The only exception to driving without insurance (besides government vehicles) is for a person to deposit £500,000 with the Accountant General of the Supreme Court as security. Those financially astute among you will correctly realise that this would attract interest of £15,000, after basic rate tax, in most savings accounts at the moment. Therefore, it is cheaper in most circumstances to buy insurance!!
There are two defences, provided by the Road Traffic Act, which this is an excerpt from:
RTA 1988 Section 143 subsection 3
A person charged with using a motor vehicle in contravention of this section shall not be convicted if he proves—
(a) that the vehicle did not belong to him and was not in his possession under a contract of hiring or of loan,
(b) that he was using the vehicle in the course of his employment, and
(c) that he neither knew nor had reason to believe that there was not in force in relation to the vehicle such a policy of insurance or security as is mentioned in subsection (1) above.
Which is explained as follows:
a) the vehicle did not belong to the driver (he did not buy and register it to himself, even if a company vehicle) and was not in his possession under a contract of hiring or of loan.
b) he was using the vehicle in the course of his employment (not personal use), AND
c) that he neither knew nor had reason to believe that there was no insurance policy in force for that vehicle and purpose of use.
These two conditions must exist TOGETHER. This defence in the real world will usually be effectively used by employees of companies with larger fleets, but that does not exclude it’s use by ANY employee of a company, although it will always be closely scrutinized by the courts and is judged on the balance of probability.
Short answer is make sure you are insured.