Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) caution

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Posted: 131203

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Continuous Insurance caution

Chris Hunt Cooke contributed a note in the latest FBHVC newsletter concerning the need to think about complying with the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) requirements if your car is with a restorer for a moderate or an extended period of time. Here he explains an unfortunate experience of a member which has lead Chris to remind everyone of a potential misunderstanding about Continuous Insurance.

It is not unusual for enthusiasts to leave their vehicles with restorers and maintainers for lengthy periods. It may be that the vehicle is safely on a restorer's premises when the annual insurance renewal comes up. There might be a temptation to assume the vehicle is covered by the restorer's trade insurance and not to renew. Don't do that!

Under current legislation, which is of course designed to prevent vehicles being used on the roads without insurance, to the benefit of all of us, the DVLA vehicle records are regularly compared to the Motor Insurers Database and the registered keeper of any vehicle which is neither insured nor subject to SORN will receive an 'insurance advisory letter'. If that is ignored, the next step is a fixed penalty of £100 (reduced to £50 for early payment) and after that the matter goes to court. There are few exceptions. The relevant legislation is the Road Traffic Act 1988 S144A.

If a vehicle which is under repair or restoration is made subject to SORN, it cannot be used or left on the highway, which would mean it cannot be road tested while the SORN is in force, unless the restorer has a trade licence. As most cherished vehicles are on historic vehicle policies, you might possibly be able to negotiate with your insurer a deal which recognises that the vehicle is largely going to be off the road for a while, perhaps by agreeing a very low mileage limit on the policy, but you must keep a valid policy in place to remain legal. You can check that your vehicle is correctly shown on the Motor Insurers Database by entering its registration number on the website.

Footnote: It's likely this caution could also apply where you have a classic car for sale with a specialist trader on a commission sale basis. If the car is with the trader when the motor insurance cover runs out, do not assume the trader's business policy will cover you and in any case if you do opt not to renew the motor insurance cover then you will have to SORN the car. Then if the trader wishes to take your car on the public road for demonstration or other purposes it would have to do so on trade plates otherwise you could be in breach of the SORN.
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