A family who were sued after a serious car crash lost their Sheffield home – because their car was not insured properly.
Police made the revelation after pulling over a Porsche, Ferrari and a pair of Transit vans during a crackdown on illegal drivers. They were among more than 60 vehicles seized from Sheffield and South Yorkshire streets in two months
Those driving without insurance or road tax are much more likely to be involved in a fatal collision, says Temporary Inspector Steve Askham, of South Yorkshire Police’s roads policing unit.
And the consequences for those caught can be severe, he said – including for those who fabricate information on insurance forms.
In one case in Sheffield a family lost their house because a man was driving around in a car for which his mum was down as the main driver.
He was involved in an accident in which someone was severely injured and the family ended up paying out ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ in compensation, which cost them their house.
Insp Askham said: “There are several types of insurance issues.
“There are those who are insured but it is not valid because, for example, they tell their insurer they are driving a 1.2 litre which is actually a 3 litre monster.
“There are those who tell their insurance company they are 59 when they are actually in their 20s.
“Because they are not valid, it is the same as not having insurance.
“There was a very serious case in Sheffield where the son was driving a car registered to his mother and she was down as the main driver on the insurance.
“The man was involved in an accident in which someone was severely injured.
“It quickly became apparent to us that the vehicle was his, not his mother’s car. It was covered in stickers and had his CDs throughout etc.
“The family had to pay out hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation which was not covered by the insurance, because it was invalid, when they got sued afterwards and the family has now lost their house.”
Police cars are equipped with ANPR – automatic number plate recognition – which in a matter of seconds can retrieve all the information about your car, including where it is registered and if it is taxed and insured.
Those pulled over have the right to provide proof of insurance, but if they cannot satisfy officers at the roadside, the car can be seized at the driver’s expense.
The police could give you a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points if you’re caught driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive.
But if the case goes to court you could get an unlimited fine, be disqualified from driving and your car could be destroyed.
After impounding an Alfa Romeo, SY Ops Support tweeted: “Just bought, on way home - forgot to insure it first. We will look after it for you until insured.”