New rule changes mean drivers will need to shop around for motor insurance renewals early or face an unappetising choice between a potentially overpriced premium and a hefty fine.
That's because of a new system named Continuous Insurance Enforcement that takes effect later this year. At the moment it's only a crime to drive an uninsured car. Under the new rules, it's an offense simply to own a car that isn't insured. The days of leaving a vehicle in the garage while you sort out a lapsed policy are over -- the only way to escape a fine for an uninsured vehicle (and in extreme circumstances the seizure of the car) is to apply for a Statutory Off Road Notice.
As consumer finance commentator Martin Lewis has noted, that makes it all the more important that people think about renewals in plenty of time. Those who wait until the last minute will likely find themselves forced to stick with the same provider, even if the premium is no longer competitive, rather than risk not getting alternative cover arranged in time.