Making sure your car is insured is one of the biggest responsibilities of being a motorist. If police detect you are driving without insurance, you could face serious penalties, including a £300 fine and 6 points on your licence.

Note that police can detect uninsured vehicles quickly with ANPR (automatic number plate recognition).

It's easy to find out if your vehicle is insured. Just visit the Motor Insurance Database (MID) and enter your car registration details. You'll find out instantly if your car is insured. The service is free to use.


Don't leave things until the last minute

Most car insurance policies last a year. There are some exceptions, such as short term insurance, or when you ask to leave a contract.

Car insurance lasts until 23.59 on the last day of cover. This means if you have a collison just a few minutes later, you won't be covered. With this in mind, it's critical your insurance is renewed ahead of time.


Unsure when you took out your insurance?
  • Find and check your insurance documents - they will display the start and end dates of your cover
  • Contact your insurer - they'll give you all the information you need, and help with renewals if required
  • Check your emails - do a search for communications from your insurer


Ways to ensure you don’t forget to take out cover
  • Set up reminders on your mobile or emails
  • Set up auto-renewal with your insurer (although you may end up paying more because you didn't get the chance to shop around for alternatives).


My car insurance has expired: what next?

You must not drive your car while you're uninsured. You must get insured straight away. If you're caught without insurance, you could face 6 penalty points and a large fine. You may also be forced to pay a higher premium for your insurance.


Is car insurance transferable from previous owners?

No. If you buy a second hand car, the previous owner’s insurance cannot be transferred to you. You must purchase new cover in your own name. Some dealers offer temporary insurance, which usually lasts a week. This lets you drive the car home legally - and gives you time to organise full cover.