Now you don't need insurance to tax your car

an off-road car, yesterday

It’s rare when a Government organisation decides to do something to save ordinary people hassle, but it seems the DVLA are seeking to do just that. No, they are not planning to scrap car tax altogether just yet (or are they?), rather they are changing the documents you need to apply for your car tax.

At the moment, in order to get your sweaty palms on a little round disc, you need to produce your car tax reminder or registration document, your MOT certificate (unless your car is under 3 years old or otherwise exempt) and an insurance certificate valid at the date of purchase. Now they are proposing to scrap the requirement to have valid insurance.

Of course they aren’t actually scrapping insurance, but they are suggesting they no longer need to check this particular document, either in hard copy and in person at a Post Office, or electronically if you do it online. The proposals outlined in the new consultation, launched Monday, will take effect in 2013 and you can send your comments to DVLA until 26 November. Having said that, this is less of an actual seeking-public-views-consultation and more of a “this is what we’re going to do, do you have anything to say before we ignore you” kind of consultation.

The rationale behind the decision is the recent change in the law that says all vehicles must be continuously insured, unless declared off the road (SORN) with DVLA. This means that to check the insurance at tax disc time is, apparently, double checking. And we don’t need to double check stuff anymore. After all, we are all 100% sure that the continuous insurance checking system, which sends out  letters and waits for compliance, before sending more stern letters, all the while leaving the car in question uninsured, will do a sterling job of catching those naughty uninsured drivers. Nevertheless, the consultation admits that “there is a possibility that short-term evasion could rise.” Great.

But what about the benefits of the scheme? Well, in addition to the £1.2million it will save the Government, presumably the cost of Post Office staff taking an extra 2.4 seconds to read an extra piece of paper, coupled with the fee for using the Motor Insurance Bureau database, there are other benefits. Apparently it will give people, that’s you and me folks, a £1.1million in “public leisure time saving”. Presumably we could all spend the 1.34 seconds it takes the DVLA system to check the insurance details online better. Like saving orphans or something.

However, there is one big advantage (or two if you are the sort of person who doesn’t buy car tax online, but continually loses their insurance certificate). Some people have their car tax and car insurance due on the same day- normally happens if buying a car at the start of the month. Under these circumstances, online tax discing is not available, because the system can only understand that your car insurance expires on that day, not that it might be renewed the following day. In this situation, you will be able to “do it online”, same as everyone else.

So there you are. Genuine red-tape cutting, or Government corner-cutting? You decide.


  • klingelton
    good thing. don't see why you need insurance BEFORE taxing. it's another reason people might be dissuaded from purchasing an obscenely expensive slip of paper. On a different note - Car tax was scrapped years ago and replaced by Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) which is related to the pollutants your car produces. Don't perpetuate the myth that because you drive a steel cage and pay "tax" you own more of the road than a cyclist.
  • Tim B.
    Fairly obviously, the actual plan is this: Phase one: Make it easier for motorists to have either tax, or insurance, but not both Phase two: Link the existing automatic fine for no tax into the insurance database Phase three: Extend the system to automatically fine drivers whose insurance lapses during a tax period, or who buy tax without insurance in place.
  • Haggis
    I wonder how much Capita/BT etc are getting paid to implement this...
  • javad
    This is already in action. I applied and successfully got it. Was not asked for insurance as my dad pointed out. ZAH for actually doing something useful!!
  • Witwicky
    I hate cyclists.
  • The M.
    Seems arse-backwards to me.
  • PlatinumPlatypus
    Cars emitting less than 100g of CO2 per KM (Band A) have zero-rated VED. My car is Band B and VED costs £20 a year. It's designed to encourage use of lower-emitting vehicles and is not hypothecated towards the upkeep of roads.
  • klingelton
    conversely, motorcycles must pay tax, because that is based on the size of the engine, and not on the level of pollutants per km.
  • JonB
    I'm pretty sure you can buy your tax disc online a month before it runs out, so the "big advantage" paragraph doesn't apply if you buy online.
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  • LizaLlewellyn
    To the person who said "I hate cyclists". I am a motorist as well, but also like to cycle occasionally. Would like to know why you hate cyclists?! They take up less road space than you do, are unlikely to maim or kill someone if they have an accident (unlike you) don't pollute the environment and are generally fitter and healthier than motorists. Perhaps you are so unfit, overweight, or just plain lazy that you are jealous of cyclists. Hate all you want, but if someone took your car away, the cyclist would probably run rings around you. Something to think about.
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  • William L.
    So now you can get your road tax without showing insurance papers. I think this is a bad thing ! If you have no insurance and cant get a road tax disc and you drive on the public road a Policeman can see you are not displaying a current disc and will look into it. But if you can get a road tax disc without insurance and drive on the public road uninsured a Police who sees you is ignorant of the fact. This will lead to many more drivers driving on the public roads uninsured. It,s no hassle taking a few papers to the post office or wherever.
  • James O.
    I lived in South Africa for a time and the same situation continues, The government did away with road tax and put half a cent per litre on fuel.100cents to the Rand and 15 Rand to the pound at the moment amounts to little increase at the pumps but no cars on the road without tax. I don't know if the logistics are without fault but it seemed to work in S.A

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