If you’re not sure whether your car’s insured, you’re not alone. In the UK, the question ‘Is my car insured?’ is searched for over 90,500 times a month – more than a million times a year.
That’s pretty alarming considering it’s illegal to drive without car insurance. In our eyes, it’s one of the biggest tell-tale signs that the car insurance industry is way too complex.
That’s why we’re on a mission to make car insurance radically better.
It’s illegal to drive a car without at least third-party car insurance. This is because you need to have a basic level of cover in place in case you have an accident.
If you get caught driving without insurance the police could give you a fixed penalty of £300 plus 6 points on your licence.
There’s also a chance you could end up in court, get an unlimited fine, and be banned from driving.
Put simply: if you break the law, you’ll pay the price.
The only way you can keep an uninsured car is if you declare your car ‘off the road’ with a Statutory Off Road Notice, known as SORN.
If you keep an uninsured car without a SORN, you’re breaking the law (even if the car’s just sitting in the garage).
This is because the Government introduced a new law called Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) in 2011. They did this to crack down on uninsured motorists.
CIE means all vehicles have to be insured at all times, unless they’re SORN - so don’t get caught out!
You can find out if your car is insured by checking the Motor Insurance Database (MID).
It’s easy and free to check. You just have to put your registration number into the MID search tool, which is called AskMID. (You’ll have to declare you’re authorised to drive the car.)
Be careful though - you can only check your car. It’s an offense to obtain information about another car, so don’t let your curiosity get the best of you.
If your car has valid insurance, it should show up in the results.
The MID is a central record of all insured vehicles in the UK. The police and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) use it to identify uninsured vehicles and enforce laws around motor insurance.
When you buy car insurance, the insurance company has to add a record of this to the MID. It’s illegal for them not to. So if your car’s insured, it’ll be on the database.
If you’re totally sure your car’s insured but it’s not showing up on the MID, you should ask your insurer straight away. It might be that they’ve made a mistake. The same goes if you notice your details are wrong on the MID.
When you buy insurance (especially short-term insurance!), your details might not show up in the MID for about a week. That’s the time it can take for records to be updated.
But don’t worry - your car is still legally insured even if it isn’t on the MID yet.
If you’re not sure who your insurance provider is, you can ask for this information from the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). (The MIB manages the Motor Insurance Database).
You do this by filling out a ‘Data Subject Access Request’. It’ll cost you £4.
Another way to find out who your insurer is is to search your emails and bank statements.
You should have a record of the policy somewhere, like a confirmation email from when you bought it.
When you search through bank transactions, watch out for any company names that are unfamiliar too.
Some insurance companies are owned by a larger umbrella company. So your car insurance payments might not be to a brand name you expect.
If you find out that your car’s uninsured you have two options:
An important side note: Your SORN will kick in straight away unless you use a V11 reference number and apply for the SORN online or by post.
In this case, the SORN won’t kick in until the first day of the next month. So you’ll have to get temporary car insurance until the date.
At Cuvva, we don’t think car insurance should be anywhere near as confusing as it is. So we’ve created a different kind of car insurance altogether.
Our monthly car insurance means you can pay as you go and cancel at any time – without a fee. We also Smart Pricing, where the better you drive, the less you pay. And our temporary car insurance can be taken out on an hourly, daily or weekly basis, with easy extensions from your phone.
Ready for radically better car insurance?
Download the Cuvva app and get started.