Is my van insured? How to check
Since your van must have valid insurance for as long as it's on the road, it can be easy to forget exactly which van insurance company is providing you with cover. In some cases, you might be in a panic wondering if your van is insured at all.
But don't fret. Here are some simple ways you can check if your van is insured, and who you're insured with.
If you use a van as part of your business, it can be easy to forget who you’re insured with or when your current policy is up for renewal.
Van insurance might often just one more administrative headache if you’re running a small firm.
As a result, it’s not unusual for van drivers to find themselves behind the wheel of a vehicle on which the insurance has run out.
But the consequences of this happening can be severe. Anyone caught driving a car or van without the proper insurance could face a hefty fine, points on their licence or even a ban.
And any penalty points you get on your van licence could mean increased insurance costs in the future.
So how can you check your van insurance is up to date?
How do I check if I have van insurance?
The quickest way to find oud if your van is insured is to can check with the Motor Insurance Database (MID).
They have a simple tool to help you check if your van is insured.
All you do is type in your van’s registration number and it tells you if you’re currently insured or not. It also tells you what make and model of van this registration plate is linked to.
If these details are wrong, you should contact your insurance provider - once you’ve tracked them down - to inform them of the mistake.
If the MID confirms that your van is currently insured, you should be able to wait to hear from your present insurer at renewal time.
At this point, it's well worth shopping around to see if you can get a cheaper van insurance quote from another provider.
How do I check who my van insurance is with?
These days, most insurance companies send out paperwork like policy documents and renewal notices by email rather than in the post.
So start by having a trawl through your inbox, searching for ‘insurance’, ‘van insurance’ or ‘renewal’, for example.
If your insurer still corresponds with you through the post, look for any recent letters confirming your policy details. This should also tell you when your renewal date is.
Another option is to have a look at your bank statement. You should see either a lump sum going out to your insurer at the start of the insurance period, or monthly direct debit payments.
If your last lump sum payment was over 12 months ago, or if your insurance direct debits have stopped, it’s likely your cover has lapsed.
How do I check if my van has tax and MOT?
You can also check online to see whether your van has up-to-date car tax – known officially as vehicle excise duty (VED) – and an MOT certificate.
Visit GOV.UK to input your registration details and find out.
This’ll tell you whether or not you have tax and a valid MOT. It’ll also tell you when your next year’s tax is due and when your current MOT expires.
The same web page will let you check the tax rates for your van. VED tax levels typically depend on the type of vehicle and the carbon emissions it produces.
What if my van doesn't have insurance?
If it appears that you don’t currently have a valid policy in place, you need to get insurance as a matter of urgency.
You should take the van off the road while you do so. The consequences of being caught driving without insurance can be potentially disastrous, especially if you use your van as part of your job.
If you’re found to be driving without insurance, you could get a fixed penalty notice and fined £300, with six points added to your licence.
If the police think an offence is particularly serious - for example if the driver is suspected of providing false information - the case is may be taken to court. If this happens, the potential fine is unlimited.
You could also face a ban or permanent disqualification from driving. And the potential problems don’t stop there.
When you try to buy insurance in the future, you have to declare the incident. This is likely to increase the cost of your van insurance for years to come.
The police also have the powers to seize and even destroy your vehicle – although this usually only happens in exceptional circumstances.
Do I need to insure my van if I’m not using it?
Generally speaking, yes – the legal requirement to have insurance applies to all vehicles, whether they’re being used regularly or not.
The only way you can get away without insuring a van that you’re not using is by declaring it officially as off the road.
This involves applying for a SORN – a statutory off-road notification – through the DVLA.
Getting a SORN means you no longer need to tax or insure your van, and there's no legal requirement to have an up-to-date MOT.
If your van has a SORN, it’s against the law to drive it at any time on public roads.
That is unless you’re heading to a pre-booked MOT test with a view to starting to use the van again.
Also, with a SORN you have to store the vehicle on private property – you’re not allowed to keep it parked on the street, for example.