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.

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.

man looking at his mail

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.

Once you know who your insurer is, give them a call and ask for a replacement Certificate of Motor Insurance. Just be aware that there may be an admin fee for the replacement.

How to replace your driving licence

Whether your driving licence is missing, stolen or damaged, the easiest way to replace it is through the DVLA website. Be aware that if your license has been stolen, then you should inform the police before doing anything else. The DVLA charges £20 to replace your photocard licence; they no longer issue the paper version as of 8 June 2015.

If your driving licence 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 licence. In the event that you don't have a suitable driving licence, the DVLA will inform you that you'll need to send off a new passport-sized photo along with a complete 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

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.

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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