How to check your car insurance expiry date

We’ll make sure you’re up to date!

Wondering how to check your car insurance expiry date? We’re here to help. Read on to learn everything you need to know to stay covered on the roads.

In the UK, it’s a legal requirement to have valid car insurance when you drive on public roads. As a minimum, you have to have third-party insurance in place before you get behind the wheel. 

Third-party insurance covers the costs that could come from injuries to another person or damage to their property if you get into a car accident. You can also opt for more comprehensive insurance, which will protect you if your vehicle gets damaged or stolen, or if you sustain any injuries.

Whatever policy you choose, you are responsible for ensuring you’re up to date with your coverage before driving. 

If that statement makes you panic because you’re not 100% certain you’re insured, don’t worry. There are simple ways to check to see if your car insurance is up to date — and if it isn’t, we’ll show you how to get your coverage in order quickly.

Let’s dive in.

When does my car insurance expire? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Most vehicle insurance policies expire after a year. When you take out an insurance policy, you’ll either pay the total amount upfront or interim monthly payments.

Many policies are set up for auto-renewal. This may suit you if you want to avoid the hassle of checking that you’re up to date with your insurance. Your insurer may also offer financial perks for auto-renewal to thank you for being a loyal customer. There are rewards for not claiming, too. If you’ve had an event-free year motoring-wise, you may be eligible for a no claims bonus (NCB).

There are some downsides to auto-renewal, however. By renegotiating your policy every year, you may be able to get a better deal than you currently have. Once re-negotiated, you can pay for the policy in full weeks before it’s due, ready for you to be covered once your existing policy expires and the new policy begins.

If you don’t have your policy on auto-renewal, it’s a good idea to start the process of finding a new policy or renewing your old one about three weeks before the current coverage expires. 

Howden can help you with this process by shopping around for you. We pride ourselves on finding the right fit for the individual needs of our clients.

How do I find out when my car insurance expires (UK)?

There are a few different ways to check to see if your car insurance has expired. 

Option 1: Check your insurance paperwork

The official document that verifies your coverage is called your certificate of insurance. It stipulates the start and end date of your coverage.

Your insurance company should send you this certificate via email and post. If you can’t find your hard copy, you may uncover it in your inbox.

Option 2: Watch out for your auto-renewal notice

If you have an auto-renew policy, your insurance company, by law, has to notify you when this renewal is about to happen. Your auto-renewal notice will have details of the expiration date of your policy — and the great thing about a policy that auto-renews is that you’re never left without insurance.

Option 3: Have a look through your bank statements

This will give you a handle on when you started paying for your policy and when your last payment came off. From this, you should be able to assess how long you still have before you need to renew your coverage.

You could also go on your online banking. There you should see when a payment was made to a broker, insurer or credit lender. This also gives you a starting point of who to contact regarding renewals.

Option 4: Call your insurance provider

Get in touch with your insurance provider. They’ll be able to tell you the details of your coverage and reissue a certificate of insurance if necessary.

How can I check if my car is insured by DVLA?

The Motor Insurance Database (MID) provides a centralised record of all insured vehicles in the UK. This register is available to the DVLA, police, and registered insurance providers.

It’s free to check the MID to see whether your vehicle is insured. All you have to do is enter your registration number into the askMID search bar and declare that the car you’re searching for is registered, owned, or insured by you or your employer. You will get immediate results.

  • If your search reveals that your vehicle needs to be insured, contact your insurance provider immediately to see if you need to renew your coverage. 
  • If you’ve been left off the database in error, contact your insurance company. The DVLA and MID are not able to rectify this themselves.
  • If you no longer want to drive your vehicle, you can have it declared “off-road” on the MID. You will then be issued a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN).

You also have the option of checking to see if someone else is insured if you’ve been involved in an accident. This will come with an administration fee of £10 for a one-off search. 

How can I check my car insurance expiry date for free?

AskMID will tell you if your vehicle is insured or not. If you want more detailed information, such as your coverage and claims history, you can request your data using the relevant form on the MID website. You can also contact them at 

Note that they may charge a fee if your request requires a lot of administrative work. They will contact you to let you know if this is the case.

Looking for another way to check your car insurance expiry date for free? Speak to your insurance company. They should be able to tell you right away without charging a penny. 

Not insured and don’t know where to begin?

First up: don’t drive

It’s important to have the proper protection in place before you drive on public roads. If you are caught driving a vehicle that you are not insured to drive, you could be issued a fine of £300 and six penalty points. The police also have the right to seize and even destroy a vehicle that is driven without the proper insurance.

Next up: talk to us. We’ll advise you on which insurance policy is right for your needs. 

To apply for car insurance, you’ll need the following information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Address
  • Occupation
  • Details of your motoring history, including any claims you’ve made to previous insurers
  • Your vehicle’s registration number, make, model, and age
  • Details of where your vehicle will be kept overnight
  • Estimation of your vehicle’s annual mileage
  • Intended use of your vehicle. For example, will you be using it for pleasure? To commute to and from work? Both? Will you be using it for business? If so, you’ll need business insurance, which you can find out more about here.

Insurance premiums are based on risk assessment. Insurance companies want to know the likelihood of you claiming and how much they will need to pay out if you do.

Insurers will consider your driving history, personal circumstances, and vehicle type to determine how much of a risk they think the combination may be on the road. Generally speaking, the higher the risk, the greater your insurance premiums. 

High-end cars and those with serious modifications come with a higher cost to insure. Personal factors such as how long you’ve been driving, how much driving you do, and where you live can all come into play.

Quickfire summary

If you want to drive on the roads in the UK, you need to have valid insurance. If you’re not sure whether your insurance has expired, there are a few ways to check. 

You can:

  • Check the paperwork you were given when you signed on to your policy. This was likely sent to you electronically and by post
  • Wait for an auto-renewal notice
  • Go through your bank statements
  • Get in touch with your insurance company
  • Use the askMID search bar

While auto-renewal policies are convenient in that you don’t have to worry about your insurance expiring, annually renegotiating your insurance may mean you always have the best rate and coverage available.

Good luck on the roads — and remember to give us a shout. We’ll give you personalised advice on finding the most affordable car insurance for your specific needs.

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