You must have insurance if you want to drive or keep your vehicle on UK roads and so it is vital that you know how to check if you have the proper insurance in place. The minimum you need to be legal is third party insurance and, thankfully, it is relatively simple to check that everything is above board when it comes to insuring your vehicle.
Why is car insurance important?
It is the law that you have at least third party insurance. This is to ensure that you will have cover if you are involved in an accident that results in injury or damage to property, people, or animals and for which you are held liable. You may also want to have more comprehensive cover to ensure that your own property is protected if you are involved in an accident or your vehicle is damaged or stolen. The type of insurance you choose will depend on a range of factors, such as your personal requirements and the premiums you are prepared to pay.
Why might you need to check if a car is insured?
You may have lost your policy documents or have forgotten the details of your car insurance. You may not know whether your vehicle is still insured or need your renewal date to ensure that you have a policy in place by the relevant date. Perhaps you can’t remember who your insurance provider is and want to find out or you need other more general information? All of these facts can be important if you are thinking about looking for car insurance with the aim of making sure that you and your family members are getting the best possible deal or if you want to add people to your policy or ensure you have the right cover to meet your needs.
The simplest way to check if you have current insurance on your vehicle is to check the registration number with the Motor Insurance Database (MID). This is the national register of insured cars in the UK. Searches are free, although you will typically have to pay a small fee if you want extra details such as general policy information or the name of your insurance provider.
There is an askMID online service that allows you to check that your car is covered by a valid, current insurance policy. The free service will give you an instant answer about whether your vehicle is currently registered as insured on the MID. To access this, visit www.askmid.com.
You can use this service to check the insurance status of your own vehicle and also to obtain insurance details of vehicles involved in an accident with you. You can also contact MIB using an online form if you want to know what details it holds about you, although it is usually quicker to simply contact your insurer if you want to know about your accident claims history. Requests to MIP typically take up to a month.
If you find out that your car is not covered by insurance you will need to insure it immediately if you want to keep it on a public road or drive it in the UK. Alternatively, you can declare it off-road. This must be done officially via the DVLA and you will need to make a SORN or Statutory Off Road Notification.
About the Motor Insurance Database
The Motor Insurance Database or MID is a centrally-held record of every insured vehicle in the UK. It is managed by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau. This is a private company tasked with compensating victims of road accidents caused by untraced or uninsured drivers. It is funded by around £30 each year from every driver’s insurance premiums.
The MID can be useful to you if you want to find out if your vehicle is insured and also to allow you to find out details of your policy that can help if you want to find the best car insurance deals. It is also used by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (the DVLA) and the police to help to enforce laws relating to motor insurance in the UK.
The MIB shares information from the MID and compares it with DVLA data as part of what is known as the CIE or Continuous Insurance Enforcement scheme. The MID is an essential tool in crackdowns on uninsured driving and police can remove vehicles from the road if they don’t have the correct insurance.
If you think a mistake has been made
If you check the MID and find that your car is not featured but you believe that you do have insurance then you will need to get in contact with your insurance company. Only your provider can update your MID records. The DVLA or MIB cannot do this on your behalf.
The MIB is warning people to be aware of scams where cold callers are claiming to be from the bureau and saying that they got an individual’s details from the MID. They may say:
They are calling on behalf of MIB to talk to you about an accident claim.
They want details about a recent accident you have been involved in.
They want you to falsify information and make a claim to MIB.
They need your banking details or personal information in order to ensure you get compensation you are due.
It is important to remember that MIB will not call you about an accident unless you have already put in a claim or ask you for bank details over the phone. Your telephone number and email address are not held on the MID.
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