The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

Is my car insured checklist

Want cheap car insurance? Compare quotes from over 160 providers
In partnership with

Did you know that it’s illegal to drive an uninsured car? In the UK, it’s mandatory to insure your vehicle before heading out on the road. Even a cheap car insurance policy can help protect you and other drivers from any financial costs incurred should you ever find yourself involved in a car crash. If you need to check if your car is insured you can use the free and straightforward Motor Insurance Database (MID).

How to check if my car is insured

To check if your car is insured, all you need to do is obtain your registration number and then search for it in the Motor Insurance Database (MID). The MID is a national database of all the cars insured in the UK. 

It’s completely free to search the MID database. It will tell you whether your car has a valid car insurance policy. The information you receive will be limited to a yes or no answer – it won’t show any of your insurance details. 

You can also get information from your insurance provider. If you know who your car is insured by, you can log in to your account via your provider’s website. This will show you details relating to when you took out the policy and when you need to renew.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes
Compare quotes from over 160 providers to find the best deal
In partnership with MoneySuperMarket

How to check if a car is insured with a specific provider

The MID doesn’t reveal which provider you’re insured with. If you’ve discovered that you’re insured via the database, but are not sure who with, there are a few ways to work out which provider your insurance policy is with. 

To find out who you’re insured with:

  1. Check your personal email. Look out for any emails relating to car insurance. 
  2. Check bank or credit card statements to look for a provider’s name.
  3. Use the MID site to submit a data subject access request.

How long is my car insured for?

Car insurance policies need to be renewed and kept up to date. Typically, customers take out annual policies that are to be renewed yearly. If you’re unsure how long is left on your current policy you can check the following. 

The checks should involve: 

  • Checking your policy documents for a renewal or end-of-contract date
  • Contact your provider and ask
  • Check the provider website with your logged-in credentials

Some providers send out reminders to customers prior to their renewal date, so also check your emails for any correspondence.

Checking your own car insurance is a fairly simple process, but checking insurance for a car belonging to someone else will incur a fee. (Adobe)

What happens if my car is not insured?

Driving without car insurance in the UK is illegal – and the offence carries criminal charges. It’s best to always keep your car insurance up to date in order to avoid committing such offences. 

If you are caught driving a vehicle on a public road without car insurance you could face the following penalties:

  • A fixed penalty fine of £300 
  • Up to six penalty points on your driving licence
  • The police might seize your vehicle, and in some cases, the vehicle could also be destroyed
  • If your case is taken to court, you could be disqualified from driving and served an unlimited fine 

Most car insurance policies will renew automatically. But, if you’ve opted out of auto-renew, all you need to do is contact your car insurance provider. Depending on your provider, you will have options to renew online or via phone. 

If you’d like to switch car insurance providers, there are a few things to bear in mind. 

  • Don’t cancel your current car insurance before finding a new policy. You should also wait for the new policy to begin before cancelling your previous one – ensuring you are always covered
  • Shop around for a good deal before choosing your policy
  • If your current car insurance is set to auto-renew, cancel it before it rolls over. Usually, you’ll receive a reminder around one month prior to this happening
Get Cheap Car Insurance
Get a great deal on your car insurance by comparing over 160 providers
In partnership with MoneySuperMarket

Can I check the car insurance cover on a friend’s car?

Using the MID service, you can check whether a car has valid insurance if you’re insured on that car. You don’t need to be the registered owner to do so. 

The askMID search tool can be used to check if someone else’s car is insured in the following situations:

  • The car was in an accident and you were involved
  • You are representing someone involved in the accident

You should be aware that to use this service there is a £10 fee. 

What do you need to check whether a car you’ve been in an accident with is insured?

There are a number of details that you’ll need to provide to check if a car in an accident is insured. Make sure you have all of the following to hand prior to using the service:

  • Your name and email address
  • Your registration number
  • The registration number of the third-party vehicle you’re checking the insurance for
  • Date of the incident and how you were involved in the incident 

What to do if a car in an accident is not insured? 

If you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, thankfully you can still make a claim against them. Through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), you may make a claim if you’ve been injured or your property has been damaged. 

Collect as much information as possible, such as date, time and registration number, and also take as many photos and videos if you can. It is not guaranteed that you’ll be able to claim, so as much evidence as possible will give you the best chance. 

You may lose your no-claims discount. Some providers offer an uninsured driver promise which protects your no-claims bonus in such events, check with your car insurance provider if they offer this.  

What happens to my insurance after an accident?

After a car accident, your fault or not, your car insurance will inevitably go up because you’re then viewed as a higher-risk. 

Making a claim on your policy, more often than not, increases your premium. If you’ve made a non-fault claim – meaning the accident wasn’t your fault – then it won’t increase as much as an at-fault claim. 

Even if you don’t make a claim after an accident, your insurance premium might still increase. 

Why does this happen? If another driver made a claim, your provider may need to recoup the costs of that claim. Your provider could increase the costs because they think you are more liable to have another accident. 

What about if my car is written off? 

If your car is written off, the ownership of the vehicle is automatically transferred to your car insurance provider. Following this, you should receive a settlement payout. This settlement is usually equal to the amount it was worth before the accident took place.

Frequently asked questions about car insurance checks

No, you can check if your car is insured for free using the Motor Insurance Database (MID). This database is a national register for all cars in the UK. To use the service all you need is your registration number, and you can check whether your car is insured. However, the service won’t give any specific details such as which provider you’re insured with.

This depends on whether your car insurance auto-renews. Most providers have an option for auto-renew; if you have opted into this you shouldn’t need to do anything to renew. Usually, a reminder is sent out around one month before to remind you that your car insurance will renew soon. If you have opted out of auto-renew, you will need to contact your provider to renew at the news of your policy.

No, your insurance won’t expire if you sell your car. You also shouldn’t sell your car without valid car insurance and if you do so you could face penalty fines. One way around this is to take out temporary car insurance. This allows you to insure a vehicle for an hour, or up to 30 days at a time. This could cause any shortfalls, ensuring the vehicle is insured at all times until a new policy is taken out.


Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.

Amy Reeves


Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.