Our guide explains how to run a car insurance check to find out if your car is insured
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 £1,000 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 to check if your car is insured
If you haven’t knowingly purchased an insurance policy for your car, the chances are it’s not insured. Car insurance is not 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 previously bought an insurance policy for your car and are not sure if you’re still covered, it’s 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.
Run a car insurance check
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 are 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 insurers must be members of the 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.