Q1. Can I leave my car uninsured or unlicensed if I do not intend to drive it anymore?
Section 4(1) of the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third Party Risks) Ordinance (Cap. 272) specifies that in order to “use, or to cause or permit any other person to use, a motor vehicle on a road”, there must be a third party risks insurance policy in force in relation to the user of that vehicle. The keyword here is “use”.
Regulation 25 of the Road Traffic (Registration and Licensing of Vehicles) Regulations (Cap. 374E) specifies that “no motor vehicle shall be upon or used on any road unless a valid vehicle licence in respect of the vehicle is displayed”. The keywords here are “be upon or used”.
It is evident that there is a difference between the requirements for insurance and that of licensing:
- For insurance, you cannot “use” a vehicle if you do not have the insurance.
- For licensing, you cannot have your vehicle “upon or used on any road” if you do not have the licence.
Judging from the wording of these 2 statues, you may argue that you can leave a vehicle uninsured if you do not intend to “use” or you will not let anyone “use” your car on a road.
Nevertheless, even if no one is going to “use” the vehicle, you must maintain a licence as long as the vehicle is “upon” any road. Given the broad definition of the word “road”, which comprises almost any place, you certainly need a licence for the vehicle. Regulation 21(1)(a)(ii) of the Road Traffic (Registration and Licensing of Vehicles) Regulations (Cap. 374E) provides that a licence shall not be issued unless there is a third party insurance policy is “valid on the date when the licence is to become operative”. In other words, you must have a valid insurance policy as long as you continue to own the vehicle.
Note: since the law only requires that there must be a valid insurance policy “on the date” when the licence is to become operative, you could obtain a licence with an insurance policy which will expire in the near future. So it is possible that there will be a time gap that an unused vehicle can be placed “upon” a road without a valid insurance.