance situation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is it worth taking Kwik Fit to the small claims court? Have Kwik fit done anything wrong in cancelling the insurance without telling my son and continuing to take money from his account? What is the best way to proceed in approaching this situation? I think too that we would like recompense from Kwik Fit for the cost to my son today and a letter of liability so that he does not have the six points on his licence.
Thank you for the information. I just need ten minutes to dictate an answer is thats Ok?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much of course it is okay.
Thanks for the information.

I do completely see why you are aggrieved about this but ultimately we are all hampered by the law.

Unfortunately there is no claim against them for canceling the insurance. I do realise there was a mix up over the no claims bonus and it may very well have been something that could happen to anybody but, come what may, a no claims bonus consistent with the policy was not provided. For that reason they are entitled to cancel.

As a matter of policy they should have told him. They might be saying that they did write. Its amazing how often insurance companies do that. You could complain to the Ombudsman about that.

You do have a claim against them for the monthly installments though. They will probably offer a refund upon that without much argument.

I am sorry but they are not liable unfortunately though. Come what may, you didn’t provide the no claims bonus. They were free to cancel.

No insurance is a matter of strict liability. He either was insured or he wasn’t. Unfortunately he wasn’t. He will have to plead guilty even if Kwik Fit write a letter to the effect it was all their fault.

You can always make representations to CPS to the effect that its not in the public interest to prosecute this. You will need some fairly strong support from Kwik Fit if you are to be successful.

Alternatively, he could argue there are special reasons not to endorse his licence at court. He would still have to plead guilty and be fined and asked to pay costs of £85 for the no insurance offence but the Court does have the power to avoid endorsements on the basis of special reasons.

It would be irresponsible of me to tell you that the chances of special reasons are high. Ultimately the burden of proof rests with the defence on the civil standard. On the downside, there was the mix up. On the positive side they kept deducting monthly payments which might be sufficient to convince the Magistrates.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Sorry you seem to have misunderstood me as yes we did supply a no claims bonus letter from his previous insurance company which my husband emailed to them on the 6th April2013 after they requested it in a letter of the the 2nd April 2013!!
Yes, but they had already cancelled at that time and they allowed to do that I'm afraid.
Also, they may be taking a point about the non disclosure from 2008.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes I agree that they may well be making a point about the non disclosure, but that was complete human error and had always been disclosed for every other insurance company, but why write to my son asking for more information on that point if they had already cancelled the policy? I do not think that they had already cancelled the policy as they were still writing to my son requesting information on his no claims bonus and other documentation! Why bother if they had cancelled it? We received the letter regarding the non disclosure on the 9th April which was after we sent the no claims bonus letter. I do not understand how you are meant to know if you are insured or not if you are not informed of cancellation and they are still taking payments and they issue you with a policy.
Oh yes, I'm sure they are not alleging any insurance fraud.

But it is a relevant non disclosure and they are able to cancel lawfully.

Unfortunately no insurance is an offence of strict liability. It doesn't matter whether you know or not from the point of view of the actual plea.

If you can convince a court you had no reason to know then they will not endorse on the basis of special reasons.

If you can convince CPS that its not in the public interest to prosecute then they may drop the prosecution. That does happen sometimes.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Well maybe best to contact CPS then as we had replied to the insurance company with all the relevant documentation regarding the non disclosure and were awaiting a reply from them so had no reason at all to suspect that he was not insured. Shame that human error is seen as a bad thing and when you try to be honest it really does not pay. As per insurance protocol where they ask for information to be disclosed as soon as you know that is exactly what we did when my son realised that the accident still had nine months to run. I just find it staggering that if you have an insurance policy and you are paying your monthly premiums without fail then how on earth can you know that you are not insured if no one tells you? Sorry I am finding this all a bit biased in terms of the law and companies against Joe Public. Thank you for your help.
Generally speaking, road traffic prosecutions can be very unfair.

They don't have much impact upon a persons' character which is why the strict liability issue hasn't been challenged.

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