Scottish transport minister driving without insurance

He isn’t the only one to make a mistake like this: have you got the cover you think you have?

Humza Yousaf caught driving without insurance

Humza Yousaf, SNP MP and Scotland's transport minister, was stopped by police on Friday night while driving a friend's car. They checked his insurance as a matter of routine, and discovered that the transport minister was, in fact, driving without insurance. It's a bit humiliating, but it's not all that unusual.

Yousaf has said in a statement that he would plead guilty at the earliest opportunity. He added that it was a mistake - due to an admin failure after he split from his wife Gail. Apparently he thought he had comprehensive insurance that meant he could drive other vehicles. However, because he had lost the family car in the split, he was no longer the main policy holder on the car, and so he wasn't insured for other vehicles.

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Avoid the admin trap

Rod Jones, insurance expert at uSwitch.com, says it was an easy mistake to make, and adds: "The reality is that - whether it's moving house or changing job - our personal circumstances change all the time and our first thought is not always to update our insurer. However, not doing so risks invalidating your insurance and possibly points on your licence or a fine."

While none of us can be expected to keep car insurance at the top of the admin list at all times, there are a few rules that will keep you on the right side of the law.

1. Whenever anything about your car ownership changes, think about the insurance implications
If, for example, you transfer ownership, or you change the main policy holder, consider what it means for your insurance cover.

2. If anything about how you use your car changes, you need to tell your insurer
This includes things like using it for the commute if you previously only used it for leisure - or if you are doing more miles than before. It also includes times when you switch from parking on the drive to parking on the road. In fact if any of your regular driving habits change, you need to inform your insurer, because they may have to change your policy.

3. Whenever your circumstances change, put insurance on the list of things to check
If you split with your other half, move house, change jobs or retire, it may not be top of your to-do list, but your car insurer will need to be told as soon as possible, because your policy will have to be changed. If you fail to tell your insurer you may not be covered in the event of an accident - or you could be caught driving without valid insurance.

4. If the car itself is modified, you need to call your insurer
This includes things like engine upgrades, paintwork and stickers - as well as a change in the registration plate. Any modifications made after you were insured will need to be disclosed, as it is likely to change your insurance cover.

5. If you have an accident, you need to disclose it
Many people don't want to claim on their insurance for small accidents, because it has such a big impact on their insurance premiums. However, even if you don't intend to claim, you need to tell your insurer about any prangs - otherwise they may not pay out for any accidents in the future.

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