Is My Car Insured?

How to Check the Insurance Status of Your Vehicle For Free

Close up of someone driving a car

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As per UK law, it is a legal requirement that any car or vehicle registered in your name must be insured at all times, and it must also have a valid MOT and vehicle tax.

If you are caught driving a car without insurance, there will be serious consequences, and this mark on your driving history will cause your future car insurance premiums to soar.

So if you are unsure whether or not your car is insured, it is vital that you check its insurance status straight away. Luckily, there is a quick and easy way for you to do a car insurance check to make sure you avoid facing fines or worse, which we will explain in this guide.

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Car insurance and uninsured drivers - What is the law?

According to industry experts, there are over 1 million uninsured motorists currently driving around on UK roads, and statistically, they cause more road traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities than those who are insured.

As a result, the Continuous Insurance Enforcement’s (CIE) aim is to clamp down on the high number of uninsured drivers on UK roads to ensure the safety of other drivers as much as possible.

The law states that any car, driven on the road or otherwise, must be insured. The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) and the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) work together to help identify uninsured vehicles as per the CIE scheme. Both organisations compare insurance records on the DVLA with those on the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

The only vehicles which do not have to be insured, according to the (CIE) and UK law, are those which have been officially declared as ‘off the road’ by the DVLA via a SORN application. This applies to vehicles that are not currently being used and are parked on private land, such as in a driveway or garage, and are not being used or kept on public land or roads.

When you make a statutory off road notification (SORN), you will also need to return your tax disc to the DVLA.

Learn more: What Does SORN Mean?

The only other exemption of the car insurance law is if your vehicle has been stolen or scrapped.

How do police check car insurance?

In the UK, the police use their own Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology alongside updated information from the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to catch-out motorists driving uninsured vehicles.

Using this technology, police currently seize over 500 uninsured vehicles every day, and, on average, one person every three minutes is convicted for driving without insurance.

It is worth remembering that you don’t have to be driving to be caught without an insurance policy, as the police could easily check a parked vehicle at any time if they have any suspicions.

Driving without insurance - The penalties

If you are found to have a car that does not have a valid insurance policy, there is a process which takes place.

If, when checking records, the DVLA and MIB notice an uninsured vehicle, the registered keeper will receive an Insurance Advisory letter (IAL) informing them that they need to insure it.

If the driver does not follow the advice stated in the IAL letter, they will have to pay a fixed penalty notice of £100.

After this, you may be informed that your vehicle will be clamped, seized and disposed of, and you may also face a court prosecution with further fines of up to £1,000, depending on the severity of your case. In some cases, drivers can be banned from driving – either for a set period or altogether.

If the police detect a motorist driving without insurance, they have the power to seize your vehicle straight away, which will cost you a further £150 to get it back. On top of this, the police will automatically put six points on your licence and you will receive a fine for having no insurance.

If you face any of the above repercussions for not having cover for your vehicle, your car insurance will be much more expensive when you purchase your next policy and some insurers may even refuse you cover, in which case you’ll need to find a specialist insurance company that offer convicted driver insurance.

Learn more: Convicted Driver Insurance: Driving Offences vs Criminal Convictions

How to check car insurance yourself

There is an extremely easy way for you to check the car insurance status of any vehicle that you are concerned about, for free.

All you need to do is visit the AskMID website and enter your vehicle registration number.

If you complete a car insurance check and you find out that your vehicle is not insured, you must insure your car immediately to avoid facing penalties, or if you think you are insured, check with your insurance company straight away (see below if you’re unsure who you are insured with).

What is AskMID?

Police car on roadMID stands for Motor Insurance Database, which is the only central record of insured vehicles in the UK. The MID database is one of the most important tools used to make sure that all vehicles driven on UK roads are insured - and it is updated over 10,000 times every hour.

The Motor Insurance Database is used by the DVLA as well as the police to help enforce motor insurance law on UK roads.

Learn more: What is AskMID? - A Definitive Guide

Who is my car insured with?

If you’re not sure which insurance company you are with, but you know you definitely have a policy, there are a few things you can do to try and find this out:

  • Check your email inbox and junk for any car insurance emails – If you can find one, it should have the details of your insurer on there.
  • Check your bank statement around the date you purchased the policy – this should be easier if you pay monthly for cover.
  • Complete a Data Subject Access Request form from the MIB website to see the information they have on you, your vehicle and your insurer from the last 7 years.

You can find out more in our in-depth guide: How to Find Out Who your Car Insurance is With

Save money on car insurance today

If you’ve been with the same insurer for the last few years then it is very likely that you could make a significant saving on your next policy by switching providers.

Loyal customers who remain with a company for a while will eventually be charged a type of ‘loyalty tax’, which essentially means that your premiums will go up because you haven’t switched, ultimately increasing the cost of cover for no real reason.

To see how much money you could save on your next policy, get a free, non-obligatory quote today to help you decide whether or not it would be worth your while to switch car insurance providers.