Insured drivers face cop stopRenewing car cover late may prompt police action

23 April 2009

Car insurance

It can be tricky to compare car insurance policy details

Insured drivers face being stopped by the police if they have left renewing car insurance to the last minute. They risk being confronted by the police because their new details may not have been recorded on the Motor Insurance Database. 

The Motor Insurance Database (MID) records the details of more than 34 million insured vehicles and is used by the police to trace and apprehend uninsured drivers. However, as policy details are deleted the moment they expire and it can take up to four days for new details to be added to the system, there is a window when an insured vehicle registers as uninsured. 

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said: 'We have certainly noticed a big increase in the number of calls from the MID and the police to confirm that a customer is insured after being stopped. A couple of years ago we would get one or two such calls a month, now it's around 500 calls a month.'

Don't get stopped

The AA provides tips on how to about getting stopped erroneously. For instance, it recommends renewing insurance policies early and informing your insurer in plenty of time if you are changing your car. It also suggests keeping your car insurance policy with you for a few days after it arrives in the post. Policy holders can also check whether their correct policy details appear on the MID by accessing its record database.

Uninsured drivers cost consumers millions  

More than 30,000 claims are made against uninsured drivers involved in road accidents, and three people are injured every hour by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. It is a problem that costs the insurance industry over £500 million a year, adding around £30 to every legitimate motorist's annual premium.  

In 2008 170,000 uninsured vehicles were stopped by the police in an ongoing campaign, up from 78,000 in 2006. One in ten cars on UK roads is estimated to be uninsured.