Car insurance is mandatory in the UK, with third party insurance being the minimum requirement for vehicles to be driven on UK roads. Car insurance policies usually insure your vehicle for 12 months before expiring and if your policy is not set to auto-renew then you could find yourself uninsured, risking a fine and points on your licence. In this article, we share how to check if your car is insured for free and what to do if you don't have car insurance.
How can I check if my car is insured?
Checking if your vehicle is insured is relatively simple, all you need to do is visit askMID - the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) website - and enter your registration number. This will then notify you if the vehicle you have searched is showing as insured on the Motor Insurance Database (MID). Checking if your car is insured is free but if you are unsure as to who the car insurance provider is, you may incur a small fee to request additional data from the database. We explain more on how to do that below.
If your vehicle is not showing as insured on the database it could be that the insurance policy has only recently been purchased and so it may take a little while for the database to update. If your car insurance details still aren't showing on the MID you will need to contact your car insurance provider as soon as possible, this also applies if the details showing are incorrect.
How to find out your car insurance company
If you can't remember which company you insured your car with there are a few things that you can do to try and find the insurer including:
- Check old emails for quotes, policy confirmation emails or a policy number
- Look around the house for policy documents and phone the insurer to check if you're still insured
- Request your data from the Motor Insurance Database but this may come at a small additional cost
How to check if a car is taxed
If you are unsure if your car is insured you may also be wondering if your car is taxed. If you have missed any of the tax reminders or don't know when your car is due to be taxed you can check your car's tax status on the Gov.uk website. All you need is the vehicle's registration number and once the car's details are confirmed you will be able to see the tax and MOT status of the vehicle. If you have just purchased the vehicle and it was taxed by the previous owner you will still need to tax the vehicle as car tax is no longer transferable between owners. However, there are some instances where tax is not required on a vehicle and more information on exemptions can be found here.
How to check if a car has an MOT
If you do not know when your vehicle is due an MOT you can find out by checking a vehicle's tax status on the Gov.uk website or alternatively, you can check the MOT history of the vehicle, which also tells you when the current MOT expires.
You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving without a valid MOT, unless you can prove that you are driving the vehicle to get its MOT test. If your MOT has expired you should get it booked in as soon as possible as you cannot renew the tax on a vehicle if your MOT has expired.
Most vehicles don't need an MOT certificate until they are at least three years old and some vehicles - such as tractors - don't need an MOT altogether.
What happens if you don’t have car insurance?
Driving without car insurance is illegal in the UK and you could get up to 6 points on your driving licence and a £300 fine if you are caught driving on public roads without insurance. This includes if you are caught in an insured vehicle that you are not insured to drive. There are some instances where a vehicle does not need to be insured such as when a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been submitted. If your vehicle has been registered as SORN you need to ensure it is kept off the road. If you choose not to insure your SORN vehicle, you need to remember that if it is damaged or stolen it will not be covered.
To ensure you remember to renew your car insurance you can make a note of your car insurance renewal date in your phone calendar or set your policy to auto-renew. However, one thing to consider if you do choose to auto-renew your car insurance is that it may not be the cheapest deal available.
How to buy car insurance
If you need a new car insurance policy or you need to renew your policy, one of the best ways to do this is via a comparison site. Comparison sites compare multiple car insurance providers at once which can be an easier way to compare numerous policies. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare cheap quotes from over 110 UK car insurance providers. Not all comparison sites cover the entire market though, and some insurers don't feature on comparison sites, which means that you may be able to get a cheaper deal elsewhere.
You could also use an insurance broker to find a car insurance policy but like comparison sites, these are not always whole of market and may charge a commission fee which could make your premium more expensive. Shopping around when looking for a car insurance policy is a great way to try and save money, but there are also a few additional tips that can help you to try and keep the cost of your premium low. Find out more in our article, 'How to get cheap car insurance'.
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