Motor Insurance Database (MID)

New rule could catch innocent drivers

29 October 2007

A rule change, designed to tighten the grip on uninsured driving and coming into effect in January 2008, could catch thousands of innocent drivers out if they are late renewing their car insurance.

From 1 January, insurers must register customers' insurance details on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) within seven days, rather than the current 14. This means that customers who don't renew their cover before expiry of their existing cover, perhaps through simple oversight, could find themselves being stopped by police on suspicion of being uninsured.

Explains John Close, insurer relations director at AA insurance: "Police use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology which instantly cross-checks registration numbers against the MID. If a checked vehicle is not on the database the equipment alerts police who can then stop it. If the driver can't prove that he or she is covered, the car could be confiscated.

"One out of every 20 drivers deliberately avoids paying insurance which is nothing short of scandalous. In conjunction with the Motor Insurers' Bureau, which runs the MID, the police are rightly taking a tough line against this criminal motoring underclass," he says.

Drivers who allow their cover to expire before attempting to renew will find their insurer has no choice but to immediately update the expiry to the MID to ensure they comply with the new seven-day rule.

"Customers can no longer delay renewing their insurance, even by a day," John Close says. "If they do, they risk being stopped by police for driving without insurance."

This rule change follows a successful year during which, for the first time, the number of uninsured drivers on Britain's roads shows signs of falling.

Since July 2005 nearly 100,000 cars have been seized by police for insurance or license infringements.

Nevertheless, according to the MIB the annual cost to the insurance industry of accidents and injury caused by uninsured drivers is over £500m. These claims are met by the Motor Insurers' Bureau and financed by a levy on insurance companies equating to about £30 per policy per year.

"I'm delighted that at last, inroads are being made into this shocking cost to innocent motorists although there is still a long way to go," John Close adds.

AA insurance is urging drivers

  • Don't ignore or put aside renewal notices from your insurer – act promptly
  • Ensure you renew or buy new insurance before your existing cover expires (but valid from the expiry date). This way your cover will be continuously recorded on the MID
  • If you miss renewal, don't drive your car until your new policy has been arranged. Your insurer will provide policy details by telephone or e-mail – keep this information with you along with your insurer's telephone number, to confirm your cover to police, in case you are stopped
  • Consider automatic renewal of your car insurance – that way, you won't run the risk of driving without proof of cover. If you want to change your insurer, make sure you do so before expiry of your current insurance
  • You can check to see if your car is on the Motor Insurance Database by going to www.askmid.com and keying in your registration number. If it is not registered, contact your insurer immediately.

Notes to Editors

  • The new Motor Insurers' Bureau rules take effect from 1st January 2008.
  • Last year there was a 3.8% reduction in claims from victims of uninsured drivers (Source MIB)
  • Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 - introduced in July 2005 - gives police officers power to seize vehicles from drivers who they suspect do not have insurance or a driving licence.
 

29 October 2007