If wedding cars do proms what are the problems?
As promised we have taken considerable time to answer the vexed question which so many of you have asked in relation to school proms, parties and any other function you could use your wedding cars for. So here goes with what we hope is the definitive answer.
If I do Proms, Anniversaries or any other work in my unlicensed Wedding Car what are the possible problems?
Firstly if you are fully licensed by your local authority and have full private hire and reward insurance (not wedding hire insurance) then you have no problems at all provided the car is safe and roadworthy and is being driven by a fully local authority licensed private hire driver. The driver must be licensed by the same local authority as the cars.
The potential problems lie with being unlicensed, they fall into three main categories
1. The local authority
2. The Police
3. Civil action (having an accident with passengers on board)
1. The local authority have inspectors who go to proms and the like, in order to check licences and they report back to their authority that they have caught you breaking the law. The Authority have several courses of action they can take. The most unlikely is to just issue you with a written warning, more likely is that they will bring a prosecution in the magistrate’s court for working unlicensed and finally they could report you to the police for illegally carrying fare paying passengers whilst unlicensed and uninsured. (You will be uninsured as wedding insurance only covers the carriage of passengers in connection with a wedding). If you have obtained full private hire and reward insurance it will only cover fully licensed vehicles driven by fully licensed drivers ergo without all the licences in place, valid and issued by the same authority, the full private hire and reward insurance will be repudiated by your insurance company.
2. The police will take a far more robust view and will definitely prosecute. If at the time of the offence they realise the vehicle you are using is uninsured they will immediately impound it and you will not be able to retrieve it from them until you have produced a valid insurance certificate. To obtain a valid insurance certificate you would need to have the vehicle fully licensed by your local authority. The police won’t let you have it back until it is insured and you will have it tested and certified by the local authority which makes obtaining the correct licences almost impossible. Most local authorities won’t licence vehicles over five or seven years of age anyway. Impasse, the only way you might be able to ultimately get your vehicle back is through the courts – very expensive. Also remember every day that it is impounded the vehicle is racking up parking fees along with the cost of the original impounding, again very expensive. The final outcome could well be that you don’t get the vehicle back and it will be scrapped or sold to cover the fees. Needless to say for driving without insurance you will have your driving licence suspended for at least six months and that’s on top of very heavy fines. Very few if any local authorities, at a later date, would be prepared to licence you for private hire with that on your driving record.
3. Civil action is the worst case scenario. If you have a serious accident with passengers onboard and one or more is maimed for life or god forbid there is a fatality you will get all the problems above together with a probable prison sentence as well, but that’s not all. The victim’s parents could well sue you in the courts and if successful it could mean you have to sell all your assets, including your house, to meet the damages and costs awarded. One point before anyone says rubbish. Third party and passenger cover will still be met by the insurance company as required by law even if your policy is repudiated, but in every case the insurance company will always pursue you through the courts to recover all their costs so the outcome is the same, you could lose everything.
The choice is yours. If you break the law you choose to accept the consequences!!
Travis Morley Associates. Legal consultants to the Association (for their written opinion click here)
Peter James Insurance. Peter James is the insurance advisor to the Association