How to check the status of your vehicle insurance
It is illegal to drive on the UK’s public roads without car insurance, so if you’re unsure whether yours is up to date, it’s a good idea to check your coverage.
The simplest way to verify your car or van’s insurance status in the UK is by consulting TotalCarCheck.
- How to determine if your car is insured
- What documentation is required to check car insurance?
- How to determine your car insurance provider
- Determining your car insurance expiry date
- What to do if your car is uninsured
- Driving without car insurance
How to determine if your car is insured
The most straightforward way to perform a vehicle insurance check is by entering your reg in the search box at TotalCarCheck and then tapping on the ‘Click to Check’ button. This will bring up a lot of details about the vehicle – including a display of the make, model, and colour of the vehicle to confirm its identity.
TotalCarCheck provides a lot of valuable information for free, but if you’re looking for the complete picture of your vehicle – or have any concerns – you should think about paying for the ‘Gold’ or ‘Silver’ service. This gives you a comprehensive breakdown of vehicle checks – including write-off checks, outstanding finance checks, logbook loan checks, and salvage history checks. If you’re thinking about buying a used car or van, it is essential to make these checks to understand the history of the vehicle.
However, when it comes to checking your insurance status, TotalCarCheck directs you to the Motor Insurance Database which contains a record of all insured vehicles in the UK. Simply scroll down the page to the ‘Insurance’ heading – then tap on the ‘Check if it’s insured’ link. This will automatically copy the reg plate info you’ve input in TotalCarCheck and will transfer it to the Motor Insurance Database, where you can conduct a free search to see if a vehicle holds a valid insurance policy.
What documentation is required to check car insurance?
You do not need any specific documents to check if your car insurance is up-to-date.
Once you’ve entered your car’s reg number into the search bar on the Motor Insurance Database (MID), it will give you a simple yes/no answer as to whether or not the vehicle is currently insured.
How to determine your car insurance provider
If you’ve confirmed your insurance coverage, but are still unable to recall your insurance provider, there are several methods you could employ in order to identify the details of your live policy:
- Search your email inbox: Look for emails containing the keywords ‘car insurance’ to find recent messages or PDF certificates from an insurance provider related to your vehicle
- Review your bank statements: Check your bank account or credit card statements for payments made to an insurance provider.
- Retrieve old quotes: If you used a comparison website when you were choosing your insurance, try accessing an old quote to jog your memory
Submit a data subject access request: Contact the MID to request your insurance provider’s name. This process typically involves a small fee to confirm your identity and address
Determining your car insurance expiry date
Many car insurance policies renew automatically, ensuring continuous coverage – unless you choose to cancel, or if there have been payment disruptions, such as a change of credit or debit card. While this convenience can appeal to some, it might also result in higher costs. It is always advisable to compare quotes before renewing – to ensure you’re still receiving the best deal.
You should be able to find your car insurance renewal date on your policy documents or insurance certificate. If these documents are lost, contact your insurer directly or access your online insurance account for information. Your insurance provider will notify you before the renewal date, allowing you to explore other quotes for potential cost savings.
If you used a comparison website to help you choose your insurer, most platforms allow you to set up reminders before the renewal date, allowing you time to review and search for the best car insurance deals currently available.
What to do if your car is uninsured
If you discover via TotalCarCheck that your car or van is not insured, it’s essential to obtain coverage immediately. Driving without vehicle insurance on public roads in the UK is illegal and can lead to severe penalties, including:
- A fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points on your driver’s licence
- Vehicle seizure by the police, with potential destruction in certain cases
- Disqualification from driving and the possibility of an unlimited fine if the case goes to court
Even if the car itself is insured, you must have insurance in your name if you are to drive it legally.
If the car does not belong to you, to drive it on public roads, you must either be listed as a named driver by the policyholder, or you will need to consider temporary car insurance options.
Driving without car insurance
Under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme, your car or van must be insured unless it is officially declared off the road with a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN). As the registered owner, you can be held accountable for the vehicle’s lack of insurance, even if you’re not the one driving it.
There are few situations in which car insurance is not required, but these exceptions apply only if you are no longer driving the car:
- Between registered keepers: If the car is in transition between owners, you are not responsible for insuring it. However, once you become the registered keeper, you must ensure it has proper insurance coverage
- Car written-off, scrapped, or stolen: In the event of any of these circumstances, notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and your insurance provider promptly
If none of the above is true, you must ensure your car or van’s insurance coverage is in your name and up-to-date to drive it legally on public roads in the UK.