Now you don't need insurance to tax your car
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.