How to check if a car is taxed and insured

The government offers a free tax and insurance checker to make sure a vehicle is legally allowed on UK roads. Here’s how to use it...

If you want to check whether a car is taxed or insured and if it has a valid MoT, all you need is a reg number. Checking the MoT history of a car has never been easier and is especially handy when you’re looking at buying a used car. And if you don’t know when your car’s MoT or tax is due, the following is also essential reading.

So, if you are currently armed with the reg number of the car you would like to check, all you need to do is follow the steps below to check its tax, insurance and MoT status:

How to check a car’s tax and MoT

  1. Click this link to the Government’s car tax checker website
  2. Click ‘Start now’
  3. Type in the reg number of the car and click ‘continue’
  4. Some preliminary information will pop up, but don’t get too excited as this is just to confirm you are searching the correct vehicle. After verifying the information is true by selecting ‘Yes’, click the ‘Continue’ button.
  5. Next there will be a plethora of information telling you not only the tax and MoT status of the car, but also a brief summary of the vehicle in question 
  6. You can even check the tax rate of your car, as long as you have the latest 11 digit reference number from the V5C registration certificate

How to check a car’s MoT history

There is another way to check only the MoT status and mileage of a vehicle. It is less well known but significantly more useful - especially when you are buying a second hand car. We've got a complete guide to the MOT checker here. And you can find the checker itself on the government website.

How to check a car is insured 

Finally, and perhaps just as importantly, there is checking if a vehicle is insured. Information around insurance is a bit more sensitive and as such you can only legally find out whether or not your car (or a company car you can drive) is insured - unless you happen to be an insurance broker acting on behalf of a client. As before, follow the simple steps below to check a vehicle's information:

  1. Click this link to the AskMID car insurance checker website
  2. After carefully checking the declaration and verifying that you are legally allowed to proceed, type your reg in the box at the top, tick the confirmation box and then confirm you are, in fact, not a robot.
  3. The following page will simply provide you a yes/no answer to the question of whether the vehicle is insured.

Why these checks are important

The MoT checker tool can sometimes uncover a vehicle’s sketchy past. Using basic detective skills, a car which was tested three years ago with a mileage of 87,000 but tested this year with only 34,000 on the clock suggests something has gone awry. There could be a genuine reason, but it at least provides you with facts and questions you can ask the owner when inspecting a car.

There have also been a few revisions to the MoT testing process recently. For drivers of newer vehicles, defects found in an MoT test are now categorised differently. ‘Dangerous’ is an automatic fail, usually consisting of a fault which is an immediate risk to road safety and/or the environment. ‘Major’ is also an automatic fail - usually an issue which should be repaired immediately. ‘Minor’ will be recorded as an advisory and therefore allows the car to pass, although it is good practice to monitor the fault.

The MoT history checker is one of the most useful tools available to a used car buyer. It tells you if an MoT has been failed, when it failed, why it failed, which advisories it had, and also the mileage when tested.

If your vehicle is more than three years old, you cannot drive without an MoT unless you’re on the way to a pre-booked MoT appointment otherwise you may be fined up to £1,000. However, as of 20th May 2018, most vehicles over 40 years old don’t need an MoT certificate.

Remember, it’s good practice to know when your MoT, tax and insurance are due so refer back to the government website if you don’t know. That is all there is to it, useful motoring information that is only a few clicks away.

Now read about How to check any car's mileage and MoT history online...

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