Royal Mail Industrial Action

Tax disc and car insurance advice

13 October 2009

There are three ways of renewing your tax disc – online, by telephone and at a Post Office. The most appropriate depends on your particular circumstances.

If you have a current car insurance certificate and MOT certificate then it's best to renew your tax disc at the Post Office but if you don't then online or by telephone is the best option.

Renewing your tax disc online or by telephone

If you have recently renewed your car insurance online or over the telephone but have not yet received your certificate of insurance then it's best to apply for your new tax disc online, or by telephone using the new 'memorable vehicle tax line1' – 0300 1234 321 – launched at the end of October.

To renew your tax disc online you will need;

The system draws on the Motor Insurance Database(MID) to check insurance cover and the computerised MOT test register (if applicable) to enable your disc to be issued so you will be able to renew provided your car is insured and is less than 3 years old or has a current MOT - even if your insurance certificate has been delayed in the post. Renewing your car tax online will update the DVLA database too.

There can be a delay of several days between your buying/renewing car insurance and the Motor Insurance Database(MID) being updated. You can check to see if your car is on the Motor Insurance Database(MID) yourself by going to

It is quite possible (even likely) that your tax disc will be delayed in the strike-bound post. It is a technical offence not to display a disc, and a parking attendant could well pick this up.

The fine is £30 but the AA hopes and expects local authorities and police to take a pragmatic view and accept that the disc has been delayed. If you have renewed online, you are unlikely to be stopped by police because the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment carried on police cars will recognise that your car is taxed.

Renewing your tax disc at a Post Office

If you have a current car insurance certificate then it's best to renew your road tax at a Post Office as this avoids the risk of the new disc getting delayed in the post.

Post Office staff do not generally have the means to check the electronic records for insurance and MOT cover and therefore will require to see the physical documents.

To renew your tax disc at a Post Office you will need;

  • V10 licence application form and V5c Logbook, or V11 reminder
  • Current Insurance Certificate
  • Current MOT certificate (if applicable)

Car Insurance

It is advisable to apply for your insurance renewal as soon as possible, either online or by telephone to allow plenty of time for the MID to be updated and to reduce the risk of being stopped by police.


Check now the renewal dates of your car tax, car insurance and MOT and renew as soon as possible if cover is about to run out. Reminders that these need renewing normally come by post but may well not arrive.

Unfortunately, failure to renew can't be blamed on the lack of a reminder – it is firmly the driver's responsibility to ensure that their vehicle is insured.

Don't leave renewal to the last minute, it could mean that your vehicle is removed from the Motor Insurance Database(MID) before your new details are updated, opening a risky 'window' when, according to the MID you're not currently covered. You might get stopped as a result.

Do not under any circumstances use the postal strike as an excuse for not renewing your insurance (or any other documents) – this won't wash with the police and you run a serious risk of having your car confiscated. If you can't demonstrate that you were insured at the time you face serious fines and up to 6 points on your licence – and difficulty in insuring a car in future.

Check the Motor Insurance Database(MID) »

Check the MOT status of a vehicle on the electronic MOT database »


30 October 2009

1 The new number, 0300 1234 321 (or EVL Minicom on 0300 790 6201), is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and takes less than 4 minutes to use. The service automatically checks that correct insurance and MOT documents are in place. Since the 1 August 2009, DVLA has changed the cost of 0870 lines to the geographical rate. The move to 0300 numbers completes the switch over. Calls from different providers and different mobile networks charge different rates. Customers will need to check with their providers to establish exact costs.