How to check your car insurance expiry date
Whether you pay monthly or annually for your car insurance, at the end of each year you have the choice to renew or take out a new policy. Here's a guide to how it all works.
When is my car insurance due?
As a driver, it’s your responsibility to make sure your car has a valid insurance policy in place before you drive it anywhere on the road. You can take out insurance for any time period you would like to use your car, but most people go for an annual policy that you can then renew yearly.
There are a few tips we can give you to find out when your car insurance is due:
Check your policy documents
Your policy documents will be emailed to you once you buy your policy. It will include the start date of your insurance and your renewal date. If you don’t get emailed your policy documents, you can usually find them online or by contacting your insurer
Look out for your renewal notice
It’s common for insurers to offer auto-renewal, which means as soon as your annual policy is over, the policy will renew itself, so you will not be left without being insured at any time
Check your bank statements
If you opt to pay for your insurance monthly, your bank statements will show when your next payments are due
Once you know when your car insurance is due, you can start thinking about whether you want to renew your policy with your current insurer or shop around for a better deal. It's always a good idea to compare quotes with our comparison tool from several different insurers before you renew your policy.
In the meantime, make sure you have a valid car insurance policy in place. Driving without insurance is illegal and can result in serious penalties.
How to check car insurance expiry date?
The easiest way to check if your car is still insured is through the motor insurer’s database – you will need your car’s registration number and you’ll have to declare you’re the car’s owner or registered keeper. While this database updates frequently, it doesn't automatically renew – so there might be a delay between buying or renewing a policy and seeing it online.
Remember also that while a car showing up on this list means it’s insured, that doesn’t mean anyone is able to drive it. Insurance policies generally apply to the driver rather than the vehicle, so you’ll have to be sure the policy is in your name, or you’re a named driver on someone else’s.
Checking whether your car is insured is free, and the service also tells you the vehicle’s make and model. To get access to further details like the insurer’s name and policy outline, you’ll need to pay a charge.
Aside from the motor insurer’s database, you can also:
Call your insurer if you know who it is and ask about the details of your policy
Check your own records (including your email or bank or credit statements) to see if you’re currently paying for an insurance policy
Check with MoneySuperMarket if you bought a policy through us or ran a quote around the same time as you last took out cover
When should I renew my car insurance policy?
The best time to renew your car insurance policy is between 21 and 30 days before your policy expires. This will give you enough time to compare quotes from different insurers and find the best deal. If you wait until the last minute, you may not have as many options and you may end up paying more for your insurance. Here are some of the benefits of renewing your car insurance early:
You'll have more time to compare quotes and find the best deal
You'll avoid any last-minute price increases
You'll be able to make sure your policy still meets your needs
You'll be able to avoid any gaps in your coverage
What should I do if my car insurance policy has expired?
If your car insurance policy has expired, you should not be driving at all. The continuous insurance enforcement rules that came into force in 2011 mean that every vehicle on UK roads must have at least third-party cover in place.
What happens if I drive without car insurance?
In the UK, it is illegal to drive without car insurance. If you are caught driving without insurance, you could face the following penalties:
A fixed penalty notice of £300 and six penalty points on your driving licence (which could result in difficulty getting insurance in the future)
A fine of up to £5,000 if you are taken to court.
The seizure of your vehicle.
Disqualification from driving.
Do I need insurance if I don’t use my car?
Yes, even if you don’t drive your car, it’ll still need to be insured if you keep it on the road. However, if you don’t drive your car and you don’t want to insure it, you can declare it off road with a SORN (statutory off-road notice). This means you won’t be able to drive the car for the duration of the notice – but be sure to check when this expires so you can renew it when you need to.
What happens to my existing insurance if I buy a new car?
If you buy a new car, you have a few options for what to do with your existing insurance. You can:
Transfer your existing policy to the new car. This is the most common option, and it will allow you to keep your existing coverage and rates. However, your premium may go up if the new car is more expensive or has a higher risk of being stolen or damaged.
Cancel your existing policy and start a new one. This is a good option if you want to shop around for a better deal or if your current insurer doesn't offer coverage for the new car. However, you may have to pay a cancellation fee, and you may have a gap in coverage between the time your old policy ends and the time your new policy starts.
Keep your existing policy and add the new car: If you want to keep your current insurer and rates, but you want to add the new car to your coverage this option may be for you. However, your premium may go up if the new car is more expensive or has a higher risk of being stolen or damaged.
The best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances. If you're not sure what to do, you can contact your insurance company for advice.
Make sure the new car is covered by your current policy. Not all policies cover all cars, so you'll need to check with your insurer to make sure the new car is covered.
How can I find a cheaper car insurance policy?
Compare quotes from several different insurers
Pay more excess: A higher voluntary excess fee tells insurers you’ll only claim when it’s worth the extra cost, so they’ll reward you with lower premiums
Try telematics: Telematics car insurance involves your insurer monitoring your driving, through a black box. They will base your premiums on how you drive – so safer and more responsible drivers could see cheaper car insurance as a result, adjusted quarterly
Pick a fully comprehensive policy: Fully comprehensive policies not only provide the most cover, but they’re also generally the cheapest
Check out our guide for more car insurance money saving tips.
What can I do to ensure I don’t forget to renew my policy?
Here are some additional tips for staying on top of your car insurance:
Set a reminder in your phone or calendar. This will help you remember when your policy is due and give you plenty of time to shop around for a new policy if you want to
Sign up for automatic renewal. This will automatically renew your policy with your current insurer unless you cancel it
Check your policy regularly, be aware of the renewal date on your policy and make sure your policy still meets your needs and that your premiums are competitive
Make sure your insurer emails aren’t going to your junk. When your policy is reaching its end, your insurer is likely to email you reminding you it’s time to renew but sometimes these emails can end up in your spam folder
By following these tips, you can ensure that you always have a valid car insurance policy in place.
When you come to renew your car insurance the good news is that your existing provider can no longer charge you more than they would a new customer but it’s still important to shop around for the best deal. Put a note in your diary or use an app on your phone that alerts you when it’s time to start looking - ideally before the actual renewal date if you want time to secure the best deal. - Sarah Tooze, Journalist