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Is my car insured? How to run a car insurance check

Is my car insured? How to run a car insurance check

Our guide explains how to run a car insurance check to find out if your car is insured.

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If you're not sure if you have car insurance and you need to know whether your car or van is insured, then there are a number of ways you can check whether you have vehicle insurance cover in place.

What happens if my car is not insured?

It's really important to check your car insurance status, because it's a serious criminal offence to drive if your car isn't insured.

Under UK law, it's illegal to drive a vehicle on a road or in a public place without at least third party insurance. You need to have current car insurance for yourself, as even if the vehicle itself is insured, you could be prosecuted if you're not insured to drive it yourself.

There are serious penalties for uninsured drivers, which is why it is so important to check if your car is insured either with your insurance company or via an insurance checker. Also to check your own car insurance status to be sure you're legally allowed to drive it.

Otherwise, if the police find you are driving without insurance, they could give you a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points on your driving licence.

In the worst case, you could end up going to court and face an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving. The police are also allowed to seize, and in some cases, destroy the vehicle that is being driven uninsured.

So it's very important that you do a car insurance check and check your vehicle is insured. You can do this online or by contacting your insurer.

Is my car insured?

What insurance do I need?

Since continuous insurance enforcement (CIE) came into force in the UK in 2011, all cars must have a minimum of third party insurance cover to be road-legal. So even if a car is not being used, it either needs to be insured or subject to a statutory off-road notification (SORN).

If you don’t have insurance, you’re risking a fine and prosecution — so if you’re not sure whether your car is insured, it’s important you find out as soon as possible.

How do I check that my car is insured?

If you haven't knowingly purchased an insurance policy for your car, the chances are it's not insured.

Car insurance isn't transferrable when cars are sold, so you're required to take out your own policy when buying a car. Some car dealers will offer ‘driveaway insurance’ when you buy a new car — this will cover you for a limited period (usually up to a week) until you purchase your own car insurance policy.

If you’re still not sure whether your car is insured, you can check the Motor Insurer’s Database (MID) online. You just need the car’s registration number and must declare that you're the owner or registered keeper of the car.

The MID is the only centralised database of motor insurance policy information for all insured vehicles, and is also used by the police to run car insurance checks. All insurance companies must be members of the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) and are required to add all policies to the database. It’s updated around the clock, 365 days per year, but may not be updated immediately. So if you’ve just purchased an insurance policy your car may not appear on the database straight away.

The car insurance database shows the car is covered — so can I drive it?

If your car insurance check shows the car is insured, it doesn’t mean anyone can drive it. Insurance policies cover drivers rather than cars, so you’ll need your own car insurance policy (or to be added as a named driver) before you get behind the wheel.

Did my car insurance renew automatically – how do I check my car insurance?

If you previously bought an insurance policy for your car and are not sure if you are still covered, it is possible that your policy has renewed automatically.

Most insurers will send you a renewal notice and automatically renew your cover if you don’t take any action. If you think this might be the case, you can find out by contacting your insurer or checking your bank statements to see if any payments have been collected in the past 12 months.

If you want to know who the car is insured with then you could check recent documents from your car insurer, or give them a ring to find out if they have sent you car insurance documents by post or email which may have gone astray. This will also tell you your car insurance expiry date if you do have a policy, so that you can make a note of when you need to renew your car or van insurance in the future.

This will enable you to shop around for car insurance in good time so that you can make sure you get the best quotes for car insurance and not leave it until the last minute to check your car insurance and risk a fine.

Is my car taxed and has an MOT?

Even if you take the steps to insure your car correctly, also make sure you have road tax and a valid MOT.

You can check if a car is taxed and has a valid MOT certificate by using the government website. You can find out if a vehicle has up-to-date vehicle tax or has been registered as off the road (SORN).

You can use the government’s Vehicle Enquiry Service (VES) online that has been developed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

This free DVLA car check is a handy way to see if you own car tax and MOT is up to date, and also to check the status of a car that you are thinking of buying.

You will be asked to enter the registration number of the vehicle. The result will tell you whether the car has been taxed, and when the tax expires. It will also show whether the car has had a valid MOT test, and when the next MOT test is due. It also gives the vehicle make and when it was first registered.

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