Although it’s not the most exciting part of owning a car, keeping your paperwork and official documentation in order is an important part of making sure you’re driving legally.
That said, between MOTs, insurance renewals, tax payments, and servicing – there’s a lot of information to remember – so what do you do if it’s slipped your mind when your insurance renewal date is?
Here, we’ll look at a few different ways to find out when your car insurance expires.
How to find out when your car insurance expires
Probably the quickest and simplest way to find out when your insurance expires is to check your paperwork.
The good thing is, insurance companies tend to email documents as well as send postal copies – so even if you can’t face rummaging through all the paperwork you’ve got in your drawers, you should be able to do a quick email inbox search to track your documents down.
If you can find it this way, you’ll need to look for the ‘certificate of insurance’ – that’s the official certificate that confirms you’ve got cover. On it, there should be a start and end date.
Call your provider
Of course, if you can’t seem to track a date down on your paperwork – then you could give your insurers a quick call. Generally, their customer service lines are open long hours – and often at weekends too, so you’ll probably be able to fit a call in around other commitments.
Check your bank statements
If you’ve got your bank statements or banking app to hand, a little detective work will mean you can quickly work out your expiry date. Find the payments that go out to your provider – then track them back through previous months until you find the very first one. The first payment you made will have occurred on the day your policy started – so 12 months on from there will be your expiry date.
Wait to get your auto-renewal notice
If the idea of sorting through thousands of emails sounds like hard work and you can’t face the thought of hold music, then you could just wait for your auto-renew notice to come through the post.
Virtually all insurance companies automatically renew your insurance when your policy comes to an end. By law, the company must give you notice that they’re going to do this – so this will show the exact expiry date of your policy, along with other details; like your new annual premium.
The Motor Insurance Database
If you’ve tried all the other options and still can’t seem to put your finger on an exact date – then the Motor Insurance Database (MID) is almost certainly going to be able to help.
Set up to help drivers who have been involved in accidents to quickly check whether people have insurance in place, the MID gives you the ability to quickly check a car’s insurance status. Unfortunately, the basic free search doesn’t show expiry dates – but if you’re happy to pay a £4.50 charge for an enhanced search, it’ll return everything you need to know about your policy, including your insurer, cover level, start date – and when you need to renew.
What happens if you miss your expiry date?
If it turns out you’ve missed your expiry date, you’ll need to check that you’ve actually got insurance before you drive your car again.
Chances are, your provider will have automatically renewed your cover – but if they haven’t, you’ll be breaking the law if you drive your car. In actual fact, keeping a car that’s not insured is also an offence since the Continuous Insurance Enforcement ruling came into force in 2011 – so you’ll need to arrange insurance immediately or register your car as SORN.
Don’t worry if your insurer has already renewed your cover and you’re not happy with the deal you’ve got. The Financial Conduct Authority rules around insurance policies give you a ‘cooling-off period’ – 14 days after obtaining insurance that you can cancel your policy – without any explanation or penalty. If you’ve just missed your expiry date – this gives you a bit of time to shop around and find a deal that suits you and your budget.