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Last updated: 13 September 2021
Car insurance is a legal requirement, so it is important to know your vehicle is insured at all times; sometimes it can be confusing to remember who you are insured with and whether your insurance is still valid. Read our useful guide and find out how to work out if your car has valid insurance.
How do I find out if my car is insured?
Finding out whether your car is insured is quick and easy. All you need to do is to go onto the Motor Insurance Database (MID) and check if your vehicle is on the list. It will require you to enter the registration number of the vehicle you wish to check. The search is free to use and will inform you whether the vehicle is insured, as well as the make and model. The MID is the UK's central record for all motor insurance and holds information for every car on the road in the UK. The police even use the MID to identify uninsured vehicles.
I forgot which company I insured my car with
Unfortunately, the MID does not contain information of who your car is insured with. If you discover that your car is insured but can't remember who your insurance provider is there are a number of ways you can find out. Make sure you check your email inbox for any correspondence you may have had with an insurance company. You can also check your bank statements or credit card statements to find out which insurance providers you have been paying. Once you have found potential providers, give them a call to confirm that they provide your car insurance. If you are struggling to find this information, then you can ask for a Subject Access Request from the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB). This may require you to pay a small administrative cost, but they will be able to find out who your insurer is.
What if I don’t have car insurance?
It is illegal to own a car that does not have insurance in the UK. You should certainly not drive a car that is not insured as you could face severe financial and legal penalties. If you are caught driving an uninsured vehicle on a public road, you could get a £300 and receive six penalty points. This punishment could be even more severe if you are involved in an accident or if you are taken to court. If this happens you will also struggle to find cheap car insurance deals in the future.
Even if you do not plan on driving your car on public roads, or you have a car that is not roadworthy, you are still required to declare your car to be off the road to the DVLA. To do this you need a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) for the vehicle. This is because of Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation that was introduced to clamp down on uninsured drivers. Even if you aren't using your car, you could still get a penalty if you do not have insurance or a SORN for your vehicle.
The only other exemption from car insurance is if your vehicle has been reported stolen or declared as scrapped.
How do I find cheaper car insurance?
If you discover that you have a car that is uninsured, or you wish to find a cheaper car insurance policy than the one you currently have, then there a few things you can do to save money:
- Increase security – cars that are more secure will be cheaper to insure. For example, a car kept in a locked garage will be cheaper to insure than one kept on a public road.
- Choose your car carefully – smaller, less powerful cars tend to be cheaper to insure.
- Think about how you use your car – if you use your car regularly to commute or for business then your insurer will put the premiums up. It's also worth checking out business car insurance policies, as you could be saving money.
- Choose the right type of policy – third-party cover isn't always cheaper than comprehensive cover. Make sure you have compared plenty of insurance policies before choosing the right one for you.
- Switch providers – if your car insurance is due for renewal, we suggest the best time to switch providers is three weeks before your renewal date. Younger drivers are likely to benefit especially from this as they will probably be paying higher insurance prices already.
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