Car liability insurance became mandatory in the UK in 1930 when the government passed a law declaring that all drivers had to have liability insurance. Today, this law has been updated and is known as the Road Traffic Act of 1988 (although it was actually last changed in 1991). It requires that all drivers be insured or have made a deposit with the Accountant General of the Supreme Court (in 1991, this deposit was £500,000). This insurance or deposit covers all damages done to another person or to their property.
The minimum amount of car liability insurance that a driver must have is called third party only insurance. It does not go beyond what the act requires. However, without this insurance, drivers cannot drive their car or give others permission to drive their car on any public road. On private land, however, the laws do not apply. There are a few exceptions to the act. These exceptions include vehicles owned by local authorities, education services, police and fire authorities, and vehicles owned and operated by other government agencies.
The act also goes on to say that any authorized person, including the police, can ask to see proof of insurance from any driver. If the driver can’t provide this proof, he will be issued what is known as a HORT/1. This means the driver will have seven days from midnight of the date of issue to present proof of insurance to the police station. If he or she fails to do this, he or she will be fined and may have his/her car impounded.
UK drivers must display their vehicle license when driving. This makes it easier to guarantee that most drivers have insurance since they must produce their insurance certificate when purchasing the vehicle license.