What Documents Should You Keep In Your Car (UK)

Read our guide on which documents to keep in your car, and which documents you can leave at home.

Whether you recently passed your test or an experienced driver, the legal requirements for documentation when driving in the UK are the same. 

In this guide, we explain the legal requirements for what documents to keep in your car, and share some advice on staying organised when it comes to car records and paperwork.

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What Documents Do I Need To Have At All Times?

If you happen to be asked by a police officer in the UK, you need to be able to show these documents:

  • Driving licence
  • Valid insurance certificate
  • Valid MOT certificate (if applicable)

It's actually not a legal requirement to have these documents in the car. If you don't have them, you might be asked to bring them to a police station within 1 week.

Of course you can save yourself a bit of hassle by carrying your licence at all times (and it's also a handy form of ID), but there are no laws in the UK that say you have any specific documents in the car with you. 

Here are 7 important documents which are good to know about if you are a driver in the UK:

Document Legal Requirement To Keep In Car? Recommended To Keep In Car?
1. Driving Licence No Yes
2. MOT No Yes 
3. Vehicle Insurance No Yes (photocopy)
4. V5C Logbook No No
5. Service Book No No
6. Road Tax No Yes
7. Breakdown Cover No Yes

UK Driving License

1. Driving Licence

It's important to have a valid driving licence for the category of vehicle you are driving, but it is not a legal obligations to keep it in the vehicle with you.

If you move house or change your name, you should also update your licence with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to avoid a fine. You can update your licence here.

Should I keep my Driving Licence in my car? Yes, we would recommend you carry your driving licence.



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2. MOT

MOT Checklist On A Clipboard

The mandatory MOT test in the UK is an annual car safety check for vehicles that are over 3 years old. It is generally illegal to drive without a valid MOT certificate, but if you want to be sure you can check if your vehicle is exempt here.

There is a maximum fee that MOT test stations can charge, which varies depending on the vehicle:

Vehicle Class Age for First MOT Maximum MOT Fee
Motorcycle (engine size up to 200cc) 1 year £29.65
Motorcycle with sidecar (engine size up to 200cc) 1 year £37.80
Motorcycle (engine size over 200cc) 2 years £29.65
Motorcycle with sidecar (engine size over 200cc) 2 years £37.80
3-wheeled vehicles (up to 450kg unladen weight) 3 years £37.80
3-wheeled vehicles (over 450kg unladen weight) 4 years £54.85
Cars (up to 8 passenger seats) 4 years £54.85
Motor caravans 4 years £54.85
Quads (max unladen weight 400kg - for goods vehicles 550kg and max net power of 15kw) 4 years £54.85
Dual purpose vehicles 4 years £54.85
Private hire and public service vehicles (up to 8 seats) 4 years £54.85
Ambulances and taxis 4 years £54.85
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (9 to 12 passenger seats) 4 years £57.30
Goods vehicles (up to 3,000kg design gross weight) 4 years £54.85
Class 4 vehicles (9 to 12 passenger seats) with a seat belt installation check 4a years £64
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (13 to 16 passenger seats) 5 years £59.55
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (more than 16 passenger seats) 5 years £80.65
Playbuses 5 years £80.65
Class 5 vehicles (13 to 16 passenger seats) with a seatbelt installation check 5a years £80.50
Class 5 vehicles (more than 16 passenger seats) with a seatbelt installation check 5a years £124.50
Goods vehicles (over 3,000kg up to 3,500kg design gross weight) 7 years £58.60

If you happen to be driving to an MOT appointment test, then you're allowed to drive the vehicle as long as you have proof of the appointment.

There are loads of places to get your MOT check done. We like ClickMechanic because you can get it done from home.

Should I keep my MOT certificate in my car? Yes, it's recommended that you keep your MOT certificate in your car. And don’t forget, you usually need to have an MOT even if your car is off the road!

3. Vehicle Insurance

UK law requires you to have a valid car insurance policy in order to drive a vehicle.

At a minimum, you must have third-party insurance for the vehicle. Make sure to check that the care you're driving has this coverage before driving it. There are a couple of different types of Vehicle Insurance in the UK:

Third-Party insurance

The least expensive type of insurance and the minimum cover required by law. 

Third-party insurance covers anyone you might injure or whose property you might damage in an accident. Remember, this type of insurance does not cover damage to your own vehicle or injury to you.

Third-party insurance is often sold with add-ons like fire damage and car theft protection.

Comprehensive insurance

The highest level of cover, and usually the most expensive. Comprehensive vehicle insurance offers the broadest range of insurance cover. It's worth shopping around for the best deal.

Comprehensive vehicle insurance covers damage to your own vehicle, up to the market value of the car, as well as personal injury to you.

Whilst you don't need to carry your insurance documents with you at all times, if you happen to be stopped by the police, they are allowed to ask you to show them your insurance policy. Like with your Driving Licence and MOT certificate, you'll have a week to show your insurance documents at a police station.

Should I keep my Insurance certificate in my car? Yes, it’s a good idea to keep your vehicle insurance in the car with you at all times – but we’d suggest a photocopy so you can leave the original safely at home.



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4. V5C Log book

The log book is a document that records the name and address of the registered owner of the car (sometimes called 'registered keeper').

If you lose the log book you can get a replacement on the DVLA website for £25. For this, you will need the registration number of the vehicle, your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), and the name and postcode registered on your log book.

Should I keep my V5C Log book in my car? No, it’s better not to keep your log book in your car. This document proves ownership of the vehicle, so just in case your car is stolen, it’s better to safely store the log book elsewhere.

5. Service Book

The Service Book shows when and where your car was serviced. It also shows what your car's mileage was when the service was carried out. 

It's a good idea to service your vehicle every year, or every 12,000 miles (whichever comes first). This will keep your car safe and in good condition. This is often referred to as an "Annual Service"

You can do your MOT and annual service at the same time, which saves time and money. ClickMechanic offers good deals when you book both at the same.

Should I keep my Service Book in my car? No it’s not essential that you keep your service book in your car.



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6. Road Tax

You don’t need to have a physical copy your Road Tax these days because you can to it all online

The cost of your Road Tax will depend on the car's CO2 emissions and the type of fuel it uses:

CO2 emissions (g/km) Diesel cars (TC49) that meet the RDE2 standard and petrol cars (TC48) All other diesel cars (TC49) Alternative fuel cars (TC59)
0 £0 £0 £0
1 to 50 £10 £25 £0
51 to 75 £25 £120 £15
76 to 90 £120 £150 £110
91 to 100 £150 £170 £140
101 to 110 £170 £190 £160
111 to 130 £190 £230 £180
131 to 150 £230 £585 £220
151 to 170 £585 £945 £575
171 to 190 £945 £1,420 £935
191 to 225 £1,420 £2,015 £1,410
226 to 255 £2,015 £2,365 £2,005
Over 255 £2,365 £2,365 £2,355

If you decide to stop using your car for a while, you can get a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) from the DVLA which means you'll be exempt from Road Tax. You will be due a road tax refund on anything you have already paid. You may want to consider renting a garage so you can store your car off the road.

If you have an electric car, Road Tax works slightly differently.

Should I keep my Road Tax certificate in my car? It's not essential, but make sure you know how to access your digital copy.

7. Breakdown Cover

Mechanic Repairing A Car On The Roadside

Most insurance policies don't include any cover or help in case your car breaks down, so it's a good idea to purchase this separately.

Most breakdown cover offer a phone number you can call to get a qualified engineer to come to you if your vehicle breaks down on the road. 

Should I keep my Breakdown Cover certificate in my car? Yes, it's a good idea to keep your breakdown cover in your car.

We hope we managed to help clear up some of your questions on which document to keep in your car as a UK driver. If you ever need a parking spot, check out the thousand of spaces we have available to book instantly.

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Updated 14th Apr 2023

Written 2nd Feb 2023