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How to check if a vehicle is insured

Don't get caught out by uninsured drivers – check the Motor Insurance Database

A woman on her phone with a car in the background

Car insurance is a legal requirement. But despite this, over a million drivers are still using the UK's roads without valid insurance.

Uninsured drivers are a serious problem

If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, it could leave you seriously out of pocket – or even worse.

Uninsured drivers are more likely to be involved in a collision and thousands of people are killed or injured by uninsured drivers each year.

Even if you're not directly involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you will still be out of pocket. Because they don't have any insurance in place, compensation for the victims of uninsured drivers comes from the Motor Insurers' Bureau. And some of the money you pay for your car insurance covers this compensation.

What is the Motor Insurers' Bureau?

The Motor Insurers' Bureau is a non-profit organisation, set up by motor insurers, that works alongside the police and the DVLA to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road.

They keep a database of every insured car in the UK, called the Motor Insurance Database (MID). The police and the public have access to this database to check whether a vehicle is insured.

The DVLA also use the database to make sure that vehicles are continuously insured. They compare DVLA vehicle records against those held on the MID. If the insurance lapses, the registered keeper will be advised to get the vehicle insured or risk a penalty from the DVLA.

If the insurance lapses, the registered keeper will be advised to get the vehicle insured or risk a penalty from the DVLA.

How do I check if a vehicle is insured?

If you're concerned that your own insurance may have lapsed, you can check to make sure you're still insured through askMID.com. This is a free service that gives you an instant online response.

If you've been involved in an accident and you want to check the other vehicle is insured you can search the database for the details you need. There is a small charge for this service.

The insurance details of the other vehicle will appear on the screen if the vehicle is found on the database.

You can also check the insurance details of a vehicle at the roadside if you have a smart phone. Just use your phone to access the askMID Roadside service for free. You'll need a note of the other vehicle's registration number.

What are the penalties for not having car insurance?

It is illegal to drive or keep a vehicle on the road without insurance. At the very least, every vehicle should have third party cover.

Third party cover pays for accidental damage to another vehicle, but it won't pay for accidental damage to the owner's car. For this type of cover you need comprehensive insurance.

If you're caught without valid insurance, you may end up with:

  • Your car seized and even crushed
  • Six penalty points on your licence
  • A fixed penalty of £300
  • Paying a fee to release your car

Plus, to get back on the road, you still need to insure your vehicle. And with six points on your licence, your insurance will probably be more expensive.

What happens if an uninsured driver crashes into me?

Motor insurers recognise that law-abiding insured drivers should not be penalised for the actions of uninsured drivers.

So, if you're involved in a crash with an uninsured driver, that wasn't your fault, and you have comprehensive insurance, you'll usually be able to claim for the damage to your car through your insurers.

LV= will also make sure that you won't lose your no claim discount or need to pay an excess. You just need to provide us with some details about the other vehicle and the driver.

If you only have third party insurance, you may be able to make a claim through the Motor Insurers' Bureau. They can compensate the victims of uninsured drivers and untraced drivers.

If the accident is your fault, you're responsible for repairing the other vehicle, even if the driver is not insured.

Buying LV= car insurance is quick and easy