Worried you no longer have valid car insurance? Read our guide and discover the simple steps you can take to see whether you have valid insurance for your car.
If you can’t remember whether you have car insurance or not, it’s probably not a good idea to drive until you’ve checked. Driving without car insurance is illegal in the UK and can cause a whole host of problems. Read our guide to discover how to check if you have valid car insurance and how you could save on your next car cover policy.
How can I check if my car is insured?
If there’s any doubt in your mind as to whether you have insurance or not, the simplest way to check is by visiting the Motor Insurance Database (MID) website and conducting a free online search by entering your car’s registration number. Every vehicle that is insured in the UK is listed on this database so you should be able to find out if your car is insured or not within seconds. The MID should also confirm the make and model of your car but that’s all that will be provided. To find out the specifics about the actual insurance provider or the policy, you will be requested to pay a small fee of around £4.
It might be worth checking your emails to see if you have an email with the policy documents attached or perhaps a confirmation or renewal email. It’s also worth checking in your spam and junk folders as there could be a chance these emails have winded up in there by mistake.
It might also be worth you checking your bank and any credit card statements to see if a payment or direct debit is being made to an insurance company. Once you have the insurance provider’s name, you can then contact the provider directly, giving your personal details and information about the car to confirm cover.
What if my car is uninsured?
It is illegal to drive your car on UK roads without at least third party car insurance cover. All drivers must insure their cars at all times as detailed in the Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation, which has been enforced since 2011.
If you knowingly or unknowingly drive your car without cover, you could face a fixed penalty of £300 and 6-8 points on your driver’s licence.
In the event of driving without insurance, the police has the power to seize your vehicle and even destroy it in some circumstances.
Are there any exceptions?
If your car isn’t currently being used and is actually stored away in somewhere like a garage, you won’t need to insure or even tax it but you’ll need to legally declare your vehicle as being off the road. The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) refers to this as statutory off road notification or “SORN”.
Will I get a criminal record for driving without insurance?
If you are caught driving without car insurance and your case goes to court, you could be banned from driving and have to deal with an unlimited fine. A motoring conviction of this nature is known as an IN10 and will remain on your licence for four years from the actual date of the offence being discovered. You’ll also have to disclose this conviction with any insurance provider for five years from the date of the offence being discovered, which is likely to mean much higher premiums.
An IN10 could really scupper your ability to get car insurance in the future, let alone policies with lower premiums, so it is best to avoid driving without insurance at all costs.
How can I save money on a new car insurance policy?
- Choose a cover level that suits you. Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive cover can be cheaper than third party (TP) or third party, fire and theft so it’s always worth checking. This is because of the risk profile of many people who typically get TP.
- Increase security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
- Have a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
- Limit your mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
- Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
- Add experienced drivers. Adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy could help to lower the premium.
- Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
- Advanced driving skills. You could be in line for a discount with certain providers by taking an advanced driving course such as those offered by the Pass Plus scheme.
- Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
- Pick a smaller car. Choosing to drive a small and safe car is likely to lower your premium.
- Limit modifications. Any modification made to your car to make it look better or drive faster is likely to increase your premiums so think carefully before making any changes.
- Consider telematics insurance. Having a “black box” fitted to your car to monitor your driving could result in discounts if you drive safely.
- Shop around. Don’t choose to automatically renew your car insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need. Shop around and compare your options to find the best deal. Keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best policy so check the cover details carefully.
Frequently asked questions
*Disclaimer: Please take reasonable care to answer all the questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t answer the questions correctly, your policy may be cancelled, or your claim rejected or not fully paid.
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