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Is my car insured?

Not sure if your car is insured? It’s illegal to drive on public roads in the UK without car insurance, so you’ll need to find out before you get behind the wheel. Thankfully, it’s easy to check if your car is insured by looking it up on the Motor Insurance Database (MID). Read on to find out how.

Not sure if your car is insured? It’s illegal to drive on public roads in the UK without car insurance, so you’ll need to find out before you get behind the wheel. Thankfully, it’s easy to check if your car is insured by looking it up on the Motor Insurance Database (MID). Read on to find out how.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
15 JANUARY 2024
7 min read
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How do I check if my car is insured?

The easiest way to find out if your car is insured is to check your registration number against the Motor Insurance Database (MID). This is a national register of all the cars insured in the UK. The free search will tell you whether your vehicle has a current, valid insurance policy in place. You’ll get a simple yes/no response – you won’t see any details of your insurance. You may also see the make and model of your car if that information has been provided by your insurance provider.

Be aware that the MIB is warning its customers about reported cases of scam callers pretending to be from the MIB. The scam caller will probably ask for your bank details. If you suspect that you’ve received such a scam call, you can visit the MIB website’s help and advice page.

What documents do I need to check my car insurance on the MID?

You don’t need any documents, just your car registration number to check if your car is on the Motor Insurance Database using the free askMID search tool. To carry out a search on the MID, you’ll need to declare that the car is registered, owned or insured by you or your employer.

How do I check who my car is insured with?

If you’ve checked askMID and discovered that you’re covered, but you can’t remember which insurance provider you’re with, there’s a few ways you can find out: 

  • Search your email inbox with the words ‘car insurance’ to see if you’ve had any recent emails or a PDF certificate from an insurance provider relating to your car. 
  • Check your bank account or credit card statements for payments made to an insurance provider. 
  • Retrieve an old quote if you used a comparison website like Comparethemarket to see if this jogs your memory. 
  • Submit a Data Subject Access Request to the MID. You’ll need to provide copies of ID to prove your identity and address, plus pay a small fee to get the name of your insurance provider.

When does my car insurance run out?

Many car insurance policies will renew automatically, which means you should always be covered unless you cancel your policy or your payments are disrupted. This may sound appealing if you’re struggling to stay on top of your car insurance policy, but it could mean you end up paying more than you have to. It’s always wise to shop around before you renew to check you’re still getting the best deal.

There are a few ways you can check when your car insurance expires. Look for your car insurance renewal date on your policy documents or car insurance certificate. If you’ve lost these, you can contact your provider and ask them directly or sign into your online insurance account.

Your insurance provider will also contact you before your renewal date to let you know when your policy is due to auto-renew or expire. This is a good time to compare quotes from other providers to see if you can get a cheaper deal on your next policy.

If you compare with Compare the Market, we can remind you when it’s almost time to review and automatically look for better deals on your car insurance beforehand. We compare 170 car insurance products in minutes[1], helping you see what’s out there for you. 

[1] Correct as of March 2024.

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What happens if I find out my car is not insured?

You’ll need to get insurance straight away. It’s an offence to drive on any public road without car insurance in the UK. If you get caught driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive, you could face severe penalties, including: 

  • A fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points on your driver’s licence
  • The police can seize your vehicle and, in some cases, destroy it
  • If the case goes to court, you could be disqualified from driving and given an unlimited fine.

Even if the car itself has insurance, you must be properly insured to drive it or you could be penalised. For example, if it’s not your car, you could either be listed as a named driver by the policyholder or take out temporary car insurance.

Can you ever drive without car insurance?

Under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme, your car must be insured unless it is officially declared as off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Bear in mind that, as the registered owner of a vehicle, you can be held responsible if it’s not insured, even if you’re not the one driving it.

There are a couple of instances where you won’t need insurance, but they only apply if you’re no longer driving the car. You won’t need car insurance if:

  • The car is between registered keepers – while the car is between owners, you won’t be responsible for insuring it. Once you become the registered keeper, you’ll need to make sure the car is properly insured.
  • The car’s been written off, scrapped or stolen – if any of these apply to your car, you’ll need to let the DVLA and your insurance provider know as soon as possible. 

Can I check if someone else’s car is insured?

You can check the insurance status of a car you’re permitted to drive using the same ask MID service, even if you’re not the registered owner.

Otherwise, you can use a different search tool on the askMID website to find out if someone else’s car is insured. You can only do this if the car was in an accident you were involved in, or you are representing someone involved. There is a £10 fee to use this service.

To check whether a car you’ve been involved in an incident with is insured, you’ll need to provide the following details: 

  • Your name and email address
  • How you were involved in the incident i.e., if you were driving or cycling at the time, a pedestrian or an affected homeowner
  • Your registration number
  • The registration number of the third-party vehicle you want to look up
  • The date when the incident happened. 

If the other vehicle’s registration number is found on the MID, you’ll be able to see the car’s insurance details, including the policy number, the name of insurance provider and the claims contact details that you’ll need to start a claim.

Author image Alex Hasty

What our expert says...

"Don’t rely on your car insurance policy auto-renewing. Make absolutely sure you’re covered for everything you need to be or you could find yourself in serious trouble. Find out more about driving penalties to make sure you stay on the right side of the law."

- Alex Hasty, Motor insurance expert

Frequently asked questions

Can you pause your car insurance?

It’s unlikely you’ll find an insurance provider that will let you temporarily suspend your car insurance.

By law, your vehicle must either be insured or taken off the road and declared SORN. If you’re not going to be driving your car for a couple of months, it might be better to keep it insured. Even parked up on the driveway or in a garage, there’s still a risk of damage, fire or theft. And it could work out cheaper than cancelling and restarting a new policy.

Am I insured when I buy a new car?

Some car dealers will offer temporary insurance when you buy a new vehicle, or you can arrange short term cover yourself. This will protect you for a limited period until you’ve had time to set up an annual policy. Even if you’re just driving your new car a short distance from a local dealership, you’ll need to be insured.

Am I insured to drive other cars?

You’re allowed to drive someone else’s car if you’re a named driver on their policy. And you may be able to drive someone else’s car in very limited circumstances if you have ‘driving other cars’ (DOC) cover included on your policy.

But you should never assume you’re insured to drive other people’s cars. If in doubt, speak to your insurance provider before getting behind the wheel of another car so you always stay on the right side of the law.

How do I check if my car is taxed and has an MOT?

You can check if your car is taxed and has a valid MOT certificate by using the government’s free car vehicle enquiry service.

Simply type in your registration number to find out if your car is currently taxed or registered as off the road (SORN). Helpfully, it will also tell you when the tax expires and when your next MOT test is due, along with other general details about your car.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

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