How to replace lost car documents

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Losing important documents such as your driving licence or car log book is always annoying and can be very stressful. But you needn’t panic – your driving licence, MOT certificate, log book and Certificate of Motor Insurance can all be easily replaced


You just need to know where to look, and be prepared to pay for replacements.

If you’ve misplaced any of these documents, read on to find out how you go about getting a replacement.

How to replace car documents

If you’re an Admiral customer, you can access your policy information at anytime through the online documents portal.

It’s not uncommon to lose insurance documents, and if you’re someone who changes insurer every year, it’s easy to forget who you’re actually covered by. If you face this problem there are a couple of things you can do.

Firstly, check 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, take a look at your bank statement from the time of your renewal date to see who you paid.

Search your emails to see if you have any correspondence from your insurance company – as well as sending your original documents, most send regular newsletters.

If you still draw a blank, you can check the Motor Insurers’ Bureau website which holds the policy details of all insured vehicles in the UK.

If you know who your insurer is simply give them a call and ask for a replacement Certificate of Motor Insurance, and you may incur an admin fee for the replacement. Admiral charges £7.50 to post a duplicate certificate while other companies charge up to £30.

Driving licence

If you lose your driving licence, or it’s stolen or damaged, the easiest way to replace it is through the DVLA website. If your licence is stolen, before doing anything else, make sure you inform the police. The DVLA charges £20 to replace your photocard licence; as of 8th June 2015 the DVLA no longer issues the paper counterpart.

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. If a suitable photo isn’t available the DVLA will let you know and you’ll need to send off a new passport size photo along with a completed ‘D1’ form available online or at your local Post Office.

If you’d prefer to speak to someone over the phone, call the DVLA on 0300 790 6801.

MOT certificate

You can get a replacement MOT certificate from any MOT centre – it doesn’t have to be the one you took your car to – if yours is lost or stolen. You’ll need to provide the garage with your vehicle registration number and your V5C (log book) reference number. You can’t get a replacement MOT certificate online; you have to visit a test centre. MOT centres can charge £10, or half the cost of the MOT (whichever is lower), to replace the certificate.

While you may not think the MOT certificate is important, if you decide to sell 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.

V5C (log book)

The V5C vehicle registration certificate is one of the main documents you will want from the car owner if you're buying a second hand car. Without the V5C, more commonly known as the log book, you may not be able to tax the vehicle, so you won’t be able to drive it.

A lost log book can easily be replaced. You can also get a replacement certificate if the original has been stolen, damaged or destroyed, or if you didn’t receive one with your new vehicle.

The quickest way to get a replacement log book – if you were the registered keeper on the original one – is to call the DVLA. It will cost you £25 using a debit or credit card and takes up to five days for the new V5C to arrive. However, 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 £25 cheque, to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1DD. It will take up to six weeks for your new certificate to arrive by post.