Is my car insured?

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 on your car insurance or add family members or named drivers to the policy. 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 on your car insurance or add family members or named drivers to the policy. Read on to find out more.

 

Daniel Hutson
Head of Motor Insurance
7
minute read
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Posted 28 OCTOBER 2019 Last Updated 6 MAY 2022

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.  
 
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?

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. 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 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 Compare the Market 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. 

If your car isn’t insured, the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme is set up to identify uninsured vehicles. If your car is flagged, you’ll be sent an Insurance Advisory Letter, informing you that you need to take action, along with a potential penalty from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

What happens if you don’t have car insurance?

It’s an offence to drive on any public road without insurance and you could face severe penalties if you’re caught. If you’re pulled over by the police on the suspicion of driving without insurance, you’ll have seven days to provide proof that you were insured at the time. If you can’t, you could be prosecuted. At the very least, you could get a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points on your driver’s 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. 

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 should be listed as a named driver by the policyholder. Alternatively, you can get temporary car insurance to drive someone else’s car. 

Did you know?
You don’t have to be driving to be caught out for not having insurance. Keeping a vehicle without insurance or a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) is against the law – even if it’s just sitting on the road outside your house gathering dust.

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, we can automatically look for deals on your car insurance before it’s time to renew.

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What to do if your car is uninsured

If you’re driving (or even just parking) an uninsured car on public roads, this is illegal. You could receive a fixed fine of £300 and six penalty points on your driver’s licence. So, if you find out that your car is uninsured, the first thing you should do is insure it. 

If you’re discovered to be driving an uninsured car, there’s no avoiding the penalty and fine - unless you can prove exceptional circumstances, such as your insurance provider terminating your policy without contacting you. If you take your case to court, it could get worse for you, with a potentially unlimited fine and a disqualification from driving. The police could also seize, and even destroy, your car.

If your car insurance has lapsed, it’s also a good idea to check whether your road tax has been paid for and your car has a valid MOT. Forgetting about these things can also be punished by law.

If you’ve discovered that your car is uninsured, you can compare car insurance with us to get yourself covered.

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Can you pause your car insurance? 

It’s unlikely you’ll find an insurance provider that will let you temporarily suspend your car insurance. If you’re not going to be using your car for a while and you decide to cancel your policy, you’ll need to take it off the road and apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) with the DVLA. 

Bear in mind that your insurance provider may charge a fee if you decide to cancel your policy early. 

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.

Can you ever drive without car insurance? 

No. By law, you must have at least third-party car insurance to drive on a public road. However, you don’t need car insurance if: 

  • you’ve taken your car off the road and declared it SORN
  • it’s been kept off public roads since before 1 February 1998
  • it’s been reported as scrapped, stolen or exported
  • it’s registered as ‘in trade’ – between dealers or is being held in stock by an authorised dealer

Dan Hutson

From the Motor Team

What our expert says

"There are many factors 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 where you leave your car, as well as things that could impact your ability to drive safely. Find out more about driving penalties to make sure you stay on the right side of the law."

Frequently asked questions

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 understand what you’re covered for. You’ll be able to see if you have all the cover you need, or whether you need to add more, and be prepared if you need to make a claim.

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.

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 28 days. But never travel anywhere without first making sure you’re covered.

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, 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.

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