How do I check my car is insured?
If you’ve ever had that cold moment of dread and thought ‘am I insured’ – you can be confident that you’re probably not the only one. Luckily, it’s easy enough to find out whether your car is covered – here’s how.
MID stands for ‘motor insurance database’ – it holds all the details of every insured car in the UK and it’s the quickest and simplest way of finding out whether your car is insured or not.
To use MID, just type in your number plate and the system will immediately show you whether or not your car is covered. MID won’t show you who you’re insured with – but to find out, you can download a form and submit a request for your car insurance history – although there is a fee for this part of the service.
Free ways to check if you are insured
- Check your emails and bank account
If MID shows that you are insured but you can’t remember who with (and don’t want to pay the administration fee) then go through your emails to see if you can find any correspondence or confirmation – don’t forget to check all your folders and your spam. If an email search is unsuccessful, your old bank statements should reveal any regular or one-off payments to your insurance provider.
- Retrieve your quote
If you used a comparison website, like mustard.co.uk, you should be able to retrieve your quotes. While you might not be able to see which policy you bought, it could jog your memory.
Do I need car insurance?
Whether you drive your car every day, or it sits untouched in your garage all-year round, you need some form of insurance to stay on the right side of the law.
That hasn’t always been the case in the UK but for the past few years new laws have been in place to combat the growing number of uninsured motorists on the road.
Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE)
Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) laws were brought into place in the UK in 2011.
They state that your vehicle must be insured or be declared off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) at all times.
If you own a vehicle without it being insured or SORN, you are breaking the law.
If you are found breaking CIE laws, you will be fined £100 and if you do not insure or SORN your vehicle after the fine you could face court action and a further fine of anything between £1,000 and £5,000.
It’s an additional cost everybody could do without but as well as being hit in the pocket your vehicle could also be clamped, seized and disposed of.
In addition to facing fines, motorists can also be disqualified and get anything from six to eight penalty points on their licence and for their licence to be endorsed with an IN10 conviction. An IN10 stays on your licence for four years but you’ll be expected to tell your insurer about it for five years – which will push up the price of your premium.
You can find out more about the consequences of driving without cover and whether there are any circumstances where this is allowed, in ‘What happens if I drive without insurance’.
How can I get caught?
You will get caught whether your car is on the road or hidden in your garage. That’s because the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) works with the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) to compare records and wheedle out anyone breaking the law.
If you don’t have insurance, you’ll be sent an ‘insurance advisory letter’ (IAL) with instructions on what you should do next. If you don’t follow the advice set out, you’ll face a fine and run the risk of being prosecuted or having your car clamped.
How do I know if I’m insured?
All vehicle insurers will inform you when your policy is about to expire and they will usually do this with one month remaining on your current policy.
That gives you lots of notice to either let your policy auto-renew (if it does), search for a new and improved insurance policy or register your vehicle off the road with a SORN from the DVLA.
I’ve been involved in an accident; how do I find out the other party’s insurance details?
If you’ve been in an accident and need to find out if other vehicles are insured, MID can also help with this. You’ll need to use the ‘other vehicle look-up’ service which comes with a fee (currently £4.50).
If the other party’s details do not display, it’s a good indication that they’re not insured – but keep a note of the number plate and if you can, find out the name and address of the driver.
What to do if you’re hit by an uninsured driver
If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you should:
- Report the accident to the police within five days if you intend to make a claim involving property (for example, damage to your car).
- Report the accident to the police within 14 days if you intend to make a personal injury claim.
- Tell your insurer about the accident, whether or not you make a claim and no matter whose fault the accident was.
Can I get compensation if I’m hit by an uninsured driver?
There’s nothing worse than finding out you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, but the good news is that MID can help you make a claim and try to recoup any repair costs. To do this, read the advice set out in MID’s claims process section and follow the instructions.
Compare insurance and stay within the law
Car insurance may feel like an expense you can’t afford, but not having it, simply isn’t worth the risk. It’s why we have our Cheapest Price Guarantee, it’s our promise to beat any other online quote so you don’t have to compromise between cost and cover.