When is my car insurance due? How to check your renewal

Written by Steve Cook

Published on

Car insurance is a legal requirement for every driver in the UK. It's also an important part of being a responsible vehicle owner.

If you’re wondering whether your car insurance is due for renewal, there are lots of ways to find out.

Here’s the quick answer:

To check if your car insurance is due to be renewed, first check your policy documents for the expiry date. You can also contact your insurance provider, or use online resources like the Motor Insurance Database for the exact renewal date.

Keep reading to learn about all the ways you can check your policy’s renewal date.

When is my car insurance due?

How to check your renewal date

Here are some of the easiest ways to check when your insurance needs to be renewed.

1. Check your documents

The simplest way to check your insurance expiry date is by looking at your policy documents. Insurance companies typically send these by email or in the post. Your 'Certificate of Insurance' will list the start and end dates of your policy.

2. Wait for your renewal reminder

Most insurers will send you a renewal notice a few weeks before your policy ends. This could be by email, in the post, or both. This notice will include the exact expiry date, and other important details like your renewal quote amount.

3. Contact your insurer

If you can't find your documents, and you haven’t received your reminder, a call or message to your insurance provider is a quick way to find out when your policy expires.

4. Check your bank statements

Whether you pay for your insurance annually or monthly, reviewing your bank statements can help you to track the first payment date. Your policy is likely to expire 12 months from this date.

5. Check the Motor Insurance Database (MID)

The MID can provide details about your insurance status. While the basic search is free, a more detailed search (with a fee) can offer the information you need, including the start and end dates of your cover.

Driving without valid motor insurance can get you into trouble. If you’re caught by the police, you’re likely to receive a fine, and you could be prosecuted or even banned from driving.

If your insurance has expired, you must take out the right level of cover before driving again.

By law, it's illegal to keep an uninsured car unless it’s registered as SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).

Tips for managing your car insurance

  • Calendar reminders – Set reminders on your calendar or smartphone to let you know about the renewal date a few months in advance.
  • Automatic renewals – Consider setting up an automatic renewal with your insurer – it’ll keep your insurance going and avoid any gaps in your cover.
  • Check your policy regularly – Review your policy a few times throughout the year to make sure it aligns with your needs, especially if there have been changes in your driving habits or personal circumstances.

Staying up-to-date on your car insurance renewal can save you a lot of hassle (and money) over the long run. By being organised and proactive, you can avoid legal issues, financial penalties, and make sure you have the right cover when you need it.

Always remember to review and adjust your policy to suit your needs, and be sure to get quotes from different insurers to find the best deal for you.

Frequently asked questions

When is the best time to renew my car insurance?

The best time to renew your car insurance is usually 21–30 days before your annual policy expires, or 7 days before your 30-day policy ends. This time frame allows you to compare quotes from different insurers, and hopefully find the best deal for you.

Renewing early helps you avoid any last-minute price increases, and makes sure that your insurance keeps running without any gaps in coverage.

What happens if I get caught driving without insurance?

Driving without insurance in the UK is illegal, and a serious offence. If caught, you could face a fixed penalty of up to £300, and six points on your driving licence. If the case goes to court, you could be fined up to £5,000, face disqualification from driving, and even have your vehicle seized. That’s why it’s really important to make sure you’re fully covered to drive at all times.

Does my car need insurance if I don’t use it?

If you’re not using your car and it's parked on a public road, you’ll still need to have at least third party insurance in place. You can avoid paying insurance while not using your car by declaring it as off-road with a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN). With a SORN, you’re not allowed to drive the car, and it must be stored on private property, such as a secure garage or driveway. You’ll also need to renew the SORN each year.

What should I do if I can't find my policy documents?

If your policy documents are lost or go missing, first get in touch with your insurer and ask for new copies. Most insurance providers will allow you to download them online or through their app.

If you urgently need to know when your policy expires, you can review your bank statements to see when your current insurance payment was taken, or when your monthly repayments started. Your policy will typically expire 12 months after that date. But, if you can, always check with your insurer to be sure.

Is there a way to check my car insurance status online?

The Motor Insurance Database (MID) allows you to check the current status of your car insurance online using your vehicle's registration number. The basic search is free, but for a more detailed search, including the start and end dates of your cover, you may need to pay a fee.

What happens if I drive with expired car insurance?

Driving with expired car insurance can lead to penalties such as fines, points on your driver's licence, and even a driving ban. It’s illegal to drive without insurance in the UK. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re fully covered to drive at all times.

How can I ensure I don't forget to renew my car insurance?

Set calendar reminders or phone alerts to help you remember when your car insurance is due for renewal. Most insurers will send you a renewal quote a few weeks before your policy expires. If you have the option to enable automatic renewals on your policy, it can be a good way to keep your cover running, without having to remember to renew. Just be sure to check that the insurance you’re buying is still suitable for you and your driving habits.

Can I switch insurance providers for a better deal?

Yes, you can switch to a different insurance provider when your current policy expires. You might want to do this if you’ve found a better deal, or if your current insurance isn’t right for you.

Always make sure that you’ve found a new insurer and agreed a quote before your current policy expires – that way you can avoid any gaps in your cover.