Check Car Insurance Details

If you’ve forgotten your car insurance details or lost your policy documents, you can easily check whether your car is still insured, who the insurance provider is, your renewal date and other general information. 
 
This is all useful should you want to get a better deal or transfer insurance providers for your car. You won’t be able to transfer the policy to another person, but you can add family members or named drivers. Read on to find out more. 

If you’ve forgotten your car insurance details or lost your policy documents, you can easily check whether your car is still insured, who the insurance provider is, your renewal date and other general information. 
 
This is all useful should you want to get a better deal or transfer insurance providers for your car. You won’t be able to transfer the policy to another person, but you can add family members or named drivers. Read on to find out more. 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
10
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 11 DECEMBER 2020

How can 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 search is free, with a small fee for additional details like the insurance provider’s name and general policy details.  
 
Currently, the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) is running a virtual switchboard for urgent calls. The virtual switchboard is open between 9am – 5pm and can be reached on 01908 830001. For non-urgent queries, you can visit the MIB’s contact page. 
 
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?

You’ll just need your car registration number to check if your car is on the Motor Insurance Database. You’ll also need to declare that the car is registered, owned or insured by you, or your employer.

How do I check who I am insured with?

If you’ve checked the MID and discovered you’re covered but you can’t remember who with, there are 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 Compare the Market to see if this jogs your memory.
  • Submit a Data Subject Access Request to the MID. You may be charged a small admin fee for this information.

What is the penalty for having no car insurance?  

It’s an offence to drive on any public road without insurance and you could face severe penalties if you’re caught. At the very least, you could get a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on your licence. The police can seize your vehicle and they even have the power to destroy it. If the matter goes to court, you might be given an unlimited fine and you could be disqualified from driving. 

The cities in the UK that don’t know if their car is insured

If you don’t know whether your car is insured yet, you’re not alone. In the UK, there are an average of 110,000 Google searches per month for the phrase “is my car insured”, and that’s not including variations like “check my car is insured” (14,800 monthly searches) and “check car is insured UK” (3,600).

As you’ll see below, searches for these terms, and others, increased significantly from 2018 to 2020.

Of the 15 most searched-for terms, Cambridge is the city searching the most for 40% of them, making them the most uncertain city when it comes to knowing if their car is insured. Birmingham comes in second, and Liverpool is third, with the most searches for the top term “is my car insured”.

Knowing whether your car insured is vital, particularly if you have an accident or if you’re a victim of vehicle crime...

Why is it important to check my car insurance?

Not only is having car insurance a legal requirement, but checking the details of your insurance will help you to be prepared in case of an emergency.

Vehicle crime hot spots in the UK

Vehicle crime means the theft of cars or of things inside them cars. Over the past six years, vehicle theft has increased by more than 60%, and it seems that cars in some cities are more at risk than others.

To find out where in the UK is most susceptible to vehicle-related crime, we analysed data from the Department for Transport and the Police UK database.

The top vehicle crime hot spots? Coventry, Oxford and Bradford.

That said, all three cities have seen a decrease in the number of recorded vehicle crimes since July 2019, particularly Bradford, where numbers fell by 53% in the space of a year.

In fact, the number of recorded crimes throughout the UK dramatically dropped on average between April and June 2020, perhaps due to COVID-19 lockdown measures and the reduced number of cars on the road.

We also looked at the percentage of vehicle crime cases that are resolved (such as a local resolution, offender given a caution) and completed (investigation complete). Interestingly, while Coventry is the number one hot spot for vehicle crime, it’s also the city with the highest percentage of resolutions.

Similarly, although Spelthorne has seen the biggest increase in vehicle crime over the past year, it’s also in joint second place for the percentage of resolved cases, along with Brentwood and Harlow.

No matter where you live, it pays to be covered for vehicle-related crime. If there’s a clause in your insurance policy that excludes vehicle crime or you don’t have valid car insurance and your vehicle is stolen or broken into, then you won’t get any compensation for the loss.

Find out what to do if your car is stolen.

Unusual things that can invalidate your car insurance

As well as checking that you definitely have insurance, it’s also vital to be clued up on things that can invalidate your insurance policy.

We surveyed the public on 20 situations to find out whether they thought these could invalidate their car insurance. Take a look at the results – you may even be guilty of doing some of these yourself.

  • Did you know that driving in warm weather without aircon or open windows can invalidate your car insurance? If not, then you’re not alone – 84% of people didn’t know this either.

    The reason it could invalidate your insurance is because it goes against rule 237 of Highway Code, which states that you should keep your vehicle well-ventilated to avoid drowsiness.
  • 77% didn’t know that parking your car in the car wash area at the supermarket to have it cleaned can invalidate your car insurance.
  • Some policies might cover you, but with limitations. For example, you may only be covered for certain types of damage, or some policies may not cover car theft if you’ve handed the keys over or left them in the ignition.
  • 66% of people didn’t know that leaving your car at your parents’ house for a long period of time if it’s not registered there can invalidate your policy too. This is because the price you pay for your car insurance is partly dependent on where you live.
  • 61% of people didn’t know that having several air fresheners hanging from your rear-view mirror can invalidate your insurance. That’s because it’s against the law to drive if your view of the road is obstructed.

On the plus side, most people know that installing tinted windows, lending your car to a friend or having your dog in the footwell can invalidate your insurance, so they’re already steering clear of these pitfalls.

Dan Hutson

From the Motor Team

What our expert says

There are lots of things that could possibly restrict or invalidate your cover, which is why reading your car insurance policy documents carefully is so important. Be sure to also think about the situations you leave your car in as well as things that could impact your ability to react while driving - unintentionally or not.

Find out more about driving penalties to make sure you stay on the right side of the law.

What happens if I don’t have my car insured before I need to travel? 

It’s a legal requirement to have at least third-party car insurance when you get behind the wheel. If you forget to insure your car, there are serious legal and financial consequences. If you’re just using a car for a short amount of time – you’re sharing the driving or borrowing a car, for example – you can get temporary car insurance that lasts from an hour to 30 days. But never travel anywhere without first making sure you’re covered.

The areas in the UK with the most hazardous driving roads

Whether you’re heading off on a staycation, visiting friends and family or commuting to work, it’s a legal requirement to have car insurance before you travel. But where in the UK will you find the most hazardous roads for driving?

Looking at traffic, the number of road accidents and the number of roads in need of maintenance, we’ve ranked the local authorities with the most and least hazardous roads for driving.

Southend-on-Sea is the most hazardous place to drive, with over 20% more roads that need maintenance than any other local authority. Wiltshire comes second, and Cornwall third. Cornwall is also the place with the highest number of road accidents, with 1,131 recorded in 2019.

On the other end of the scale, Redcar and Cleveland has the least hazardous roads, followed by Hartlepool and Rutland. Rutland also saw the biggest decrease in road accidents between 2017 and 2019, with just 41 recorded in 2019.

Halton has the best-kept roads, followed by Redcar and Cleveland, and Middlesbrough.

Read more about which local authorities have improved their roads the most in the last 10 years.

How do I check my car insurance renewal date?

How do I check my car insurance renewal date?

If you’ve lost your motor insurance certificate and can’t remember when you bought your cover, you can contact your provider to ask them when your renewal date is. You might also be able to check it online if you have an online account with your provider.

Your insurance provider will contact you at least 21 days 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, AutoSergei™ will let you know when there’s a better deal before it’s time to renew. 

My car insurance is due for renewal. When should I consider switching provider?

If your car insurance is due for renewal, our research has shown that the ideal time to switch providers is three weeks before the renewal date. Our data shows that younger drivers tend to save the most money by switching their car insurance three weeks early.

Can I keep my car on the driveway without insurance?

Even if you never use it, you must make sure you have car insurance if the car is roadworthy and you could possibly drive it. If you’re not planning to drive the car, or it’s not roadworthy, you can declare your car as SORN and you don’t need to set up a car insurance policy. But you can’t park it on a public road.

Can car insurance be transferred to a new owner?

Because your car insurance is linked to you as an individual, it can’t be transferred to someone else – even your spouse or partner. However, you can add a family member  to your policy. You can change some details like your address, the car or switch the main driver, but there could be charges or a change to your premium. If you want to change your policy, it’s always a smart idea to contact your insurance provider. They may agree to alter your existing cover, but they could ask you to take out a new policy.

How do I know I’m getting a good deal?

A good car insurance deal will be the one that suits you and your lifestyle. But the quickest way to check what’s on the market is to start a quote now. We’ll compare some of the UK’s most trusted car insurance providers to help you get a great deal.

Our methodology

The cities in the UK that don’t know if their car is insured - We analysed relevant Google search data for the 15 most-populated UK cities across 2018-2020. Population figures were included to draw representative insights for ‘the city searching the most’.

Vehicle crime hot spots in the UK - Data from the Department for Transport and https://data.police.uk/data/open-data/ looked at the number of recorded vehicle crimes from July 2019-July 2020 for 345 towns and cities across the UK. Recorded outcome data provided insight into the locations that have the highest resolved and/or completed case investigations. Resolved and completed cases were grouped. This group includes the following outcomes: local resolution, offender given a caution, investigation complete, no suspect identified.

Unusual things that invalidate your car insurance – we surveyed 500 people across the UK.

The areas in the UK with the most hazardous driving roads - Department for Transport and data.gov.uk provided data sets on number of road accidents, road traffic and roads that need maintenance for 2016-2020. The analysis reviewed 50 unitary authorities across the UK that appeared in all three datasets. A weighted rank was calculated by using min-to-max normalisation.

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