The motorbike insurance industry now has the use of a Motor Insurance Database; this holds information of all motor insurance policies including cars, motorbikes, vans, and Lorries. In addition, records of your vehicles MOT and Road Tax are also kept on databases. These are all accessible by the police, to determine whether a vehicle is legally fit to be on the road.
These databases were created to catch uninsured vehicles on the road, in addition to vehicles that are either untaxed or without a MOT certificate. Uninsured drivers alone cost the government on average around 380 million pounds according to the DirectGov website.
This money is added to our motorbike insurance policies, and costs the honest motorist on average 30 pounds per policy according to the DirectGov website. This is called IPT (Insurance Premium Tax) costing you five percent of your insurance premium.
The database also holds information of whether you have an insurance policy on another vehicle, which entitles you to drive any other vehicle, in the event you are driving a friends vehicle.
The combination of the insurance and MOT databases, enable us to buy our road tax online, making the whole process much easier, and does not cost us any more money. This is provided that your insurance and MOT information has been stored on the database correctly.
Motorbike insurance companies check their information against the database on a regular basis, keeping it both up to date and correct. If a customer of bike insurance has for example provided an incorrect registration number, this will be picked up by the checks in a matter of days. The client is then contacted to rectify this error, some of the time it may be that the vehicle has been sold, and the insurance policy has not been cancelled.
Many vehicles that are sold do not have their insurance policies cancelled. When the new rider or driver then tries to insure the vehicle, this can cause complications, as a vehicle cannot be insured twice. You must always cancel an insurance policy on a vehicle you no longer own, as this can also cause complication for you if the vehicle is involved in an accident.
Motorbike insurance companies have the responsibility to keep the database as up to date as humanly possible, meaning that if any information is delayed over a set time, the insurance company can face fines for this. This is why the insurers require certain paperwork from customers to be returned within a certain time, and if this is not received, they can invoke cancellation procedures.
However, there can be delays of a few days before your information appears on the database. The information is transmitted overnight from the insurance companies to the database. So do not expect to tax your vehicle the same day as insuring it, whether you have insured it over the phone, or online.
The police have the ability to scan vehicle registration number plates, and check the database for insurance, tax, and MOT in a matter of seconds. If your vehicle is found uninsured, the police have the power to seize your vehicle, with the possibility of destroying it in the event no one with valid insurance claims it. This will enable them to crack down on vehicles that are not fit to be on the road.
Having the database in place is an advantage to us all; it speeds up both police checks, and helps to crack down on uninsured drivers making it a very efficient way of accessing the data. Therefore, whether you are uninsured, untaxed or your vehicle has no MOT, it is only a matter of time before you are caught.
Anna Stenning is an expert on motorbike insurance having applied for many insurance policies in the past.