Whether it's your driving licence you've lost or MOT documents you’ve misplaced, being unable to locate important paperwork and documentation – especially when you need them to complete applications – is enough to make even the calmest motorists see red.

If you've searched high and low for the offending items and still can't track them down, then the good news is that everything can be easily replaced. Here's what to do when your vehicle and driving documents seem to have done a disappearing act – from logbooks to licences. 

How to replace car insurance documents

First of all, losing car insurance documents happens more than you might think, so don't fret if you can't find them. Unfortunately, if you're someone who changes their insurer each year, then it can be tough to remember who you're actually covered by. Luckily, there are a few things you can do if this ends up happening.

man looking at his mail

Finding out who your insurer is

For starters, take a look at your direct debits or credit/debit card statements to see if there's any evidence of a monthly payment going to an insurance company. If you pay annually, check the bank statement from the time of your renewal date to see who your money's been going to.

If that's not helped, then be sure to check your emails to see if your insurance company has corresponded with you. As well as the original documents, many of them also send regular newsletters, so try jogging your memory by inspecting the inbox.

Still stumped? Head to the Motor Insurers' Bureau website - this holds the policy details of all insured vehicles in the UK.

Ask for a replacement Certificate of Motor Insurance

Once you’ve determined who your insurer is, simply contact them and ask for a replacement copy of your insurance documents. Some insurers incur a fee for replacement documents. It can be as little as £7.50, but some insurers may charge up to £30. It’s important to make sure you have a Certificate of Motor Insurance as you will likely need to produce it if you’re involved in an accident and the police request it.

What to do if you have lost your driving licence

If you have lost your driving license, it’s important that you contact the DVLA to inform them straight away, so that you can get a replacement. If you think your license was stolen, you should also consider informing the police. Whether your license is missing or damaged, you can apply for a replacement through the DVLA website.

How to replace your driving licence

Ordering a replacement driving licence is as simple as filling in a form on the DVLA website. To fill the form out, you will need:

  • Addresses where you’ve lived for the last 3 years
  • Driving licence number
  • National Insurance number
  • Passport number

To replace your license you must be a resident of Great Britain, and not be disqualified from driving.

You can also apply for a replacement photocard by phone, if none of your details have changed and it is not damaged, or by post. You’ll need to fill in a D1 form for a car, or a D2 form for a lorry.

If your driving license is due to expire within two years, or if you have a passport, the DVLA will simply use the electronic photo on these for your replacement license. In the event that you don't have a suitable driving license photo, the DVLA will inform you that you'll need to send off a new passport-sized photo along with e a completed D1 form, available online or at your local Post Office.

Remember, you can always speak to someone over the phone by calling the DVLA on 0300 790 6801.

How much does it cost to get a new driving licence?

If you’ve lost or damaged your driving licence, a new driving licence from the DVLA costs £20. If you are stopped by the police, you must be able to produce your driving licence within 7 days at a police station of your choice, so it’s important to get the driving licence replaced as soon as possible.

How long will it take to get a new driving licence?

According to the DVLA, it can take up to 3 weeks for you to receive your replacement driving licence. In some cases, such as if your personal details need to be checked or changed, it could take longer. With that in mind, you should ideally contact the DVLA as soon as you realise you’ve misplaced your licence.

man looking at his mail

Replacing your MOT certificate

In the event of a lost or stolen MOT certificate, you can get a replacement MOT certificate from any MOT centre – even if it wasn't the one you took the car to. You'll need to provide the garage with your vehicle registration number and your V5C (logbook) reference number.

MOT centres can charge £10 or half the cost of the MOT (whichever is lower) to replace the certificate. Replacement MOT certificates cannot be issued online.

Remember, it's still legal to drive if you've lost your MOT certificate, as long as it is in date and a replacement has been applied for. Driving with an expired MOT certificate can land you with a fine.

Should there be any issues during the process, you can view a digital through the VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency), which is the service that oversees MOT testing.

It's easy to think that an MOT certificate isn't important, but you'll need it when selling your car. The buyer may want to see the latest certificate to see what work has been done on the vehicle and if there are any advisory notes for future work needed.

Can I drive without an MOT certificate?

It is against the law to drive without an MOT certificate except in two circumstances:

Your car is less than 3 years old. Your car must have an MOT certificate by the third anniversary of your vehicle’s registration.

You are driving to get your vehicle tested or repaired.

man looking at his mail

Replacing your V5C (logbook)

If you're buying a second-hand car, you'll want the V5C vehicle registration certificate, or logbook as it's more commonly known. Without it, you may not be able to tax the vehicle, so you won't be able to drive it.

Luckily, lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed logbooks can be easily replaced. You can also get a replacement certificate if you didn't receive one with your new vehicle.

The quickest way to get a replacement logbook if you're the registered keeper on the original is to call the DVLA. This costs £25 using a debit or credit card and takes up to five days for the new V5C to arrive. Please note that you can't apply by phone if your name, address or vehicle details have changed.

To apply by post, send a completed DVLA form V62, along with a cheque to:

SA99 1DD

It will take up to six weeks for your new certificate to arrive by post.

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