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How do the Police Know if a Vehicle is Insured?

A sophisticated network of ANPR cameras is connected to the Motor Insurance Database in order to find and penalize uninsured vehicles. Below we explain how the police find uninsured vehicles and take action against them.

How do the Police Know if a Vehicle is Insured?

Police can easily tell if a vehicle is insured using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras that instantaneously read number plates and check them against the database of insured vehicles at the Motor Insurance Database (MID). The MID contains details of all insured vehicles in the UK. If a vehicle is not listed in the MID, it's not insured (unless the database has incorrect information, which can happen).

Police who pull over a vehicle they suspect is uninsured have the option to contact the MID police helpline in order to clarify the information about driver and vehicle. Unfortunately, the MID police helpline has reduced their hours of operation, so they're only available Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

The police can also contact your insurer if you think you're insured, but the details are not showing in the MID.

Where are ANPR cameras located?

ANPR cameras are mounted inside police vehicles (where a camera checks vehicles in front) and at fixed locations (where cameras scan all passing cars).

What happens if I'm caught for being uninsured?

It's illegal to drive without car insurance. If your vehicle is uninsured and the police catch you, they can:

  • Issue 6 points on your license
  • Issue a fine of £300
  • Seize your vehicle

Cases brought to court can result in the vehicle being destroyed and the driver receiving an unlimited fine as well as a driving ban.

Will I be caught if my car is not insured?

There are currently around 11,000 ANPR cameras in the UK that perform around 50 million ANPR checks each day. The Avon and Somerset police reported that ANPR checks led to around 250,000 fixed penalty notices being automatically issued for uninsured vehicles annually. And according to the MIB, a whopping 132,804 vehicles were seized in the UK in 2018. So yes, it's likely you'll be caught if you're uninsured.

Get vehicle insurance TODAY. Don't risk being uninsured. It's illegal, and not worth the risk.

Can I check if a vehicle is uninsured?

Yes. Regular people can also access the MID to check the insurance status of their own vehicle or another vehicle (e.g., in the case of an accident). Simply head to to make sure your own vehicle shows up as insured in the MID. To check another vehicle not owned by you then use the MID's third party Lookup Enquiry search.