Driving without insurance in the UK - how people get caught
First, it's necessary to understand the motor insurance requirements in the United Kingdom. As of now, every vehicle must be insured regardless of whether or not it actually drives on a public thoroughfare. Alternatively, if your vehicle is inoperable due to maintenance issues, or similar reasons, you must let the DVLA know that by submitting a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). By submitting this document, you declare that the vehicle referred to will not be on any public roads. If you have not submitted a SORN on your vehicle, you are expected to have a valid motor vehicle insurance policy on it.
Now that that is out of the way, we can turn to the methods which police are using to detect the vehicles on public roads that do not in fact have a valid motor vehicle insurance policy in effect.
When a new motor vehicle insurance policy is issued, the insurance company is required to enter the policy information into a comprehensive database that is called the Motor Insurance Database (MID). This database is accessible to any police officer at any time. The MID stores information on new policies, expired polices, cancelled policies, and current policies. Therefore, if a policy is effective one day, but is cancelled the next day due to non-payment of premiums, the MID will reflect that change within a short period.
The first way that a police officer can take action against you for not having a valid motor vehicle insurance policy in effect is by stopping you and addressing the issue. The police officer comes across this information either by running the licence plate in the MID and discovering that the car is uninsured or by notification from an Automatic Number Plate Recognition Camera (ANPR). For example, if a uniformed police officer pulls you over unexpectedly, it is possible that an ANPR picked up your insurance status a mile or so before approaching the police officer, and he was made aware of it prior to your vehicle approaching his.
Once pulled over for failure to maintain motor vehicle insurance cover, your car may be impounded. Once you resolve the matter, you can regain access to your vehicle only by paying certain storage fees and a charge.
The costs associated with failing to stick to the motor vehicle insurance requirements are quite costly. The higher cost of insuring a vehicle has drastically increased the number of uninsured drivers to around 5% of drivers; young drivers are assessed enormously high rates, whereas older drivers are treated a little less harshly, although even they are high enough! Some young people are occasionally tempted Drivers to falsify insurance proposal forms by claiming that an older driver in their household is the primary driver in order to obtain reasonable insurance premiums; this is called 'fronting' and would probably result in the policy being declared invalid, if discovered. Insurance companies are aware of this trend and consistently delve into the policyholder’s past driving patterns before writing a new insurance policy or, far too often, before paying out on a claim; they can be very efficient at finding out who is trying this particular stunt on, and some of them would make Sherlock Holmes look like a bumbling amateur. Fronting can, and often does, result in criminal prosecution (it is viewed as fraud) and frightening financial implications if it is discovered after an accident. Really; is it worth the risk?