How to check if your car is insured

How to check if your car is insured

In this guide, we will explain how to use askMID’s tools to check whether your car or another vehicle is insured – and what information you’ll need to provide for both types of vehicle check.

We’ll also cover some important car insurance topics, such as why car insurance is required, how to verify which provider you are insured with, how to check your policy’s expiry date – and when you don’t require car insurance.

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Is my car insured?

To find out whether your vehicle is insured, all you have to do is enter its registration number into askMID’s own-vehicle insurance check tool.

This tool is free to use - and a quick search will reveal whether your vehicle is on the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

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How can I check if someone else’s car is insured?

You can check whether a third-party vehicle is insured in the event of an accident using askMID’s other vehicle lookup tool by providing the following details:

  • Your name, reference (or initials) and email address.
  • The date of the incident - and how you were involved.
  • Your registration number - and the registration of the vehicle you would like to check.

This is a chargeable service, with a fee of £10 per enquiry.

Please note: This service is only intended for determining if a third-party is insured in the event of a road accident – and obtaining details to progress an insurance claim. Refer to askMID’s ‘Terms of Use’ document for more details.

What information does askMID’s ‘other vehicle’ lookup tool provide?

The ‘other vehicle’ lookup tool will reveal whether a third-party vehicle is listed on the Motor Insurance Database. If the registration is found, you will also receive the following information:

  • The third-party vehicle’s policy number.
  • The name of the insurance provider.
  • The claims contact details.

What types of car insurance are there?

  • Third-party

    This is the minimum legal requirement for car insurance in the UK. With third-party insurance, you will be covered for injury or damage caused to other people and their property. However, you will not receive any financial assistance for any injuries you sustain yourself, or towards repair costs for your own vehicle.

  • Third-party, fire and theft

    ‘Third-party, fire and theft’ insurance includes everything offered under third-party cover and can also pay out in the event of your vehicle being stolen or fire damaged. However, you won’t be covered for damage to your own vehicle in the event of an accident.

  • Fully comprehensive

    Fully comprehensive insurance includes everything offered under a ‘third-party, fire and theft’ policy – and can also pay out for damage to your car. With fully comprehensive insurance, you may also receive compensation for medical treatment, legal expenses and any accidental damage.

Why do I need car insurance?

It is a legal requirement to have valid insurance whilst driving a car. This legislation is in place to protect drivers from the financial costs associated with accidental damage. For instance, if you accidentally drive into the back of another car whilst on the road, your insurance can pay for this damage to be repaired.

Aside from being a legal requirement, insurance gives drivers the peace of mind that in the event of a road accident, any repair costs will be covered.

Am I insured to drive other cars?

Under many standard car insurance policies, you won’t be covered if you borrow someone else’s car – or if they allow you to borrow theirs.

Do I need insurance when learning to drive?

If you are only taking lessons with a professional driving instructor, there is no need to take out learner insurance, as this is covered in the fee you pay for your lessons.

However, if you plan to practice driving in your own car, you will need provisional or learner driving insurance. If you are learning in a car that belongs to a family member, their insurance may cover you as a learner driver; if it does not, you will need to take out your own learner insurance.

When does my car insurance expire?

There are several methods at your disposal for checking when your car insurance expires:

  • Check your policy documents or car insurance documents for the expiry or renewal date.
  • Contact your car insurance provider and ask them directly.
  • Log in to your account via your insurance provider’s website and check your policy’s expiry date from there.

Many car insurance providers will also contact you when your policy is about to auto-renew or expire.

When do I not need car insurance?

According to the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation, all vehicles must be insured if they are used on the roads or parked on public highways. However, you do not need vehicle insurance if you have submitted a Statutory Off-road Notification to inform the DVLA that you have taken your vehicle ‘off road’.

There are other limited circumstances where you won’t need car insurance:

Your vehicle is between registered keepers

When you decide to sell your car, there will be a short period of time when the vehicle is between registered keepers – and from here on, you will not be responsible for insuring it.

However, from the moment you become the registered keeper of another car, you then will be responsible for making sure that vehicle has valid insurance.

Your vehicle has been written off, scrapped or stolen

If your vehicle has been written off, scrapped, or stolen, you’ll need to inform both the DVLA and your insurance provider as soon as possible. Once you have done so, you will no longer require insurance for that vehicle.

What should I do if my details are incorrect?

Incorrect or outdated information on your policy can invalidate your insurance, which means your insurer can refuse to pay out if you make a claim – or even cancel your policy altogether.

So, if you discover that any of your insurance details are incorrect, you should contact your insurer immediately to provide them with the correct information.

How can I check who my car is insured with?

If you know that your car is insured, but cannot remember which insurance provider your policy is with, there are several ways to find out:

  • Search your email inbox for ‘car insurance’ to find your insurance certificate or any emails from your chosen provider.
  • Check your banking app or credit card statements for payments made to an insurance provider.
  • Submit a ‘Data Subject Access Request’ form to the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) by emailing You’ll need to include provide proof of identity with your request.

Is it legal to buy an uninsured car?

Yes, it is perfectly legal to buy an uninsured car. However, you will require insurance as soon as you intend to drive it.

Am I insured after buying a new car?

Most car dealerships offer temporary ‘drive-off’ insurance with the cars they sell, which typically lasts 7 days from when you drive away from the forecourt.

However, when buying from a dealership, you should double-check that temporary insurance is available. If it is not, you should arrange an insurance policy immediately, if you decide to proceed with the sale.

What if I buy from a private seller?

Bear in mind, that if you buy from a private seller, it is highly unlikely that they will offer you any kind of temporary insurance.

Therefore, if you buy a car privately, you should arrange insurance immediately after the point of purchase. You must have relevant insurance before getting behind the wheel of your new car. If you are pulled over by the police on the way home, you could still be subject to the penalties for driving without insurance.

What can happen if my car is not insured?

If you are caught driving without insurance, the police can issue a fixed penalty of £300 and a penalty of 6 points on your driving licence. If the police deem the case serious enough to refer to court, you could be disqualified from driving and receive an unlimited fine.

The police also hold powers to seize and, in some cases, destroy vehicles that have been driven without insurance.

What to consider when choosing an insurance provider

A price comparison website can provide you with an overview of the policies available from various insurers.

Don’t be enticed by the cheapest quote; you should take the time to review what each policy offers to ensure you select one that meets your individual requirements - and legally covers all your driving activity.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

It is unusual for an insurance provider to allow you to temporarily suspend your car insurance.

Even if you plan to keep your car parked on your driveway or in a garage for an extended time, there is still a risk of damage, fire or theft – and therefore, it’s still worth considering retaining your insurance policy, unless you have a particularly low-value vehicle.

Yes, you can use our free car tax check and MOT checker tools to determine whether your car is taxed or MOT-certified.

Don’t leave anything to chance; all you have to do is enter your vehicle’s registration number, then our tools will provide you with the information you need in an instant!

If you are bringing your own car over to the UK, you might be covered for at least third-party damage by your existing overseas car insurance policy, but you should check this beforehand for your peace of mind.

Yes, if you have an international licence, it is still possible to get car insurance in the UK. However, it may cost you more than if you held a UK licence.

Insurance premiums are often higher for non-UK residents, as they may be unfamiliar with UK roads. Therefore, at greater risk of being involved in an accident and having to make a claim.