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When is car insurance due?

In the UK, car insurance is a legal requirement and you must not drive without it. You should make sure your car is covered by at least third party insurance before you drive it - or even park it on a public road.

Am I insured?

If you’re not sure whether or not you have taken out or renewed your car insurance, then it’s fairly straightforward to check this. All you need to do is enter your number plate at the Motor Insurer’s database (MID), and you can find out for free whether or not your car has cover. If you want to know who your insurer is, or any policy details, you’ll need to pay a small fee. It may also be worth checking your bank or credit card statements to see if a car insurance payment is listed. You could also have an electronic version of the documents in your email folders, as many insurers now send these out instead of paper copies.

What if I’m not insured?

The only exception to the rule of having to have car insurance is when a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) is made to the DVLA. This would only apply if you have no plans to use the car, or it isn’t roadworthy. Even if it’s parked on the street, it must be insured. Failure to comply could cost you a fine - possibly unlimited - plus a number of penalty points. If your case went to court, you could even be disqualified from driving.

Is there any ‘grace period’?

There is no grace period when it comes to car insurance. Your policy will end at the time specified on the documents, and will not run for a single day beyond that. Therefore you must ensure that you have continuous cover at all times, such as when switching between one insurer and another.

When do I have to pay for the insurance?

If you pay yearly, the full amount is due when you take out the policy, and must be paid as a lump sum. If you pay monthly, the cost is divided into 12 instalments which are due on a set date every month for a year. Insurers often charge an extra amount for the financial convenience of paying monthly.

When should I renew?

Your current insurer will usually send out some sort of notification to warn you that the renewal date is approaching. This will normally include their renewal quote. At this point, it might seem easiest to just accept the renewal rather than shopping around, but it’s not necessarily the best idea. Insurers often rely upon their customers’ apathy or lack of time, which means the renewal premium may not be competitive. Once you have this price, you can approach other insurers to see if they can beat it. As it will normally arrive a few weeks before the renewal date, this is a good time to look around for the best possible deal.

What if I change my car?

If you buy a new car, you can do one of two things. You can contact your existing insurer to see if you can transfer the policy to the new car. They may charge an amendment fee for this, so it may be worth getting some other quotes as well. This way, you can compare what you’d be paying in total, using both approaches, and opt for the cheapest.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

The majority of UK car insurance companies will automatically renew your cover when it ends so you don’t accidentally end up uninsured. By law, your provider must notify you that your insurance will renew – and they must show you last year’s price too – so you can decide whether you’re getting a good deal.

Don’t panic if you can’t remember who your car insurance is with. The best way to find out is by checking your paperwork – but if you don’t have it to hand, you can look at who your monthly payment is made to through your banking app or search your emails for electronic copies of your documents.

Yes, your no claims bonus (NCB) can expire – and will do so 2 years after your last car insurance policy comes to an end. If you want to make sure you keep your NCB, you’ll need to take out a new policy within 2 years.

Motor legal protection is an optional extra that can help cover the cost of legal expenses that might be needed if you’re involved in an accident that’s not your fault.

Yes, car insurance can be paid monthly. In fact, many people pay for their car insurance by monthly instalments.

Third party car insurance is a type of cover that only pays out for damage caused to other peoples' vehicles if an accident is your fault. Damage to your own car is not included.

Yes, it is possible for two car insurance policies to overlap. This can happen when you switch to a new policy with a different provider before your previous policy has come to an end.

It’s important to keep track of car insurance expiry dates – so you never find yourself driving without adequate cover. To find out when your insurance ends, you can check your paperwork, call your provider, wait for your renewal notice to arrive, or check the Motor Insurance Database.

In the UK, car insurance is a legal requirement to have a policy in place if you own a vehicle. It provides you with financial protection if you have an accident.

As long as you have made a Statutory Off-Road Notification for the car in question, you don’t need SORN insurance – but you might decide you want to insure it; depending on your circumstances.