Not all of us know when our car insurance is due for renewal or even the level of cover we have in place. We’ve put together a checklist to ensure you stay on track.
Driving without valid insurance is both irresponsible and illegal.
But with car insurance auto-renewal in place, it can be confusing to know who you’re insured with. Or even if you’re insured at all.
So for peace of mind, here's how you find out if your car has insurance.
How can I check if my car is insured?
Thankfully this is quite easy – as all you need to do is visit the Motor Insurance Database (MID). The MID holds information of all cars insured in the UK.
It's free to use and it identifies the make and model of your car as well as whether your car is insured.
How do I check who I'm insured with?
This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Auto-renewal is in place on multiple insurance policies including:
Home contents insurance
It’s not hard to lose track of who’s providing what and over what time period.
To find out which insurance company is providing you with cover, check your bank or credit card statements for payments to an insurance company.
Then contact this insurer for further details on any policies you might have with them.
Your insurers might have contacted you a via email so search through your emails and see if there are messages you may have overlooked.
Don't forget to look through your junk and spam folders – as they may have found their way into the ether.
If all of this comes to nothing, ask for a Subject Access Request from the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).
These requests are usually free but the MIB might charge a small fee to cover some admin costs.
Does my car insurance renew automatically?
Most car insurance policies auto-renew these days, which is helpful in some ways as it means you know you are always covered.
However, there are potential downsides to this. If you forget to shop around when you get your renewal you might be stuck with a deal you don’t want and a price that’s not competitive.
As the name suggests, all auto-renewal policies automatically renew unless you contact your insurer to cancel.
The term for the renewed policy will likely be for the same length of time as the previous year - typically 12 months.
It’s not unheard of for drivers to be unaware that their policy auto-renews each year and take out another insurance policy with a different provider.
The result is two separate policies on one car. Not only is this expensive (and unnecessary) but could make life complicated if you need to make a claim.
What happens if my car doesn't have insurance?
Driving or owning a car without insurance – is illegal.
The police could give you a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points if you’re caught driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive.
And if the case goes to court you could get an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving.
The police also have the power to seize, and in some cases, destroy your car.
Even if your car is in your garage gathering dust, you still have to pay for insurance. This is because of the Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation.
The only way around this is to declare your car off the road with the DVLA. You do this with a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN).
If you’re uninsured and haven’t made a SORN, you could still get a penalty - even if you have no intention of driving your car.
A car insurance check is easy to do via the Motor Insurance Database and could save you money and hassle.
Compare car insurance quotes
How do I check if my car is taxed and has an MOT?
With tax discs on the windscreen a thing of the past, there’s no visible reminder when your car tax runs out.
But fear not, it is easy to check online. Type your car registration number into the government’s Vehicle Enquiry Service.
You’ll be able to see whether a car is taxed (and its renewal date) as well as whether it has an MOT (and when that expires).
Can I tax and insure a car without an MOT?
To renew your annual car tax you’ll need proof of a valid MOT certificate, but you don’t need to prove you have an MOT to insure your car.
However, driving without a valid MOT certificate is illegal. Doing so could invalidate your insurance policy or at least give an insurer a reason to reduce what they pay you in any claim.
How can I save money on a new car insurance policy
We keep an eye on car insurance prices so you can see when prices go up and down. If it turns out you need to buy a new policy, you can do a few things to save money.
Here’s what the price depends on and what you can do about it:
What car you drive – smaller cars tend to have cheaper insurance.
What security you have – better security can lower your premium.
How you use your car - using your car for commuting or business can jack up the price.
The type of cover you choose – third-party cover isn't always cheaper than comprehensive. It's worth looking at both.
To drive the cost down you can also increase your voluntary excess, as this tends to keep premiums down.
For more information, check out our tips on how to lower the cost of your car insurance.