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Insurance and MOT needed to tax your vehicle

Before you can tax your vehicle you must have suitable insurance cover in place and, if applicable, the vehicle must also have a valid MOT test certificate.

Insurance cover needed to tax your vehicle

In order to tax your vehicle, you must have insurance cover that:

  • covers you against third party claims for death or injury and damage to property caused by using the vehicle
  • covers your use of the vehicle for taxing purposes
  • is valid on the day the tax disc comes into force

The insurance policy for your vehicle may allow you to drive any other vehicle with the owner’s permission. However, your policy can't be used as evidence of suitable insurance to tax any other vehicle.

If your insurance cover for taxing purposes is not clear, you may need to provide additional evidence. Please contact your insurance company for advice.

The wrong insurance cover, an overdue MOT, insurance certificates that are incorrect, misplaced or late arriving can all stop you taxing your vehicle on time.

Insurance certificates and cover notes

These are usually a printed or laser-printed document, or a plastic credit card style document.

The following documents are not acceptable:

  • policy schedule, renewal notice, statement of Insurance or receipt for payment
  • photocopies or faxes

Motor dealers' insurance is not acceptable when licensing a vehicle in the new owner's name.

Lost, stolen or damaged insurance certificate

If you have lost, stolen or damaged your insurance certificate, you should get a duplicate insurance certificate or cover note from your insurance company.  

Waiting for your insurance certificate to arrive in the post or update online

You can't tax your vehicle until your insurance certificate arrives or your insurance cover for your vehicle has updated on the Motor Insurance Database. You must keep your vehicle off the road in the meantime.

MOT due dates

An MOT test is needed every year for:

  • cars, motorcycles, motor caravans if more than four years old
  • light goods vehicles under 3500 kgs if more than three years old
  • heavy goods vehicles over 3500 kgs if more than one year old
  • passenger carrying vehicles with more than eight seats (excluding private hire vehicles) if more than one year old
  • taxis and private hire vehicles from new
  • buses from new

A Public Service Vehicle (PSV) certificate can only be used by the person who applied for the certificate and who is using the vehicle as a taxi. Once the vehicle changes hands and is no longer used as a taxi, the vehicle will need a MOT certificate.

  • Why must vehicles be tested?  

MOT Exemption – pre 1960 vehicles

From 30 September 2013, motor cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles manufactured or registered before 1960 are exempt from the mandatory MOT test.

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) continue to offer tests on a voluntary basis, but only at the request of the vehicle owner. It is anticipated that the bulk of voluntary tests will be from vehicles intended for Cherished Transfers as the registration transfer scheme still requires a test certificate.

The vehicle inspection process has not changed, and all pre 1960 vehicles booked for testing continue to be inspected in the normal way. MOT reminders for these vehicles are no longer be sent out automatically.

MOT test certificate

You must produce an MOT test certificate that is valid on the day the tax disc comes into force. A certificate that expires on the last day of the month can't be used if the tax disc is to start on the first day of the following month. The certificate must be original. A photocopy is not acceptable.  

Lost, stolen or damaged MOT certificate

If you lose your certificate, you can apply for a duplicate. There is a fee for this service. You can obtain a duplicate by using the phone booking service on 0845 2472 471 with credit/debit card payment.

Alternatively, you can apply by completing an application form. Send your application and fee to any test centre.

MOT or insurance has expired

If you intend to renew your vehicle tax you should do so before your current tax disc expires. However, this is not always possible if you’re waiting for insurance or getting an MOT for your vehicle.

You’ll be committing an offence if you use or keep your vehicle on the public road without a current tax disc. If you can't get a tax disc, you must remove your vehicle from the road. While your vehicle is off the road, you have 14 days in which to obtain a tax disc or make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN.)

Driving an untaxed vehicle to an MOT test

You can drive your vehicle to and from a pre-arranged test at an MOT test station provided you have adequate insurance cover in place for the use of that vehicle. This also applies to vehicles being driven to and from a prearranged test at a Vehicle Inspection Check (VIC) test station, an approved weight testing station and reduced pollution test.

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