We all know how frustrating it can be trying to locate all of the necessary paperwork when you need to buy your new tax disc – especially when, in this digital age, so many insurers fail to send out hard copies of your insurance certificate in the first place. However, if Roads Minister Stephen Hammond has his way, producing evidence of insurance when renewing your road tax may soon become a thing of the past.
The current requirement for producing insurance evidence in official form when you arrive at the post office, ready to sort out your tax, can be a real headache for some road users. The trouble isn’t just that an emailed certificate of insurance is often unacceptable to the person behind the counter either – if you’ve just purchased a car that doesn’t come with a current tax disc, it can be even more of an issue.
While you may have made the necessary phone call to your insurance company or sorted out cover via the Internet, it may be a while before any paperwork, electronic or otherwise, gets sent to you – and no insurance means no tax: end of story.
Two sides of the argument
So if you’ve ever found yourself in one of the above predicaments, you may be interested in the consultation regarding road tax which is open for comment until 26th November. The consultation is designed to decide whether the production of a valid insurance certificate should continue to be a requirement when purchasing road tax, or whether it’s no longer needed. According to the DVLA’s press release announcing the consultation, Hammond believes that there’s no benefit in this process now that insurance checks can easily be made against the Motor Insurance Database, under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules. It’s also probably no coincidence that the removal of this stage in the purchase process stands to save the Government in the region of £1.2 million per year.
Unfortunately, it seems that since the news to reconsider this procedure was announced, not everybody has taken a positive outlook. The director of AA Insurance, Simon Douglas, has voiced concerns that this will send out the wrong message to road users and encourage people to avoid taking out insurance or to delay renewal. With the current system automatically reminding drivers if their insurance has expired when buying their tax online, or refusing tax for drivers who can’t produce insurance evidence in person, Douglas believes that it will be much easier to overlook any avoidance or lapse in regards to cover.
Have your say!
So where do you stand on the argument? Do you agree with Hammond that cutting out the red tape is a good idea? Or, like Douglas, do you worry that if this lack of insurance check becomes law, more people will risk driving without insurance? If you have an opinion that you want to share, you can make your comments on the consultation by clicking on the link and following the instructions: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/remove-the-insurance-check-when-taxing-a-vehicle