What Happens if your Driver’s Licence Expires During the Pandemic and You Have an Accident?

If the thought of spending hours or days in a queue to renew your expired driver’s licence fills you with dread, you are not alone. Even before lockdown the testing centres were running behind in renewing licences and testing licence applicants, and the lockdown has naturally caused backlogs to soar. Centre closures as result of infection scares will continue to compound the problem. 

And of course not having a valid licence puts you at risk of having any insurance claims rejected – a prospect to be avoided at all costs. We share details of the recent and very welcome extension in “deemed validity” of driver’s licences, with some advice on contacting your insurer or broker to confirm cover. 

Driving licence test centres were closed during the lockdown and even prior to that centres were running behind in renewing driver’s licences and testing first time driver’s licence applicants. 

The Minister of Transport recognised these difficulties and gave motorists until August 31 to renew their licencesThat has now been extended to January 31 2021 and your licence is deemed to be valid if it expired during the period from March 26 to August 31. 

Check your insurance   

Insurance policies require you to have a valid driver’s licence and if this is not the case, the insurer is entitled to refuse any claim made. Even if your policy doesn’t specifically require a valid driver’s licence, there could still be difficulties in making a claim without a valid licence. 

It is worth contacting your insurance broker or company and getting written clarification of cover if your licence has expired or will expire this year.  

Car hire  

On a related topic, car hire companies will not allow car hire without a valid driver’s licence – check upfront that your “deemed valid” licence will be acceptedAnd as and when international travel becomes available to us again, remember that your destination country may still regard your expired licence as invalid 

Motor vehicle licence discs  

All motor vehicle licence discs, temporary permits, and roadworthy certificates that expired during the period from March 26 to May 31 are deemed valid until August 31 2020. 

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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