Instantly check the validity of your car tax, car insurance, MOT and driving licence with our guide to official, free resources right here.
While many of us miss the reassurance of physical documents – such as the car tax disc and paper counterpart for our licence – the rise in digital motoring resources can help us check the history of cars we’re buying and make it easier and faster to get on the road then stay on the right side of the law when there. Find out what’s on offer here.
You can see clearly now… find out how to reveal your road tax status now the disc has left the windscreen
What is it: Road tax must be paid for all vehicles that are used on public roads, while a SORN is needed to account for vehicles that don’t have tax but aren’t kept or used on public highways. Some vehicles are exempt from paying road tax and a list of these can be found here. For those vehicles that do need to have road tax, failing to purchase it could result in an initial fine of £80, but failing to settle this could lead to prosecution and a penalty of up to £1000 plus costs. Untaxed vehicles left on public roads can be clamped and towed away. Use this road tax checker to ensure you’re vehicle is legal.
What has changed: The familiar tax disc from your windscreen was axed in 2014, to be replaced by a purely digital system. This has made it a lot harder for drivers to know when their vehicle’s tax has expired. The new system is further complicated by the fact that road tax cannot be transferred when a car is sold – as was possible with the tax disc system. Some sellers still include ‘road tax’ in their car’s advert, which is irrelevant and can lull some buyers into believing they don’t need to buy it. If you buy a new vehicle, you will always need to purchase new road tax.
What the check can tell you: The check can tell you if your vehicle is currently taxed and help ensure you avoid the risk of fines and having your vehicle taxed or towed.
How can I check it now: Simply head to the following address where you can enter the vehicle’s registration number and make. The website will confirm whether or not it’s taxed and has a current MoT certificate (use the separate MoT checker above to get the vehicle’s full MoT history).
Here’s all information you need to know about the digitalisation of MoT testing.
Click here to instantly check your car’s MoT status and history for free here.
BREAKING NEWS APRIL 2017: The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that paper MOT certificates should be viewed only as a receipt of a test and car buyers should always check validity using the Government’s online database.
In one case, a ‘sample’ document was downloaded from the Government website, doctored and then passed off as a genuine certificate. Make sure you check the validity of an MOT by using the official site, above.
Check your car’s MoT history for free and in seconds
What is it: The MoT is a certificate awarded to vehicles more than three years old that have passed a standard test to ensure they’re roadworthy. Driving your car on a public road without a valid certificate can result in a £1,000 fine, but will usually be dealt with by a penalty charge notice of £60. It can also invalidate your insurance in some circumstances.
What has changed: Despite the digitalisation of the MoT system, the paper certificate has not disappeared – yet! The document looks different and is printed out rather than handwritten as in the past. It will still include advisory notes on areas that need monitoring.
What the check can tell you: As you’d expect, the online check will reveal whether or not the vehicle has a current MoT certificate. However, it’ll also reveal a history of previous tests, with information such as pass or fail, what it failed on, advisory notes and milometer readings. This could all be vital information when buying a car to check how it has been treated by previous owners and if the mileage seems genuine. Large numbers of faults and advisory notes will suggest it was not looked after and the former owner may have skipped regular maintenance. Mileage inconsistencies – such as it going backwards, or small increments despite lots of advisories or faults – will suggest it might not be genuine and it’s time to smile and walk away.
How can I check it now: Checking MoT status and history is easy, fast and free. All you need is the registration number and make of the vehicle. Log on to the following website and enter the details for all records since 2005.
All cars that use public highways need insurance – make sure yours is valid here.
Click here to confirm if your car is currently insured.
Make sure you’re covered
What is it: All drivers must have valid insurance for their vehicle if it is to be used on public road. Third party insurance is the legal minimum, which means you’re covered if you have an accident causing damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property. Fully comprehensive covers the same, but also adds damage incurred to your own vehicle.
What has changed: You still need insurance, but there have also been some changes in how your vehicle insurance documentation is handled. The Motor Insurance Database (MID) must now be updated when any changes take place, meaning you won’t have to wait for a certificate to arrive before driving on the roads. In many cases you won’t ever receive a physical document, but will instead be emailed a digital version. It will no longer be a criminal offence to not return an insurance certificate if the policy is cancelled. Driving without insurance can be punished by a fine of up to £5,000 plus a maximum of 8 penalty points or instant driving ban. Uninsured cars can also be impounded and crushed.
What the check can tell you: Access to the Motor Insurance Database will tell you if a vehicle is insured on the day you check. However, it will not tell you the start and end dates of a policy, so regular checks will need to be made. You are only allowed to look up insurance details if the vehicle is registered/owned/ insured by you or your employer, or you are permitted to drive it. Insurance brokers can also look up the information if working for a client who is defined under the former stipulations. There is a separate service for looking up the insurance details and the owner of a vehicle involved in a collision with you. See below.
How can I check it now: Log on to the following website and enter your car’s details for an instant response.
Check your insurance status: Here are the sites you’ll need to check motor insurance:
Check your own car’s insurance here. Using this service is free.
Check a third-party’s insurance here. Using this service will cost £4.
Read this if checking insurance details of a car not connected to you
Checking insurance details on a car that has no connection to you is not permitted on the free check database above. You will need to pay £4 to check using the link below if any the following do not apply:
‘The vehicle is either registered/ owned/ insured by me or my employer; I am permitted to drive it; I am an Insurance Broker or agent and acting on behalf of my client’
Click here to check insurance on a car not connected to you
Check your MOT and road tax with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant
Brit motorist can now use Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to check the MOT and VED (road tax) status of their car.
The new product, known as ‘Skill’ will allow motorists to ensure that their vehicle is taxed and covered by a valid MOT without having to lift a finger. It could also save them a big fine.
Free to enable on the Alexa Skill Store, the service works by owners reading out the vehicle registration to an Alexa-enabled device such as an Echo. ‘Alexa’ then reads the information back, letting the customer know when their vehicle tax and MOT is due.
This information will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Are you paying more for insurance than you should be? Check your licence to see if the information is correct. You’ll also need to visit this site if you’re planning to hire a car in the UK or abroad.
Click here to instantly check the information held on your UK driving licence – using the free DVLA tool.
Give your licence a health check here
What is it: Your driving licence holds huge amounts of information about your life on the road, from the vehicles you can drive to endorsements you may have.
What has changed: The paper counterpart that accompanied your photocard licence was axed in 2015, meaning there is no physical attachment to view your driving record. This means you will not be able to check details such as endorsements or even your address – which, if wrong – can result in a £1,000 fine.
What the check can tell you: The ‘Licence Check’ website lets you check the information held about your driving record – such as address, endorsements and what vehicles you can drive. It can also provide a one-use code for hire car firms who want to check your licence when renting a vehicle.
How can I check it now: Use the following website to check your licence details or generate a code for a third party to view it. You will need the following information to use this service:
Your driving licence number and your National Insurance number.
See below to change the address on your licence and how to find your N.I number.
Other useful online resources
Use these resources to find other motoring-related information to help you save cash and avoid fines.
Use these resources for care-free motoring
Change the address on your licence
Swerve the prospect of a £1,000 fine by changing the address on your licence if it’s incorrect. Click here to find out more…
Have I paid the Dartford Crossing: Many motorists pay the toll for using the crossing only to receive a fine because the payment was not recognised. There is now a website that can tell you if your payment was successfully processed. You’ll need the vehicle payment number (found on the receipt) and vehicle registration number. Head here to check your payment.
Is your vehicle affected by the London Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) Driving a van, pick-up, truck, horsebox or other larger vehicle in London? You might be affected by the LEZ, which could cost you up to £200 a day to drive in the capital. The LEZ covers most of Greater London and is in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Forgetting to pay – or not knowing you need to could result in a £1,000 penalty. Check if you’re liable for the LEZ charge here:
Find out who owns a vehicle Are you looking for someone who hit your car, the owner of an abandoned vehicle or various other reasons, you can use the following website to download a form to request the details.