Is my car insured?

If you’ve mislaid your certificate of motor insurance, there are various ways to check if your car is insured and the terms and status of your insurance.

Andrew Hagger

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If you’ve mislaid your car insurance documents or email confirmation, you won't know for certain when your policy expires and renews. If you don't compare before the renewal date, the policy automatically restarts and the insurer can charge you more for the same cover.

It could take longer claim because you don't have easy access to your policy.

If you need to claim or update your details, you need your policy number. It's printed on your documents or recorded in your email purchase confirmation, along with the renewal date.

To regain access to your account, your insurer will usually ask you a series of security questions if you can't find your policy number.

If you can't remember who your insurer is, check your emails or bank statements to track down its name. Call up, explain the situation and get back into your account.

Key points

  • You can check if your car is insured using your number plate and the Motor Insurance Database (MID)
  • Lost certificates of motor insurance can be replaced for a charge
  • If you keep your car in a driveway or garage, you’ll need a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), or you’ll have to insure it

How do I check if my car is insured?

If you can’t find your car insurance policy or any associated papers, there’s a quick and easy way to check whether your vehicle’s insured.

Enter your car registration details on askMID to run a quick check against the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

It’s a free service and you’ll know within seconds if your vehicle is covered or not.

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

If you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver

You can also use the askMID service if you’ve been in an accident, and you think the other party isn’t insured. There’s a small fee for making the enquiry, and you’ll need their number plate, but you’ll see all the policy details you’d need to start a claim.

You’ll get a fine if you’re caught without insurance

Check your insurance is still in date and hasn’t expired without you realising. The consequences of driving without it are severe.

You’re legally required to have car insurance. If you don’t have insurance for your vehicle you could be fined £300 and end up with six penalty points on your licence. If you’re taken to court the fine is unlimited, and you could be banned from driving.

Your insurance premiums will go up in the future too – you’ll have to declare any points or convictions to future insurers, and they’ll put your premiums up because of them.

When it’s okay to not have insurance

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

You need to declare your car as off road (SORN) with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency first.

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

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:

  1. Looking through your online bank and credit card statements will help you track down the company

  2. Search your email inbox for ‘car insurance’

  3. Give your provider a call or drop them an email via the ‘contact us’ section of their website, explaining your situation

  4. If you can’t find your current insurance certificate then you can request a duplicate from your insurer, but it might charge you for it

  5. Once you do get your hands on your replacement certificate, keep it somewhere safe

  6. Take a photocopy of your insurance certificate and keep it in your car glove box, or just take a picture on your phone - that way you can get your hands on it quickly if needs be

Replace your insurance documents

78% of policies charge less than £10, but 6% charge more than £20 to replace your insurance documents - so keep them safe!

According to 363 comprehensive car insurance policies listed on Defaqto.[1]

Auto-renewal comes at a cost

If you're insured, set a reminder in your diary for when your insurance is up to avoid auto-renewal. It's where your insurer automatically renews your contract with them.

It’s convenient but usually comes at a cost. Sometimes they’ll charge you more for sticking with them, even if nothing’s changed on your policy.

Take matters into your own hands - compare prices when your car insurance is due and see if you can get a better deal.

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[1]Last checked 27 August 2019

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