John Leak's remarks about an accident as a result of a vehicle defect (Letters, 8 August) are well founded. In such a case, I suspect he is right.

The driver could be in the clear, as he may not be negligent, and the owner may not have valid insurance in place.

However, while the owner could be liable for millions of pounds of damages and have no insurance, he could not be prosecuted for driving with no insurance, because he wasn't.

And the person who was driving did have cover via his DOC extension, so he couldn't be charged either.

In effect it is no different than having a rusting old car on your driveway that you are using for spares.

You wouldn't dream of insuring it, but the handbrake could fail and it could roll into the road causing injury. You may be liable, and without insurance you could be ruined, but I doubt you would be prosecuted for having no insurance.

Questions of insurance and liability are interesting but unrelated issues.

As regards road tax, it is true that you can't buy tax without insurance, but it isn't true to say that you can't have tax without insurance. You can tax the car and then cancel the insurance shortly afterwards. The tax would still be valid.

And conversely, you can drive without tax, which is an offence, but still have valid insurance. Guilty of one thing, but not guilty of the other.

In my view, the DOC extension is valid, even if the car being driven doesn't have its own insurance.

This conclusion is based on the principle that the insurance policy you hold is a contract between two parties, you and your insurer. It's got nothing to do with anyone else and even less to do with their insurance status.

Your certificate allows you to drive other vehicles by way of a DOC extension, providing you don't own the car and you have the permission of the owner, and that allowance isn't qualified by saying the car you drive has to be covered elsewhere.

The policy booklet goes on to restrict the DOC extension to third party only cover, but again it makes no mention of the car you drive on the DOC having to be covered in its own right.

If insurers wish to restrict the cover provided by the DOC extension in any other way, then they must say so in the contract.

Len Benson
Associate director
Peter Lole & Co