Many of us have felt that sudden surge of panic: “When is my car insurance due for renewal?” And if you’re not sure, it’s not something you can simply ignore.
Car insurance is crucial for driving on UK roads. Driving without an active car insurance policy is illegal and can result in serious penalties.
If you don’t know when your policy expires, this one’s for you. Here, we explain how to check when your car insurance is up for renewal, what to do if it’s already expired, and what to consider when searching for a new deal.
How do I know when to renew my car insurance?
Most car insurance policies are valid for one calendar year. At the end of that year, you’ll need to renew the policy or purchase another more suited to your needs.
Usually, you’ll be notified three to four weeks before your policy expires by your insurer that your coverage is coming to an end. And many car insurance policies have an auto-renewal option built in. This will automatically restart your policy at the end of its previous term.
However, it’s always worth confirming the end date of your car insurance policy and whether it will auto-renew to ensure you remain legally compliant.
Why is it important to check when my car insurance deal ends?
It may feel like the end of your car insurance policy term means extra admin.
But reassessing your needs at the end of the year allows you to check that you’re getting the best possible deal. For example, if your circumstances have changed over the last 12 months, like a new job requiring you to drive less, your premiums could be lowered.
It could also be an opportunity to check in with other providers to get competitive quotes.
With A-Plan car insurance, you get the best of both worlds. When it’s time to renew your policy, one of our consultants will get in touch directly to see what, if anything, has changed for you — and make sure you’re getting the best deal for you and your car.
How do I find out when my car insurance is due?
There are a few ways to check whether your car is currently insured.
- If you have a hard copy of your policy handy, the policy expiration date will be clearly noted (as will any auto-renewal clause).
- You can call your insurer and check in with them about the duration of your policy. If you’re unsure who your car is insured with, a quick search of your email account may give you the answer — along with when your policy is ending. Alternatively, check your bank statements to see which company is taking payments.
- Make sure to set up a reminder on your online calendar or smartphone. Set it for at least the month before so you can decide whether you’ll stay with your current insurer or look into other quotes.
- Possibly the easiest way to check whether your car insurance is due is through the motor insurers database. It won’t tell you when your insurance expires, but it will tell you whether you are safe to drive.
Can I check online when my car insurance runs out?
The motor insurers database just requires your car registration number and an assurance that you are the car’s owner or registered keeper. Any car that appears on this list is insured and legally allowed to be on the road.
Accessing this basic information is free. Additional information, like the insurer’s name, policy details or the insurance status of another car, can be searched for a fee.
A further search may be helpful to know who exactly is insured to drive the vehicle in question.
While you may have a car insurance policy in place, your partner, for example, would need to be a named driver on that policy to drive your car legally. The same goes for you should you drive anyone else’s vehicle for whatever reason.
When you insure your car with A-Plan, you’ll benefit from a Secure Document Portal, allowing you to easily access your policy details. All you need to set this up is your phone and policy numbers.
What should I do if my car insurance has expired?
If you suddenly realise your car insurance has expired, you must get an insurance policy in place as soon as possible.
You could renew with the insurer who previously held your policy or shop around for a new insurance provider who can provide you with a better deal. Either way, you cannot drive until you’re fully insured again. And then, of course, set a renewal reminder for next year!
Should you be stopped by the police, you may be asked to show your driving licence, MOT certificate and insurance certificate.
If you don’t have these documents, you’ll have seven days to present them at a police station to prove you were insured and licenced at the time.
If you’re caught driving without valid motor insurance, you could:
- get a fixed penalty of £100;
- have your vehicle wheel clamped, impounded or destroyed;
- and face court prosecution with a fine of up to £1,000.
If you are caught driving a car you’re not insured to drive (in other words, a named driver), you could be liable for:
- a fixed penalty of £300
- 6 penalty points on your licence.
Should the case go to court, you may also be looking at an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving. In addition, if you have an IN10 (driving without insurance) motoring conviction, your insurance premiums will likely increase.
What to consider when renewing your car’s insurance policy.
There are several ways you can save on your premiums when renewing your policy:
- Be sure to give the insurer accurate details about your circumstances. For example, the type of car you drive, how often and how far. More powerful and luxurious vehicles are more expensive to insure, as are those that drive a lot. If you suddenly find yourself working from home, you may find your vehicle cheaper to insure.
- Have you made any security upgrades in the last year? Is your car now parked off the street overnight or in a locked garage? Have you moved address? Have you fitted any anti-theft devices recently? Such changes could lower your insurance costs as they prevent theft and vandalism.
- If you haven’t made an insurance claim in a while, you may find your insurer willing to drop the cost of your policy. The more years you have been claim-free, the better.
- Some insurers offer discounts on policies paid annually rather than monthly.
- Agreeing to a higher excess may decrease your insurance costs.
Read more: How Does a No-Claims Bonus Work?
Do I need car insurance for an unused car in storage?
A car that is taken off the road (in other words, kept in a garage, a driveway, or on private land and not driven on a public road) can be issued with a Statutory Off Road Notice or SORN.
According to gov.uk, you must make a SORN if:
- your vehicle is not taxed
- your vehicle is not insured (even if this is due to a delay in renewing your policy)
- you want to break the vehicle down for parts before you scrap it
- you buy or receive a vehicle and want to keep it off the road (a SORN cannot be transferred between owners).
You can easily make a SORN for a vehicle online if it’s registered in your name, and you’ll receive a refund on any full months of remaining tax. Should the car return to the road at any point, it must be taxed and insured again before you can drive it.
The yearly task of renewing your car insurance can feel like just one more thing to do on an already lengthy to-do list.
But while there’s no way to get around it (it’s legally required and must be done), consider it a chance to make sure you’re on the best deal for your situation.
If you’re looking for a car insurance expert to find the best, most cost-effective policy to fit your requirements, chat with A-Plan over the phone or at one of our 100+ branches nationwide.
Check your car insurance expiry date today, and let us save you money without compromising cover. Get started here.