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Checking your car insurance

Here's the easiest way to check you're insured

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It’s safe to say that most drivers know that having car insurance is now a legal requirement. Whether it’s your usual annual policy or short term cover, if you own or drive a vehicle, you need to be checking your cover is in place and that your car insurance hasn’t expired.

If you’ve recently purchased a new policy it’s always worth checking that you’re properly insured before you head out on the road.

Not only will this put your mind at rest but it could also save you a lot of trouble in the future if there have been any problems with your policy.

How can I check if I’m insured?


Checking your insurance is in place is simple and straightforward to do. The quickest way to check is by visiting the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

The MID is the central record of all UK vehicles with insurance in place. If your vehicle is fully insured then your details will appear on the database.

It’s free to search but more personal information such as policy details come at a cost of £4.

The police and other enforcement agencies use the MID to check for uninsured drivers and can hand out a range of penalties if you’re caught driving without the correct cover.

Policy Documents

Another way of checking your car insurance is by looking at your policy documents, specifically your certificate of insurance. These will be delivered to you once you’ve purchased a policy.

Your insurance certificate can be used as evidence that you’re insured if you’re ever stopped by the police.

Not only will this provide proof of insurance but also gives you important information that you might find useful such as your policy number and the start and end date of your policy.

glossary of insurance

It’s important to remember that just because you’ve purchased a policy, whether it’s short term or annual cover, it doesn’t mean that your cover will begin straight away. Check the start and end date of your policy to ensure you’re actually covered for the duration you need.

Be sure to always keep a copy of your certificate of insurance with you in case any issues arise.

What happens if I drive without insurance?

Despite the rising cost of insurance, not being covered is not a viable option. Driving without insurance is illegal and you face a wide range of penalties depending on the situation of the offence.

Whether you’re just popping down the road or borrowing a friend’s car for the day, in the eyes of the law it makes no difference.

Currently, the minimum fine for driving a vehicle you’re not insured to use is a fixed penalty notice of £300.

If more serious events such as accidents or injuries to others happen whilst you’re driving without insurance, that fine could rise. There is currently no maximum penalty in place so you could face an unlimited fine if the case goes to court.

Alongside a £300 fine, you’re also going to get at least 6 penalty points on your license. Again, if more serious events surround the situation this could be increased.

convicted drivers

Depending on your own individual circumstances this could result in a driving disqualification.

Of course, it’s not just you that could face the full force of the law. Your vehicle can be impounded by the police if it’s not insured.

This will not only cost you even more money in impounded car insurance and various admin fees but if you don’t reclaim it in time, your car could be destroyed.

If you’ve avoided buying car insurance because it’s too expensive then getting caught is only going to make things even worse in the future.

Insurance providers will look at your driving history including any previous penalty points and criminal convictions and will probably consider you very high risk. Many insurers wouldn’t cover you and those that did would charge you an absolute fortune.

The easiest way to avoid these penalties and extra expense or is to reduce your risk and find the cheapest possible insurance policy.

Temporary insurance and the MID

If you’ve recently purchased temporary insurance from Tempcover, you might find that your details don’t appear when you check the MID.

It’s understandable that you’d be worried about potential penalties because you’d assume that you’re not actually covered.

Well don’t worry, you can rest assured that if you’ve purchased a policy from Tempcover you’re covered – even if your details don’t appear on the MID straightaway.

While we update the MID daily, it can take up to a week for your details to appear on the database. If you’ve bought a one day policy it’s quite common for your policy to have expired before your details appear.

While it may not appear straight away, you are covered if you’ve purchased a policy. For drivers with short term cover, we recommend that you print your certificate of insurance or keep a copy close by whilst driving as this remains valid proof of your insurance in case there are any issues.

Any further problems can be sorted by a quick call to the insurance provider who will be able to confirm cover is in place.