How to replace lost car documents – the ultimate guide

Car documents are important and should be looked after – but if you do misplace such important documents as your driving licence, your car registration, your insurance documents, your MOT certificate, or logbook, it can be annoying – especially if you are in the process of selling your car – but it’s usually nothing to worry about.

If you know where to get duplicates of any car documents, you can usually get them sent out to you in a few weeks. Here is the ultimate guide to replacing your car documents, just in case they get lost or damaged. You may need them if it comes time to sell your car.

replacing a lost V5C document
You can apply for a new V5C on the gov.uk website.

Replacing a lost V5C logbook

If you need to get your car’s logbook (V5C) replaced, you can apply for a new one to be sent to you via the gov.uk website. However, it will be a duplicate – they will not be able to update any of the details for you.

If any of your details require updating, such as:

  • Your name or address
  • Your vehicle’s details
  • The vehicle’s ownership

You will need to fill out form V62 on the website and apply for the updated logbook to be sent to you by post. 

However, if you are applying for a straightforward duplicate, you can do this online, and it is more straightforward.

To do this, you will need:

  • The registration number of the vehicle
  • The VIN/chassis number of your vehicle
  • The name and postcode registered on your logbook

The replacement logbook will cost you a fee of £25 and will be sent to the address that the DVLA has on record for you. You should receive your logbook within five working days.

Replacing a lost vehicle insurance certificate

To get a replacement insurance certificate, it is usually best to call your insurer and request one from them. 

If you’re not quite sure who your insurer is, you can either go through your bank statements, search through your emails, or visit the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) website at mib.org.uk and request a duplicate certificate by completing a Data Subject Access Request form. The MIB holds information on every insured car in the UK.

If you are requesting a replacement insurance certificate, you will usually be charged a small administrative fee for the company processing the replacement. Depending on which insurer you use, this might be as little as around £7.50 – though some insurers will charge up to £30.

A replacement insurance certificate is best requested from your insurer.

Replacing a lost driving licence

If you need to replace your full driving licence – or even a provisional driving licence – you can do it online at the gov.uk website. If there is any possibility that your driving licence might have been stolen, you are urged to report this to the police, as it is a major form of ID and could be used in an ‘identity theft’ crime, if not reported. 

To get a replacement licence, you’ll need to be a resident of Great Britain (there’s a different service in Northern Ireland) and not be disqualified from driving for any reason. 

You will be asked to provide details about the addresses you’ve lived in for the last three years, and (if you can) provide your driving licence number, National Insurance number, and passport number.

A replacement driving licence will cost you £20 and you’ll be asked to pay this by MasterCard, Visa, Electron or Delta debit or credit card. This is a very similar process to updating your licence.

The DVLA will use the same photo on your lost driving licence as the photo on the replacement. If, however, your appearance has changed significantly since your original photo was taken, you need to inform the DVLA of this fact and they will send you a form so that you can issue them with a new one.

If you find a lost driving licence after applying for a replacement, you need to return your old licence to the DVLA via the organisation’s head office in Swansea.

Replacing a lost driving licence
A replacement driving licence costs £20 from the DVLA.

Replacing a lost MOT certificate

You can get a replacement MOT certificate online if you’ve lost or damaged the original – and this service is free via the gov.uk website.

In order to apply for a replacement MOT certificate, you will need to provide the government website with your car’s reg and the 11-digit number printed on your V5C logbook.

However, you should keep in mind that this service cannot be used for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), trailers, or public service vehicles (PSVs). For these, you will need to fill in a document replacement form for HGVs and trailers (VTG59) or a document replacement form for PSVs (VTP6).

If you need your MOT certificate urgently or would prefer to get it in person, you can also request a replacement MOT certificate from any MOT centre. It does not have to be the centre that did your MOTs. To apply for this, you will again need to give them your reg and V5C logbook reference number. MOT centres are legally allowed to charge you up to £10 for providing this service.

How much are replacement car insurance documents?

If you’re one of those people that frequently change their car insurer, it is possible to forget who your insurer is. If you are unsure, you could check your direct debits or credit/debit card statements to see which company you are currently making a monthly payment to. If you pay annually, you should check your bank statement from the period that you started your policy or made your renewal.

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

Once you have discovered who your insurer is, you should be able to phone them and ask them for a replacement Certificate of Motor Insurance. Typically, you will be charged a small administrative fee for the company processing the replacement. 

Depending on which insurer you use, this might be as little as around £7.50, but some insurers will charge up to £30.

How much are replacement car insurance documents?
Depending on your insurer, a replacement certificate can cost up to £30.

How long does it take to get a replacement V5C logbook?

According to DVLA statistics, around 500,000 motorists every year, request duplicate logbooks for lost or damaged V5C logbooks. Fortunately, for those people, the process is now a lot quicker than it used to be. This is great news for people wanting to sell their car but don’t have a V5C.

In 2020, the DVLA launched a new online service specifically for motorists to get duplicate V5C logbooks, which slashed the time it took to get a replacement logbook. 

Previously, if you had lost your V5C logbook, it would take you around six weeks to get a new one made up for your car. Now, due to the improved online service, this only takes five days for most drivers. 

If you don’t have access to the internet or would prefer to apply for a duplicate V5C logbook by post, you can pick up a V62 ‘application for a vehicle registration certificate’ form from your local Post Office. You should receive a V5C within six weeks.

How long does it take to get a replacement V5C or Logbook?
It usually takes about 5 days to receive your new V5C.

Can you get your V5C logbook number online?

The short answer here is ‘no’. If you’re trying to find your V5C logbook reference number online, you will struggle – as there does not currently seem to be any way you can find these details. 

At present, the only way to get your V5C reference number is by reading it off your logbook. Therefore, if you have lost your V5C logbook, you will need to apply for a duplicate either online at the DVLA website or by picking up a V62 form at your local Post Office. If you apply online, it should take around five working days, whereas by post it can take up to six weeks for your replacement V5C logbook to come through. Either option will cost £25.

What documents do I need for car tax?

All cars need to be taxed for them to be road legal. Even if your car fits the definition of a ‘tax-exempt vehicle’, you’ll still need to apply for tax, so that it can officially be classified as tax-exempt. 

To tax your car online, you will need your V5C logbook (which must be in your name), your new keeper slips, and, if you have one, your V11 reminder. Assuming you are the registered current keeper of the car, then you’ll need the 11-digit reference number from your V5C.

Your V11 contains an important 16-digit reference number that you can use in place of the 11-digit number on your V5C. There’s also a 12-digit number on your new keeper slip that you can use in its place. 

You can also tax your car by phone, by calling the DVLA. You’ll need to have either your V5C logbook or your new keeper slip on hand.

You can also pay for your car tax at some Post Offices in the UK. You will need your V5C logbook registration certificate (in your name), a V62 application for a registration certificate and the new keeper slip.

Need more information

Our guides have everything you need to know about the DVLA and the documentation you need to have if you own a car, plus tips on car ownership.