Insurance red tape

AA Insurance ‘delighted’ at simplification of insurance certificates

15 December 2011

AA Insurance ‘delighted’ at simplification of insurance certificates

AA Insurance ‘delighted’ at simplification of insurance certificates

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, has welcomed the Department for Transport’s proposed abolition of the need for a paper or electronic motor insurance certificate.

The AA suggested In the Government’s Road Transport ‘Red Tape Challenge’ the requirement for a certificate was amongst the ‘bureaucratic and arcane legislation’ that could be abolished.  The Government has also proposed overhaul of the SORN (or Statutory Off road Notification) for vehicles not on the public highway.

Insurance certificates

An insurance certificate is simply paper evidence that a vehicle is insured and, in practice, it’s rarely needed.  Proof of cover is held by the national Motor Insurance Database (MID) which car owners, the Police and other authorities can readily access.

Existence of a certificate doesn’t prove that a car is insured, as many people who have attempted to defraud their insurer by cancelling direct debit payments have found to their cost: police ignore the certificate and instead check with the MID and the insurer to confirm cover is in place. Similarly, a forged certificate is also worthless.

“I’m delighted that the Government has taken notice of public submissions that should make life easier for motorists.  Abolishing paper or electronic certificate will cut administration costs and red tape for drivers and businesses,” Mr Douglas says. 

However, there may still be occasions when a certificate is useful, for example when driving outside the UK, so proof of cover should be provided by the insurer when required.

Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)

AA Insurance also welcomed revision of SORN regulations.  Under new Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation, every vehicle must be either insured or registered with the DVLA as being off the road.  At present, the SORN, which is free, must be renewed annually.

“This is nonsense for those who, for example, are restoring a car over the long term or live overseas for most of the time and have a vehicle laid up.  I’m glad to see that the SORN will in future be continuous until such time as the car is once again used on the public highway.”

(updated 31 January 2012)