It is a legal requirement to have at least third-party insurance if you intend to drive or park your vehicle on public roads in the UK. Your vehicle must also have a valid MOT ensuring it is road-worthy. If your car insurance has unknowingly run out or your car is not insured you are breaking the law and could receive a fine and points on your licence. In this article, we explain how to check if your car is insured, what happens if you are not insured and how to buy car insurance if your policy has run out.
How to check if your car is insured
If you are unsure as to whether your vehicle is insured you can check it using the Motor Insurance Database (MID). When using the site you will be required to enter the vehicle's registration number and will be shown whether the vehicle appears on the Motor Insurance Database. In some cases, a vehicle may not show up on the database straight away particularly if you have only just renewed or taken out a policy.
How to check your car insurance provider
The motor insurance database only shows whether your vehicle is insured and does not tell you which insurer you are with. Therefore if you are unsure as to who your car insurance provider is, you could try the following:
- Check bank statements and emails - You could try to identify your car insurance provider by checking your bank account or statements for any recent payments. Usually, you can tell who the insurer is by checking the payment details and you can call the company to find out the insurance policy details. Alternatively, you could search the term 'car insurance' in your email inbox and you may be able to find a confirmation email or policy documents from when you first bought your policy.
- Check comparison sites for quotes - If you bought your insurance policy via a comparison site you can log in to your online account to see any previous quotes history.
- Request your insurance history - You can submit a 'Data Subject Access Request' with the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) which can provide details of your insurer but you will need to submit this request by downloading a form from the MIB website and providing proof of your identity.
When does my car insurance run out?
If you do not know your car insurance renewal date you can contact your provider to find out when your car insurance policy expires. If you are unsure who your car insurance provider is, you can follow the steps above to try and find out. It is common for car insurance providers to notify you before your renewal date with an updated renewal price so you should receive contact from your existing car insurance provider when your renewal date is close. If you don't get in contact with your car insurance provider, your car insurance policy may auto-renew for another year. However, if your policy is close to renewal, it is a good time to check if you are getting the best price. A quick way to do this is by using a comparison site such as Quotezone* to search multiple insurers at once.
What happens if I don't have car insurance?
If you are not insured you will not be covered if you are involved in an accident or if your vehicle is damaged. It is a criminal offence to drive on a public road without car insurance in the UK and doing so could result in a fixed penalty fine of £300 and 6 penalty points on your licence. Third-party car insurance is the legal minimum requirement in the UK but there are more comprehensive policies which we explain in our article, 'What are the different types of car insurance?'
There are some cases when you don't need car insurance, but that is only if you have declared your vehicle as off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). If you declare your vehicle as SORN your car must be stored away from public roads and will not be insured if your vehicle is damaged or stolen. For more information, read our article 'Is car insurance mandatory in the UK?'
How to buy car insurance
If you need to take out a new car insurance policy, one of the best ways to do it is via a comparison site. This is because comparison sites allow you to compare multiple insurance policies at once to find the cheapest deal for you. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare cheap quotes from over 110 UK car insurance providers. Before comparing quotes, you should however consider that not all comparison sites are whole of market and some insurers don't feature on comparison sites. This may mean you could get a cheaper quote elsewhere directly with an insurer.
When shopping for a new car insurance policy there are a few things that you should consider that could save you money on your policy including paying the policy annually or considering telematics insurance. For ways to save money on your car insurance policy, read our article 'How to get cheap car insurance'.
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