Check your motor insurance record on the MID
Unlike the MOT database, the MID may not be updated instantly as it relies on your insurer making the necessary entry following either the issue or renewal of your motor insurance cover, so there is a danger of being caught if insurance is not in place in good time. Mistakes have also been known in recording the information, so you are recommended to check that the Motor Insurance Database or MID entry for your car is correct. This can be done very easily at the ASKMID website at

Risk of vehicle confiscation
A recent newsletter from the Federation of Historic British Vehicle Clubs or FHBVC set out some alarming reports of on the spot seizures of cars where the MID record showed the car to be uninsured. The text of the item is reproduced below from FHBVC bulletin 4, 2008.

Motor insurance certificate
Various measures have been put into place with a view to cutting down on uninsured driving, the most significant being the Motor Insurance Database (MID) which records in a central database of which vehicles are currently insured. The advantage of this to the car owner is that a tax disc can be obtained online without the need to present documents at a Post Office. The advantage to the police is that using Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology in conjunction with that database they can check vehicles on the road without having to stop them. If they find a vehicle which appears to be uninsured, they have the power to impound it until a current certificate of insurance is produced.
Making a check with ASKMID service
It is a very easy process - simply go to the ASKMID website at and type in your registration number, tick the box to confirm you own the vehicle and then a report will pop up. In the case below a YES report popped up confirming the MID has recorded the insurance cover is in effect for the vehcle.

Updated: 13.12.08
Feedback required
Any members with personal or accurate accounts of other incidents involving threatened confiscation or actual confiscation of a vehicle by the police, using the discretionary powers provided by the amendment to the 1988 Road Traffic Act mentioned in the bulletin alongside, are urged to let the V8 Webmaster know so we can pulish details for fellow members and can let the FHBVC have the information too.
V8 Webmaster
FHBVC bulletin 4, 2008
Measures to enforce insurance (from the record)

As reported in previous newsletters, whilst legislation has been passed to introduce this concept, we are not aware of any further progress on its introduction at the time of writing.

We have heard of instances where local police forces have recently been more active in confiscating vehicles deemed to be uninsured according to the Motor Insurance Database (MID). This of course is only as good as the data supplied by the insurance companies, who undertake to notify the MID within seven days of commencement of cover. We are aware of the deficiencies of fleet policies, and some special schemes, which occasionally do not pass over the information to keep the database showing that vehicles are properly insured, but it should be remembered that there is an obligation to keep the MID informed.

These errors and omissions usually only come to light when trying to tax vehicles on line. This should be a warning bell that your vehicle is not on the MID and you should contact your broker or insurer immediately. But remember also that Automatic Number Plate Recognition or ANPR cameras, both static and mobile, treat the MID as absolute gospel!
It has not (as yet) been compulsory to carry an original or copy insurance certificate with you (as in many countries) and sub section (4) of section 165 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act allowed for its production within seven days. However the recent spate of on the spot seizures relies on the amendment to the 1988 RTA by Section 152 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 which has inserted subsection (6) of the new section 165A which talks of producing documents immediately; a conflicting mismatch. This latest amendment is discretionary and could be seen as poor policing if used in this way unless other factors of serious crime are present.

Private individuals can check whether their own vehicle is on the MID by contacting ASKMID on

Obviously this is not just an historic vehicle issue but if a motorist is stopped and can't remember who they are insured with, an overzealous official could seize the vehicle causing physical inconvenience and monetary loss, as contractors will charge for removal and storage.

The Federation will be raising this matter with the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group and may contact the Association of Chief Police Officers.
For more road tax, SORN and motor insurance items see our running index. More