All you need to know about your insurance and driving documentation 

Let me guess, you receive your insurance documentation, skim read it quickly to ensure it’s your name and car, then file it away and forget about it? Many of us are guilty of ignoring important information especially if we receive letters with pages of text. In this blog we will be covering the key aspects of your insurance and driving documentation including what you need to be aware of and what you need to check.

How can I check if my car is insured?

It can be quite difficult to remember renewal dates these days, especially when you have multiple payments to make. Whether it’s your mobile phone contract, TV license or your car insurance, trying to remember the dates is a hard task. However your insurance is a legality and you should always ensure the right cover is in place. If you want to find out when your insurance is due for renewal, you can check this in your policy documentation. Most insurers provide an electronic copy in an online portal or you may have received these in the post. If you can’t find your insurance documents, it may be worth calling your insurer to ask for information to be sent to you. You should always receive a renewal notification from your insurer, but it’s worth either writing your renewal dates down or putting reminders in your phone so you are prepared financially.

If you are unsure whether a car is currently insured or not, a quick and simple way to check is visiting the askMID website. All you need to do is enter your registration number and it will display if your vehicle is shown as insured on the Motor Insurance Database.

What details are displayed in my insurance documentation?

Within your insurance documents there are a lot of important factors that you need to be aware of and certainly need checking to ensure they are correct. In the event of an accident, incorrect information could invalidate your insurance and your insurer may refuse to pay out on a claim.

Levels of insurance cover

When taking out an insurance policy, there are usually three types of cover and you will have the option to choose one that suit your needs. These are comprehensive, third party fire and theft and third party only:

  • Comprehensive - This provides cover to you, your vehicle and the third party, whether that be a vehicle, property or other liabilities. Whilst also covering you for perils including storm, flood damage and vandalism.
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft - This covers a third party’s vehicle, property or other liabilities, whilst also covering you for perils like fire, storm and flood damage.
  • Third party only - This covers a third party’s vehicle, property or other liabilities, but does not cover accidental damage to your own vehicle.

Renewal date

A common mistake in insurance is either missing your renewal or taking out a new insurance policy with a new insurer a day late, resulting in driving uninsured for a day. Always check you have the correct date and time for when your current policy ends and when you need the new policy to start.

Vehicle type and registration plate

Another common error when taking out a policy is insuring the wrong vehicle simply from a typo when entering your registration number. Always double check you have entered this correctly and it displays the correct vehicle, otherwise your vehicle will not be insured.

Drivers on the policy

If you have additional drivers on your policy, check the insurer has the correct details. For example ensure the following is correct:

  • Names of drivers on the policy are spelt correctly
  • Drivers details including previous claims and convictions are detailed

Any incorrect information could invalidate an insurance policy if it came to making a claim.

Business use

If you use your vehicle to travel to more than one place of work, this is classed as business use and it is worth checking that this cover is included in your policy documents.

  • Business use class 1 – this covers the policy holder for social, domestic and pleasure as well as driving to and from a place of work. This also allows the driver to travel to other work destinations if required. Typically, this type of policy is just for the policy holder however depending on the insurer, a spouse or partner may be covered too. This will not include any form of commercial use, for example using the vehicle for deliveries.
  • Business use class 2 – similar to business use class 1 this level of cover does not allow any type of delivery or commercial use. Business use class 2 expands class 1 in which all named drivers on the policy will also be allowed to use the vehicle in relation to the business. This normally relates to business partners or spouses named on the same policy.
  • Business use class 3 – business use class 3 is the highest level of cover and includes everything from classes 1 and 2. As well as this it covers cars used for commercial purposes, for example door to door sales or fast food delivery.

Previous claims

When you go through a quote for a new insurance policy, the insurer is likely to ask for details on any previous claims or incidents. Sometimes it is possible that people forget to mention a previous claim or an accident where there was no claim made. Even if there was no claim made, your insurer still needs to know about the incident. The majority of the time, claims that have not been mentioned will be found on the Claims Underwriting Exchange. This is a system insurers use to record previous claims and incidents.

Where can I access my insurance documents?

When you take out an insurance policy all insurers have different methods on how to send insurance documents and how to allow their customers to access these. As we have mentioned above, most insurers now have an online portal or a self-service centre which allows customers to log onto their account to view and makes changes to their documents online. The benefit of this is you will not need to worry about losing your paper documents as they will be stored in your personal online account. Budget Insurance customers can access their documents on your Self Service Centre here.

How do I get a replacement MOT certificate?

The car MOT test is an annual vehicle safety test which needs to be completed every 12 months for cars that are older than 3 years. It is a legal requirement to ensure cars comply with roadworthiness standards. Once this has been completed you will be given an MOT certificate which you should also keep in a safe place. If you lose this, don’t worry you can request a new one by following the steps below:

  • Visit an MOT test centre. This does not have to be the one that completed your previous MOT test
  • Supply them with your vehicle registration number and your log book (V5C)
  • The MOT centre will then be able to supply you with a new certificate. A £10 charge applies for issuing a new certificate

For information on the latest changes to the MOT test, visit our blog here.

How do I get a replacement log book?

The log book is proof that you are the registered keeper of the vehicle. This means you are the person that is responsible for registering and taxing the vehicle. You will need this document if you ever sell your car or when buying a used car. It is possible to replace a log book and you can do this over the phone by calling the DVLA, as long as you’re the registered keeper. There is a £25 fee to be paid by credit or debit card when doing this.

Renting cars abroad

If you’re planning to go abroad this year, you may be thinking about hiring a car to get you from A to B. In this case you will need to remember to bring certain information with you. It might sound obvious, however it is common that people forget the right documents required to be able to hire a car abroad, resulting in disappointment on holiday. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Driving license - as expected the company will want to see you have a full driving license
  • Debit/Credit card - the majority of companies do not allow you to hire a car without a credit card. This is because they’re likely to reserve a deposit and only charge payments if necessary
  • Proof of booking - to simply show the company that you have made a reservation
  • Your passport - this is used as a proof of identification to match your driving license

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