Did you know that you could be fined £300 and receive six penalty points on your licence if you drive without a valid car insurance policy?
In the UK it is a legal requirement to have car insurance on your vehicle so it's always best to check before you get behind the wheel. The police can tell instantly whether or not your vehicle is insured just by scanning your number plate. Thankfully, it's easy to find out if your car is insured and we're going to tell you how you can do just that.
How to check if a car is insured
According to Esure, in 2021, there were over 215,000 drivers who received an advisory letter saying their car wasn’t on the insurance database. To make sure that this doesn't happen to you, you can check if your car is insured with your insurance provider easily online, and it's free service too!
You can check if your car is insured by looking it up on the Motor Insurance Database (MID). This is a database that is managed by the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB), which is an organisation that works closely with the police, insurers and the DVLA to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the UK roads, says Esure. It's essentially a big national register for you to complete a free search to find out whether your vehicle has a current, valid insurance policy.
A good thing to note is that all insurance companies must be members of the MIB, because this means they are required to add all policies to the database. Although the database is updated regularly, if you've just purchased a new policy or changed the vehicle, it may not show up straight away in the database.
What documents do you need to check your car insurance?
It's simple, all you need is your car registration number to check whether or not your car is insured. You don't need any documents at all, you just need the askMID search tool and your registration number, it's as easy as that.
How to use the Motor Insurance Database check tool
Once you've headed over to the askMID database tool and entered your vehicle registration number, click "check this vehicle" and the database will tell you there and then the insurance status of your vehicle.
You'll get a plain and simple response but you won't see any of your insurance details. So if you've perhaps forgotten to insure your car, whether deliberately or accidentally, then the first thing you're going to receive is an Insurance Advisory Letter, which will give you useful info on how to get your car insured and avoid running into trouble with the DVLA, says the AA. This is considered to be the first step, and failing to act on this could result in your car being clamped, seized, or destroyed.
It's a handy tool for checking whether or not a vehicle is showing up as insured. According to Esure, this check on askMID is not proof of insurance nor is it proof of no insurance, it just confirms if the vehicle is currently showing on MID. So if you're concerned you might have forgotten to renew your insurance or that it might have lapsed, this free service to check your car's insured is the tool to use.
Does my car insurance renew automatically?
The truth is many insurance policies will automatically renew themselves, which is great news because this means you'll be covered unless you choose to cancel your auto renewal or if there's an issue with your payments.
Generally what tends to happen is that most insurance providers will send you a renewal notice and a price prior to your policy expiry date. This is so you can see what they are offering and to give you some time to decide if you want to continue with your insurer for another year, or if you're out and you think it might be best to explore the market.
As much as automatic renewal of your insurance policy might sound appealing, it could mean you end up paying more than you have to, says Compare the Market. According to Uswitch, automatically renewing your policy is often expensive, which is why it can be beneficial to shop around and make sure you get the best insurance quote in advance.
Before you do go shopping around for new insurance, ensure you check when your current car insurance expires and whether or not it is currently set to automatically renew. It's been reported that some motorists have been known to buy a new car insurance policy with a different provider without realising that their old policy has automatically renewed.
How do I find out who my car is insured with?
If you've forgotten or perhaps you simply don't know who your car is insured with and you're looking to find out, the best way you can do that is by checking within MID, according to Car Analytics.
It's easy to forget who your car is insured with, more common than you might first think, but thankfully there are many ways you can find out, says Uswitch:
- Check your bank statements and see the regular payments to your insurance company.
- Have a look through your emails to see if have any emails from your insurer
- Lodge a Subject Access Request: you can do this through the MIB, but you may be charged a fee.
Am I insured to drive other cars?
Everyone's insurance policy is different and the terms and conditions of an insurance policy may differ from one person to the next. If you're not sure how far your policy extends, you can always check with your insurance company to find out.
For example, most standard policies won't cover you if you borrow someone else's car, or if they borrows yours, according to the AA. Some insurers may offer this, and if they do, this is great, but it's probably best not to assume, without having checked with your insurer first.
Is there a car insurance reminder service?
Sadly, there is no insurance reminder service from askMID at this time.
If you’re worried about not renewing your car insurance by accident and driving around with an uninsured car, don't be, because the likelihood is, your insurer will send you several renewal reminders.
According to Free Car Check, MoneySupermarket has come up with their own solution. By downloading their free app, they can notify you when your car insurance is due to expire. How handy is that?
Is my car insured if it is not taxed?
If a car is not taxed, then it is also illegal to drive it within the UK. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) requires that all vehicles on the road must be taxed and insured. This helps to ensure that drivers are able to pay for any damage they may cause while driving and that all drivers are insured against any damage that may be caused to them by other drivers.
Without a valid tax status, a driver risks being fined and having points added to their driving licence. Furthermore, if a driver has an accident and is not insured, then they could be held personally liable for any damages that are incurred. Getting a car taxed and insured are both necessary to drive legally in the UK.
What does road tax pay for?
Road tax in the UK helps to pay for maintenance of the roads, as well as transport infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels and street lighting. It also helps to fund public transport services, including buses and trains.
Road tax revenue also helps to fund research and development into new technologies that can improve the safety and efficiency of the UK's roads. In addition, money from road tax is used to provide subsidies to drivers and operators of public transport services, helping to keep fares down. The government also uses road tax revenue to fund initiatives that encourage people to use more sustainable forms of transport, such as cycling and walking. This helps to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and reduce carbon emissions.