How to check your car insurance

You probably know how important it is that your car is insured. Driving without insurance is a punishable offence that can land you with a hefty fine and six points on your license if you’re caught out.

But if you took out your insurance policy a while ago, how do you know when it’s going to expire — or if it’s even still valid?

We’ve put together this simple guide to finding out everything you need to know about your car insurance, from who you’re insured with to when you’re due to renew.

How to check whether your car is insured

The first thing you should do to check whether your car is insured is read through your insurance documentation. All legitimate insurers will send you insurance documents that contain the key details you need: that is, the cost, the details of the car insured, and the duration of the policy. It’ll probably include a renewal date too.

If you don’t have your insurance documents to hand, you can check if your car is currently insured by visiting the Motor Insurance Database (MID) instead. Here, you can simply enter your car’s registration plate details and the MID will tell you if the vehicle is insured, as well as the make and model. 

If you’ve recently purchased your car insurance, it may take up to two weeks for this to be updated on the MID.

If you’ve taken out insurance recently

If you’ve just taken out a car insurance policy but can’t find it on the MID, don’t panic. While the database is updated often, there’s sometimes a delay between buying or renewing a policy and seeing it online. Check again in a few days.

If your insurance still isn’t registered with the MID, get in touch with your provider.


How to find out when your car insurance expires

If it’s been a while since you insured your vehicle, it’s important to find out the end date of your insurance policy. If your insurance doesn’t automatically renew, you could be driving an uninsured car without realising.

In most cases, car insurance policies last for 12 months. If you know when you took out your policy, your renewal period will likely be the same time the following year.

If you don’t know when you took out your insurance policy, check your insurance documentation. This will include the renewal date of your policy; if it’s passed and you aren’t on an auto-renewal plan, your insurance has expired.

If you’re still struggling to find the confirmation details, you should give your provider a call. Most insurance providers will just need a few details from you — like your name and car registration number — to quickly check for you.

How to check which insurer you’re with

Not sure who you’ve taken out your car insurance policy with? Luckily, there are a few quick ways you can find out.

  • Search your emails — If you don’t have your insurance documents to hand, this is probably the easiest and quickest way to check who your insurance is with. When you first took out your policy, your provider probably sent you an email confirming the details. Search your inbox for terms like ‘car insurance policy’.
  • Check your bank statements — If you’re still insured (which you’ll know from checking the MID), you should have monthly payments coming out of your current account to your insurance provider, unless you took out an annual policy. Check your Direct Debits to see who you’re making your insurance payments to.
  • Lodge a Subject Access Request — If you still can’t find your insurance details after checking your bank statements and emails, you can submit a Subject Access Request to the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) to find out who your car insurance policy is with. Please note that you may need to pay a fee to do so.

How to find out if your insurance will renew automatically

If it’s been more than 12 months since you took out your insurance policy and the MID says you’re insured, it’s possible that your policy has renewed automatically.

If this is the case, your insurance providers legally obliged to contact your prior to renewal in a reasonable time. This should be no later than 14 days before your renewal date. They’ll notify you by post, email, or most likely both.

While having your policy automatically renew is convenient, it’s often more expensive for you. It’s always a good idea to get quotes from a range of providers during your renewal period so you can find a suitable price on a policy that meets your current needs.

Can I let my car insurance expire if I’ve taken my car off the road?

If you don’t need car insurance anymore because you’ve taken your car off the road, you’ll need to register a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) on the government’s website.

Until your car is SORN, it needs to remain insured. Otherwise, you’ll be breaking the law.

You can check whether your vehicle is currently registered as SORN by using the government’s car checking service.

What to do if you’re not insured

If you don’t have a car insurance policy in place and your vehicle isn’t SORN, you’ll need to get one right away.

At Swinton Insurance, we compare car insurance quotes from our panel of insurance providers to find you a suitable policy. You can choose from three levels of car insurance cover and add extra cover such as Breakdown Cover or Protected No Claims Discount where you need it.

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