Motor insurance is compulsory in the UK, yet as many as one in twenty cars is being driven without insurance. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured vehicle, you may not be able to recover the cost of repairing or replacing your own. If you are caught driving a vehicle without a valid insurance policy, you could face a large fine, penalty points on your driving licence, or, in the worst case, a driving ban. The police also have authority to seize uninsured vehicles. A fee must be paid to release impounded vehicles in addition to recovery charges and in some cases they can even be destroyed.
The Motor Insurance Database, or MID, is the UK’s only centralised database of vehicle insurance policies. It was set up by the Motor Insurance Bureau to help crack down on uninsured drivers. Insurers and brokers upload the details of car insurance and van insurance to the MID, which is updated over 10,000 times an hour. Motor traders and fleet managers are responsible for entering information about the vehicles on their register, and ensuring that the details are kept up to date. The database is regularly cross checked with the DVLA’s vehicle ownership records.
The MID is used by the police, in conjunction with automatic number plate recognition, to detect and crack down on motorists driving illegally, without insurance. The DVLA, the DSA, and other public bodies can also refer to the database when performing checks, as can insurers and brokers.
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Private individuals can also access the database to check the details of their own vehicle. A quick check can bring you peace of mind, especially if you have recently changed vehicle or insurer. If you drive a vehicle it is your responsibility to check that its details are on the MID, just as with a privately owned vehicle.
Checking on your own vehicle is free of charge. For a small fee, you can also check insurance details for a vehicle which does not belong to you. This can be invaluable if you have had an accident involving another vehicle, to ensure that the other driver has given you accurate information, and to check that they are insured. Getting accurate details at the scene could save you a great deal of time, money, and trouble.