Your Definitive Guide to Checking a Vehicle's Insurance Status With AskMID
We’re often so busy with every-day life and organising our finances that when it comes to car insurance, it’s understandable if you find yourself wondering "is my vehicle insured?" or saying "I can’t remember my car insurance company" if some time has passed since you last arranged your policy.
Luckily, there is an easy and quick way of checking whether or not your vehicle is insured thanks to the online service offered by www.askmid.com.
But before you go on the website to check your insurance car status (or that of someone else’s vehicle if you've been involved in an accident, for example), it is worth finding out what askMID is, what it’s used for and how it can help you - which we will cover in this complete guide.
AskMID: What is it and what is it used for?
The acronym MID stands for the Motor Insurance Database, which is the only official record of all vehicles in the UK that are, or are not, currently fully insured and therefore legal to be driven on the roads.
The MID is managed by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB), which acts on behalf of the government to help provide compensation to insured drivers who have been involved in a non-fault road traffic accident that was caused by an uninsured driver or vehicle.
The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) was later introduced in 2011 to tackle the amount of uninsured drivers on UK roads.
The Ask MID service is used by British drivers, insurance companies and authorities, like the police, to do a car insurance check on any vehicle at any time.
AskMID stay legal
The ‘stay legal’ section of the ask MID website gives advice on what to do to make sure you drive legally, and it warns readers about the consequences that can come from not having insurance, encouraging drivers to keep tabs on whether they are covered or not.
If you are currently not driving your vehicle and therefore do not need to buy an insurance policy, it must be declared as ‘off the road’ with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). This can be obtained from the DVLA and you must ensure you do this to remain legal, and remember, you cannot drive your car if it has a SORN - to drive your car legally on UK roads, you must have a motor insurance policy.
If, after checking on the Motor Insurance Database (MID), your vehicle does not have cover and/or a SORN, and you are caught by officials, you may face one or more of the following:
- A warning letter by post
- Penalties (fines, convictions, court prosecution, etc,)
- Having your car clamped by the DVLA
What is the penalty for having no insurance in the UK?
According to Compare the Market, driving without insurance is a serious offence and a risk that drivers cannot afford to take.
Doing so could lead to having a fixed penalty fine of £300 and six points on your licence, which is often the lightest form of punishment. If you are prosecuted in court, you may even be given an unlimited fine and be banned from driving, depending on the seriousness of your case. In the event that you are disqualified from driving for more than 56 days, you will have to apply for a new licence and may even need to redo your driving test.
The police can also seize your vehicle and have it destroyed in worst-case scenarios.
Do Police use AskMID?
Following Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) law, the police reserve the right to check the insurance status of any vehicle in order to keep other drivers safe - particularly that of those who may be seen driving irresponsibly.
The police use an automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) device as well as AskMID to detect any uninsured drivers, seizing over 500 uninsured vehicles per day!
By using the ask MID service yourself to see whether or not your car has insurance, it will help prevent you from facing any of these penalties.
How do I check my car insurance with ask MID?
So how does it work? The process of checking if your car is insured is simple and quick. All you have to do is visit ownvehicle.askmid.com and type in your vehicle registration number into the yellow box at the top of the page:
Once you have done that, read the Data Protection Declaration, tick the box that declares you have read and understood the terms, and complete the captcha that confirms you are not a robot - you can then tap the green button ‘Check this vehicle’.
You’ll notice the turquoise box underneath this, which gives you a link to click on if your intention is to look up the insurance details of another vehicle, should you be involved in a car accident with a third party. - click on this if it applies to you (you will need the third party's number plate).
After clicking the button to check your vehicle, it will then take you to a new page stating whether or not the vehicle you’ve entered has insurance. Depending on whether your vehicle has a valid insurance policy or not, you’ll see one of the following pages:
If the latter page shows up on your screen telling you that your vehicle does not have a valid policy, be sure to follow the ‘what to do next’ advice provided below the red warning box.
Is AskMID free?
Using ask MID to see whether or not your motor insurance is valid is completely free, and the only time the car insurance check is not free is when you want to search for the insurance details belonging to another driver or vehicle, usually in the event of an accident.
Checking a third party’s car insurance
If you need to look up someone else’s motor insurance validity - perhaps because you’ve been in an accident with them and they are withholding information from you, for example - you can do so with AskMID. With the impact of Covid-19 affecting how close you can stand next to someone and the risk of passing contaminated documents back and forth after an accident, AskMID provides a safe way to check insurance details at a distance.
Unlike when checking your own vehicle, looking up another person’s car insurance details using the 'lookup feature' comes at a small, one-off cost of £4.50, which pays for ask MID to carry out the service (not for the requested information).
You will need to enter some basic information regarding the accident and your personal information, as well as their registration plate number, in order to check the insurance status of their car or other vehicle:
Don’t miss the small, green payment button at the bottom! You’ll need to pay the fee before you can retrieve the details you need.
When you carry out a search on AskMID, whether you’re checking your own car insurance or a third party’s, it remains private and no one else, such as insurers or police, will be notified that you’ve been on there to check.
Unlike when checking your credit score, your future car insurance premiums won’t be affected by your search on Ask MID - your search history remains completely private.
How long does AskMID take to update? Is it accurate?
The AskMID website states that the Motor Insurance Database is “updated over 10,000 times an hour” by insurance companies, and it is used by the Government and authorities to make sure that all cars are legally insured on the roads. It is therefore the most accurate and trusted car insurance check tool online and it is definitely a legitimate and genuine site.
Having said this, if you just purchased car insurance and look up the status of your vehicle with AskMID soon after, it may not have updated instantly.
Insurers are given 7 days from the policy's start date to add customers' new car insurance details to the MID, but they generally aim to get it done a lot sooner than that. One customer on the MoneySavingExpert forum stated that their new car took 3 days to get on the MID.
It all depends on your insurance provider - Tesco Bank, for example, states that they aim to update their customers' new car insurance policies on the MID “within 48 hours but can take up to seven working days”.
Your insurance company may update it straight away, but the information may not reach the database until a few days or up to a week, as some insurers have stated that the database can sometimes be slow to update.
While your details may not be showing up just yet, as long as you have proof that you did buy a sufficient insurance policy, you are covered. Make sure you keep a record of your policy with you when driving, just in case the police pull you over.
If you have cover but your car is not showing on the insurance database, simply keep doing the free insurance check daily on AskMID until you see your vehicle appear as insured. If it continues not to show up after 7 days of purchasing your policy, get in touch with your insurance provider for more information.
Does temporary car insurance show on mid?
If you have purchased a short-term car insurance policy, insurers are still obligated to update the MID with your temporary cover details; however, it may not show up on the MID in time if you were to buy cover for just one or a few days.
As there may be a delay in updating the MID, it is always worth keeping a hold of your car insurance policy certificate/confirmation which shows the dates you are covered for.
Can you check your car tax with AskMID?
In order to check whether or not your vehicle has valid road tax, you cannot do so via the ask MID website - instead, you will need to check if your vehicle is taxed by using the GOV.UK website here.
Need car insurance?
If you do not have car insurance in place, you’ll need to buy cover as soon as possible.
It is a legal requirement to stay insured and have a valid car insurance policy, so it is important to make sure you check whether or not your car is insured regularly and make a note of it’s expiry date and don’t forget it!
If you’re due to renew your motor insurance and buy a policy soon, you’re likely to save money by switching providers, as loyal customers tend to pay more for cover in comparison to new customers who are usually offered cheaper deals to join.
To compare car insurance providers and to find the cheapest price online for the policy that suits you best, your best option is to use a comparison site like Compare the Market or confused.com which can help you find and buy an affordable policy.