What Information do Car Insurance Companies have Access to in the UK?
Car insurance companies in the UK have access to motorist data from five different databases. The types of data available cover a range of topics that could be of interest to an insurer, from claims to driving offences to insurance fraud convictions.
The car insurance companies use this data to paint a picture of the risk presented by a motorist when they are applying for a car insurance quote and can impact the premium offered.
This is why many car insurance application forms request important information: the car’s registration number and the motorist’s driving licence number. It is usually possible to get a quote without providing these pieces of information, but the quote may not be accurate and will be subject to change once the motorist later provides this data.
In the case of good motorists with a safe record and no black marks in any of the databases, providing these key pieces of information upfront can mean quote systems provide lower initial pricing indications. Conversely, in the case of motorists with a poor record or a black mark of some kind, waiting to provide this information can mean a premium jumps up considerably once the relevant information is disclosed to the insurer.
The databases are important to help the motor insurance industry as a whole fight fraud and price policies according to the specific risk presented by an applicant. They also help prevent consumers from making multiple claims with different companies. Without these databases, insurance prices would surely rise for safe, responsible drivers.
Because of these databases, it is critical for a motorist to fully disclose any previous claims history when making an application for a new policy. If a claim is not disclosed, and later the new insurer discovers the claim via one of the databases, the customer could be deliberately withholding information. This could be declared to be an act of non-disclosure or misrepresentation, which could render a current insurance policy invalid.
Here are descriptions of the data that each of these databases holds about the UK’s motorists and vehicles.
Claims Underwriting Exchange (CUE): A general insurance claims database of all home, motor and personal injury claims. Data is recorded in CUE regardless of whether or not the insurer paid out. Managed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
Insurance Fraud Register (IFR): A list of everyone who has been convicted of insurance fraud. The IFR is a non-profit organisation sponsored by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on behalf of its members.
Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR): A record of all vehicles that have been stolen and not recorded or declared “write-offs” due to an accident. This database is also useful for motorists to access when buying a used car, to help ensure they’re not buying a car that has been significantly damaged. MIAFTR will be a part of most car vehicle checks.
My Licence Database: Data on each motorist’s driver’s licence and endorsements. Endorsements appear on a licence if a motorist has received a conviction and show the type of offence, the date of the offence, the date of conviction and the sentence (e.g., fixed penalty, fine, points, disqualification or another other penalty such as a community order or imprisonment). Providing one’s licence number when getting car insurance quotes enables an insurer to check the My Licence Database.
Motor Insurance Database (MID): Records of the insurance status of each registered vehicle in the UK, including the identity of an insurance company if a vehicle is insured. A car that is found to be uninsured could result in the registered keeper getting a fixed penalty of £100, having their vehicle wheel-clamped, impounded or destroyed or facing a court prosecution, with a maximum possible fine of £1,000.