What is AskMID?

How to get a free car insurance check

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By Cai Bradley
Updated on Friday 7 July 2023

AskMID insurance check article keyboard graphic

Not knowing whether or not your car or van is insured is a high-risk gamble, and if your vehicle isn’t covered, you could face points on your licence, fines, a driving ban, losing your car, and even a prison sentence in some extreme cases.

Thankfully, with the help of AskMID’s free car insurance check on askmid.com, finding out whether your vehicle's insurance status is currently valid has never been easier.

Not only does AskMID allow you to check if your own vehicle is insured, but it can also be used to find out whether a third-party’s insurance policy is valid if you’re ever involved in a road traffic accident, and it is also used by the police to stop and seize any cars belonging to uninsured drivers.

If your vehicle is not on AskMID, you might need to buy car insurance unless you’ve recently bought a new policy and it’s taking a bit longer to update.

Here, we explain what AskMID is, whether or not it is reliable, how it might be useful for you, and what you should do if your car or van does not show on the database.

Jump to:

What is askmid.com?

Third-party car insurance check

What if I'm hit by an uninsured driver?

Do police use Ask MID?

How long does it take to update?

What doesn't AskMID show?

If your car is not showing on the MID

Driving without insurance

What is AskMID and how does it work?

Ask MID is a free website that gives people access to the Motor Insurance Database (MID) so that they can enter their vehicle’s registration number to check and view up-to-date, accurate information regarding the status of their car or van insurance cover.

What is the MIB and MID?

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which acts on behalf of the government, is in control of the Motor Insurance Database (MID) and also helps provide compensation to victims of car accidents caused by uninsured drivers. The MID is an online system that is managed by the MIB and holds information on all insured vehicles in the UK.

The main purpose of the MID is to allow the government to make sure all vehicles that drive on UK roads are covered by an insurance policy, as is required by UK law.

The AskMID service is also there to give members of the public access to the Motor Insurance Database in order to check whether their vehicle is insured (if ever they are unsure or need to find out for claims purposes).

What is AskMID used for?

The AskMID service can be used to:

  • Check the current status of your own car insurance
  • Check the insurance status of a third-party following a car accident (at a cost)

AskMID: Is my car insured?

To check the status of your motor insurance, all you need is the vehicle registration number.

You simply visit the ownvehicle.AskMID webpage, enter your vehicle registration number, tick the data protection declaration, and confirm that you’re not a robot. Easy enough, right?

AskMID insurance check form

Once you click the big ‘Check this vehicle’ button, you’ll either see a red message stating ‘No, this vehicle is showing as UNINSURED on the Motor Insurance Database today’ or a green message stating ‘Yes, this vehicle is showing as INSURED on the MID today'. You’ll also get the vehicle’s make and model as it’s listed on the Ask MID website.

AskMID car insurance check result

The Ask MID search history remains private and your current (and future) car insurance premiums will not be affected by your car insurance checks.

You cannot, however, use this particular search to view the information of other parties. So how do you get information about a third party from the Ask MID website if you’ve been involved in an accident?

A third-party car insurance validity check after an accident

To find out someone else's insurance details following a car accident, you are required to make a formal enquiry, which requires a small fee.

AskMID is free to use if you’re looking for information on your own vehicle, but you must pay to view information about a third party.

To do so, head to the AskMID homepage and look for the ‘Other Vehicle Look-up’ link on the right-hand side. Clicking there should take you to a form that you are required to complete, followed by a single debit or credit card charge of £10.

This check can be used by pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, passengers, or property owners that have been in an incident involving another vehicle. If the Ask MID check finds that the vehicle registration does have a valid car insurance policy, you will be provided with a policy number, name of the insurer, and claims contact details.

What is third-party car insurance?

Third-party only car insurance (TPO) is the minimum level of motor cover required to drive on UK roads and provides protection against the costs associated with other parties. This includes other pedestrians, drivers, vehicles, and properties, so you’re protected if ever you’re involved in an at-fault car accident.

You can learn more about third-party car insurance and the other types of policies available in the UK in our guides:

What happens if you are hit by an uninsured driver in the UK?

According to MIB, there are around 1 million uninsured drivers in the UK, so the chances of you being involved in an accident with one are not as slim as you may think at first.

If, after checking on Ask MID, you discover that the vehicle you were involved in an incident or car crash with is uninsured, you should proceed to begin a claim through the MIB.

The MIB fund can help you claim compensation for personal injury and vehicle damage if you were not at fault. If you were at fault, however, the MIB will not be able to help you make a claim. 

Depending on the complexity of the incident, it could take up to five months for your car accident claim to be processed with the MIB. 

Remember, your car insurance policy may cover you for personal injury and repairs in the event of an accident too, but you’ll need to work out if it’s worth claiming on your policy. If the cost of damage isn’t that much, you may want to avoid claiming on your policy so that you keep your No Claims Bonus (NCB) for future, cheaper premiums.

As with your own vehicle search, the owner of the third-party car will not be notified that you've been checking their details and the process will stay private.

Do police use AskMID?

The police use the MID check alongside their automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR) to detect uninsured vehicles and get them off the road as soon as possible.

The ANPR uses information from the Motor Insurance Database, which leads to over 500 illegal vehicles being seized each day and one uninsured driver being convicted every three minutes.

The MID is also compared with the DVLA’s registered keeper records to identify uninsured vehicles.

Uninsured drivers could face a minimum £300 fine and six penalty points on their licence, and the more severe consequences are a lot worse, so it’s always worth taking out cover.

Learn more: The Consequences of NOT Having Car Insurance

How long does AskMID take to update?

The Motor Insurance Database is updated minute by minute and receives up to 10,000 car insurance updates every hour from UK car insurance companies to stay as accurate as possible.

If your policy is brand new, it might not show on AskMID immediately, but it should usually appear within 48 hours and a maximum of seven working days.

Is AskMID legit?

AskMID is a legitimate website that is used by both the police and the government in their attempt to tackle uninsured drivers on UK roads.

If you can’t see your vehicle on AskMID, there is a chance that it is either not insured or your information hasn’t been updated by your insurance company yet. If you’re unsure, you should check your insurance documents as soon as possible (read more about this below).

What doesn’t the AskMID search show?

The AskMID ‘own vehicle search’ only provides you with your vehicle’s make and model, and whether or not it is insured. There is no information about the policy provider or any sort of policy number.

If you would like to see your vehicle’s full insurance details and history, then you are required to download a ‘Data Subject Access Request’ form directly from the MIB.

Remember that you won’t be able to check any information on the vehicle’s service or MOT history on AskMID, but you will be able to find such details if you get a HPI check.

Additionally, you cannot use AskMID to check if your car or another vehicle is taxed; you can only look up your own tax details, which can be done by visiting the GOV.UK website here - records can take up to 5 working days to be updated. 

If your car is not showing on AskMID

As stated on the website itself as a friendly reminder, if your vehicle's details are not found on the MID after doing the car insurance check, you risk being fined and facing court prosecution. Your vehicle might also be impounded or destroyed if you cannot provide proof of valid insurance. With this in mind, it is always worth making sure you have easy access to your car insurance policy in case you are stopped by the police.

If you need insurance cover as soon as possible, you can get a cheap policy today from Confused.com by using the button below. Remember, when comparing policies, make sure you get the right policy for your needs as well as your budget.

My insurance status is incorrect - what do I do?

If you have checked your insurance status on askMID and believe that it is incorrect, the first step is to contact your insurance provider to confirm the details of your policy. They can check their records to see if there are any errors or issues with your policy, and make any necessary updates or corrections.

If you have been notified by the police or another enforcement agency that your vehicle is not showing as insured on the MID, you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to resolve the issue. Driving without insurance is a serious offence in the UK and can result in penalties and fines, so it is important to ensure that your insurance status is correct.

If you have already contacted your insurance provider and the issue has not been resolved, you may need to contact the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) for assistance. The MIB is responsible for maintaining the MID and can help to investigate and resolve issues with insurance status.

Can I use askMID to check the insurance status of motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles?

Certainly! The AskMID database encompasses various vehicle types, such as motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters.

How could my car be wrongly listed?

It is crucial to always double check your insurance details as simple errors can lead to mismatches. When obtaining or renewing insurance, it is important to watch out for common mistakes such as:

  • Confusing 'O' with zero: Ensure that you correctly differentiate between the letter 'O' and the numerical digit '0.' Mistaking one for the other can cause discrepancies in your insurance information.
  • Swapping letters: Pay close attention to the order of letters in your vehicle's registration number. Transposing or reversing two letters by mistake can result in incorrect records.

Is it illegal to drive without insurance in the UK?

It is a criminal offence to drive on UK roads without car insurance, so be sure that you have sufficient cover regardless of how little you use your vehicle. If needs be, consider taking out temporary car insurance if you only use the vehicle during short-term periods.

If you’re not sure where to start, head over to Confused.com to get your car insurance quotes from a variety of providers.

Confused.com is the longest-running car insurance comparison site in the UK, so your premiums are in safe hands.

Do I need a SORN?

If you dont intend on driving your vehicle for a period of time and it is being kept on private land (not on any public roads or areas) then you will need to apply for a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notice), and once this has been granted, you do not need insurance.

However, as soon as you plan on driving the vehicle again, you must cancel your SORN and get the necessary car insurance in place straight away. 

You are able to get a SORN online by using the Government’s website similar to how you would tax your vehicle.

If you have a V5C vehicle log book, you can apply for a SORN almost instantly with very little hassle, but be sure that it’s the right option for you before doing so.

How long is a SORN valid for?

Your SORN will remain valid for as long as you want it to, provided you don’t take the vehicle out of the country.

Do you have to pay for a SORN?

Another reason why you should consider getting a SORN to avoid significant fines is that it is completely free - all you need to do is complete the online form.

You could even get some cash back if you have outstanding tax paid, so be sure to check this when you apply for yours.

My car is insured but not showing on AskMID insurance check

There are some circumstances under which your car could be insured, but not listed on the MID. For example, if your car insurance is brand new and simply hasn’t been processed on the MID yet, or if there's an issue with any new registration plates.

If your new vehicle is insured but does not show on AskMID, check again in a few days as there might be a delay. If it’s still not showing up, you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to have the issue resolved, or you could be at risk of being pulled over and having your car seized by the police.

See the AskMID contact page for more information on who you should contact in the event of any relevant issues. AskMID does not provide a direct phone number for inquiries or assistance.

Use AskMID and avoid the consequences of driving without insurance

Despite not showing a great level of detail, using AskMID to check the status of your car insurance for free is the most efficient way of checking whether your vehicle is covered or not.

See our full ‘Is My Car Insured?’ guide for more information on getting the full details of your car insurance policy (including the policy provider, history, and more).

Alternatively, see more related articles below:

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