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Can You Tax a Car Without Insurance?

Last updated: 17/10/2023 | Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Every driver must pay for both car tax and insurance, as these are legal requirements for all cars on the road. But navigating the world of car tax can be complicated, especially for new drivers. Regardless of whether you’ve recently passed your driving test or just want more clarity on how car tax works, this guide is here to help. Below, we’ll explore exactly what car tax and car insurance do as well as some of the ins and outs of making sure you’re driving your car legally.

In This Guide:

Car Tax vs. Car Insurance: What’s the Difference?

While you do need both of them, car tax and car insurance are two very different things. Here’s a breakdown of what each one means for your car:

Car Tax: Also known as Vehicle Excise Duty or VED, car tax is a charge that must be paid each year and is a legal requirement for owning a car. The amount you’re charged is based on the amount of CO2 produced by your car. Therefore, if you now have a car that has zero emissions, you won’t need to pay car tax, but this is set to change in 2025. Even if you’re exempt from car tax, it’s important to fill out any relevant forms to avoid unexpected charges.

Car Insurance: Another legal requirement for car owners, car insurance provides you with financial protection should you be in an accident and cause damage to someone else or their property. There are different types of car insurance available, with some types of policies offering cover even if your car is stolen or vandalised. However, the minimum requirement is third-party cover, which all drivers must take out.

Can I Tax a Car Without Insurance?

No, it isn’t possible to tax a car without insurance. Therefore, it’s important to insure your car before you attempt to make a car tax payment. Fortunately, you don’t need to provide evidence or documentation of your car insurance to tax your car - but you will need an active policy, as the DVLA will all have your car insurance and MOT information logged in their database. If you’re not sure if your car insurance is active, here’s how you can check.

How to Tax Your Car

Once you’ve taken out a car insurance policy, you can get started with taxing your car. You can do this online or in person at the post office. To tax your car online, all you’ll need is a reference number, which can be found on a V11 reminder letter if you’ve received one. If you haven’t had one, your reference number should also be included in your V5C vehicle log book or on your new keeper slip.

To tax your car in person at a post office, you will need to bring some evidence along with you. Typically this will either be your vehicle log book (which has to be in your name) or your new keeper slip. If your car is more than three years old, you might also have to bring along your MOT certificate.

Can I Tax My Car Without its Log Book?

Yes, it’s possible to tax your car online if you don’t have a log book. However, you will need your reference number. Your reference number should be sent to you on a V11 warning letter if you haven’t paid your car tax and the deadline is approaching. However, if you’d prefer to pay your car tax in good time, you may need to order a replacement log book from the DVLA. This will usually cost £25 and can take one to six weeks to arrive.

How Soon Can I Tax My Car?

You can tax your car as soon as you’ve bought it and you’ll need to have your car tax in place before you drive your car. Ask your car dealership whether they’ve already arranged to have your car taxed if you’re planning to drive it home. In most cases, you won’t have to do anything, but if you’re buying your car from a private seller, you can arrange your car tax quickly over the phone or online.

How Long Does Car Tax Registration Take?

Once you’ve submitted your car tax forms, you can expect your registration to update in around five working days. You can check your car’s tax status online using the DVLA’s Enquiry System to make sure your registration has gone through.

What Happens if I Don’t Tax My Car?

Failing to tax your car could mean paying a £1000 fine, being taken to court or having your car seized.

Does My Car Need to be Taxed?

Usually, yes. Even if you’re not driving your car and have it parked in front of your house, you’ll still need to pay car tax. However, if your car is completely off the road and stored on private property, such as in your garage, you can apply for Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

Can I Tax My Car if I Have Temporary Car Insurance?

Yes, you can tax your car with temporary car insurance. Many people rely on temporary car insurance when driving their new car home and the DVLA will register your policy in the same way as they would longer-term insurance.

Can You Drive Without Paying Car Tax?

The only time it’s acceptable to drive your car without tax is if you’re driving to a pre-booked MOT and do not make any stops along the way. However, there are some types of vehicles that are exempt from car tax, such as electric cars, mobility scooters and vehicles designed for those with a disability. You will still need to renew your car tax on exempt vehicles each year even if you don’t need to pay, otherwise you may be fined.

Find the Right Insurance Before Taxing Your Car

Finding the right car insurance policy is a key part of making sure you can drive your car legally and pay your car tax. Whether you’re looking for a temporary, short-term policy so you can drive your car home from the dealership or need a more permanent solution, comparing your options is the best way to find a policy that suits your unique situation. Find out more or get a quote today.

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