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Is my van insured? How to check

Your van must have valid van insurance for as long as it's on the road. But what if you forget which insurer you're with or how long your van is actually insured for?

The consequences of driving without van insurance can be serious, so it's important to check before driving.

But don't worry, here are some simple ways you can check if your van is insured and who you're insured with.

Van driving by a bridge 


How do I check if I have van insurance?

The quickest way to find out if your van is insured is to check with the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

They have a useful tool to help you check if your van is insured.

All you have to do is type in your van’s registration number and it tells you if your van is currently insured or not. It also tells you what make and model the registration plate is linked to.

If these details are wrong, you should contact your insurer - once you’ve found them - to inform them of the mistake.

If the MID confirms that your van is insured, you can wait to hear from your current insurer around 3 weeks before your renewal date.

At this point, it's worth shopping around to see if you can get a cheaper van insurance quote from another insurer. Even if your renewal price is roughly the same - or even less - than last year, it's still worth comparing van insurance quotes.

The consequences of driving a van without insurance 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.

So it's vital you check your van is insured before driving.

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How do I check who my van insurance is with?

Most insurance companies send out paperwork like policy documents and renewal notices by email. So start by looking through your inbox and searching for words like ‘insurance’, ‘van insurance’ or ‘renewal’.

If your insurer still contacts 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 ended.

Once you've found out who your van insurance is with, set yourself a reminder. You can do this by sending yourself a calendar event or an email with:

  • The name of your van insurance company
  • Your policy number 
  • The date your van insurance expires

Make sure you use the words 'van insurance' and maybe also 'policy' in the email. That way you can search your inbox in the future and get all the information you need straight away.

How do I check if my van has tax and MOT?

You can check online to see whether your van has up-to-date van tax – known officially as vehicle excise duty (VED) – and an MOT certificate.

Visit GOV.UK to input your registration details and find out.

This should tell you whether or not you have tax and a valid MOT. It should also say when your next year’s tax is due and when your current MOT expires.

The same web page lets 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 you don’t currently have a valid policy in place, you need to get van insurance as soon as possible. But 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 caught driving without insurance, you could get a fixed penalty notice and be fined £300, with 6 points added to your licence.

Penalty points on your van licence could increase your insurance costs in the future.

If the police think an offence is particularly serious the case may be taken to court. An example of this is if the driver is suspected of providing false information. 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 power 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?

Yes – the legal requirement to have insurance applies to all vehicles, whether they’re being used regularly or not.

If you're not using your van and so don't want to insure it, you need to officially declare it 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 because you want to start using it again.

Also, with a SORN you have to store the vehicle on private property. For example, you’re not allowed to keep it parked on the street.

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