Is my car insured?

If you’ve mislaid your certificate of motor insurance, there are various ways to check if your car's insured and who your insurer is.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 24 July 2023  | 4 mins read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

Information on this page was reviewed by our fact-checkers before it was published. Learn more about our fact checking process and our editorial guidelines.

Key points

  • Check whether your car's insured by entering your number plate into the Motor Insurance Database (MID)
  • Lost certificates of motor insurance can be replaced, usually for a charge
  • If your car will be off the road you can apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) - otherwise, you’ll need insurance

How to check your car insurance status

Check the askMID database

If you can’t find your car insurance policy documents, you can enter your registration details on askMID to check the Motor Insurance Database (MID). It’s free and you’ll know within seconds whether your car is covered or not.

Run by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau, the MID is a central record containing information on all cars that are insured in the UK. It’s used by insurers, the police and the Driver and

Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to check that vehicles driven on UK roads are insured.

Insurers and insurance brokers update the MID with details about the vehicles they’re insuring.

However, if you discover any of the details about your car are wrong, the MID can’t update them for you – you’ll need to contact your insurer.

Check your policy documents

The documents sent by your insurer should state the start and end date of your cover, along with your policy number.

If you can’t find any paper documents, look through your emails. Your insurer may have sent you confirmation about your cover this way. And if you’re still struggling to find the information, don't forget to look through your deleted, junk and spam folders.

Contact your insurer

Your current insurer will have all the information about your policy. But if you don’t know who your current insurer is, your previous provider might have some details about who you transferred to.

Check your bank or credit card statements

Look for payments to an insurance company, then you could try and contact them for more information.

Does my car insurance renew automatically?

Yes, your policy will usually auto-renew on the policy end date, unless you’ve specifically asked your insurer not to.

Autorenewal can be convenient, as it stops you from accidentally being uninsured – but it can also cost you. You may be paying more than you need to by sticking with your current insurer rather than switching.

Your insurer will send you a letter approximately four weeks before the end date of your policy to let you know it’s due for renewal, and to ask whether you want to cancel.

Even if your policy does auto-renew, you’ll have a 14-day cooling-off period during which you can cancel it. Although you may be charged a fee.

It’s a good idea to set a reminder in your diary for when your insurance ends to avoid auto-renewal. This will give you time to take matters into your own hands – compare car insurance and see if you can get a better deal.

What if my car doesn't have insurance?

Check your insurance is still in date and hasn’t expired without you realising.

Driving without insurance is illegal and the consequences could be severe.

  1. You’ll get a fine

    The fixed penalty for driving without insurance is £300[1]. If you’re taken to court the fine is unlimited.

  2. You’ll get points on your licence

    On top of the fine, you’ll get six penalty points on your licence.

  3. You could be banned from driving

    If it goes to court or you’re a repeat offender, you could lose your licence.

  4. You could have your vehicle seized

    It could even by destroyed.

  5. Your insurance premiums will go up

    You’ll have to declare any points or convictions to future insurers, and your premiums will rise.

Can I keep my car on my driveway without insurance?

Yes. If you don’t drive your car and you keep it either in your garage or on your driveway, you don’t need to insure it.

But you’ll need to get a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) from the DVLA first.

If you don’t you could be fined £100, get taken to court, or have your car destroyed.

How can I check if my car is taxed and has an mot?

  1. Visit the government vehicle tax checker and use our MOT checker to see when your MOT is due.

  2. Look for your most recent MOT certificate.

  3. Check the government hasn’t sent you a letter or an email – it'll do this when your tax is due.

What you can do if you’ve lost your insurance details

If you’ve checked the MID and found that you’re covered, it’s then a case of tracking down who your insurer is:

  • Look through your bank and credit card statements to track down the insurance company or search your email inbox.
  • Contact your insurer and explain the situation.
  • If you can’t find your current insurance certificate, you’ll be able to get a copy of it from your insurer, but you might be charged.
  • Once you have your policy documents, put them somewhere safe or take a picture of it on your phone so you can access it quickly if you need to.

Replacing your insurance documents

Out of 325 comprehensive car insurance policies listed on Defaqto, 86% don't charge a fee, but 7% charge £15 or more to replace your insurance documents – so keep them safe![2]

Frequently asked questions

You can drive someone else’s car if you’re a named driver on their policy. But if you’re not, check whether your policy has a driving other cars (DOC) clause - this allows you to drive someone else’s car with their permission without being a named driver.

But be aware that DOC cover generally only provides third party cover, rather than the fully comprehensive cover you might get with your own policy.

You’ll need to be insured from the moment you drive your new car. Even if taking it home only involves driving a couple of miles.

If you can’t get full car insurance organised in time, you can buy temporary car insurance to cover you in the interim. Some dealerships include this with the car to cover your drive home, so it’s worth checking first.

While it’s possible your insurer could cancel your policy, they should let you know this is happening beforehand and give you enough notice to find cover elsewhere.

There are several reasons why your policy might get cancelled, including not paying your premiums or failing to disclose important information.

A cancelled policy is likely to make it harder for you to get insurance in the future. But if you think it’s been wrongly cancelled, contact your insurer. If you’re not happy with the outcome, you can make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

Unless you’re only driving on private land without any public access, which is unlikely, you’ll need at least third party only insurance.

In the UK, you’re legally required to have insurance to drive your car on a public road or to park it on the street.

The police can instantly check whether your car’s insured using the MID and number plate recognition cameras. If you’re caught driving while uninsured, you’ll face a minimum £300 fine and six penalty points on your licence.

Whether you can pause your cover will be up to your insurer, but many won’t give you this option. If putting your cover on hold is possible, you’ll usually need to pay a fee and then another to restart your cover again - so make sure you factor in this cost.

There are a few other options you could also consider, such as:

  • Cancelling your policy - If you cancel your cover, you’ll have to make a SORN. But this means you’ll no longer be covered for risks like fire, theft and vandalism.
  • Choosing laid up cover - If you’ll be taking your car off the road for a prolonged period, perhaps for repairs or restoration, this will still give you protection but it’ll cost less than full cover.
  • Reducing your level of cover - To save money on your car insurance, you could consider reducing your level of cover from fully comprehensive to third party, fire and theft (although this isn’t always cheaper).

See if you can save on your car insurance

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Page last reviewed: 26 July 2023

Reviewed by: Jasmine Hembury

[2]Last checked 3 January 2023