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Electronic Car Insurance Certificates

AA welcomes decision to legalise electronic certificates

Have you wondered why the only way you can get your insurance certificate is by post? Well, from this coming April it should be possible to get it electronically following a recent Government announcement.

Strike action

Increasingly, people conduct a whole range of transactions online, including buying car insurance. Confirmation that you're covered can even come by email but when it comes to your certificate, it has to be posted.

This was brought into sharp focus at the end of October 2009 when a postal strike looked set to disrupt mail – which would certainly have caused difficulty for people buying a new car or getting their car taxed at a post office if their certificate had been stuck in the post.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, says that one of the most common questions asked by customers is: 'why can't you send my certificate electronically?' but of course, the law requires them to be posted.


"In actual fact, the insurance industry has been pressing for this for some time and there has been a lengthy period of consultation on the issue.

"But at last the security difficulties have now been resolved and the legislation put in place so I’m delighted that the Transport Minister, Paul Clark MP, has said that electronic certificates should be available from April 2010.

"Nowadays, insurance data is maintained on the national Motor Insurance Database and the police and other agencies can easily check that your car is insured and tax discs can also be applied for online, because the DVLA's website automatically checks that the car is insured.

"The certificate is simply a paper confirmation that that the database has been updated."


However, Douglas urges customers to make sure that the details on their certificate are correct. "Mistakes can easily be made – for instance, getting the registration number slightly wrong.

The trouble with that is, you could lay yourself open to being stopped as the police number plate recognition equipment won't find a match on the database. If you do spot an error, contact your insurer immediately to get it put right."

You can easily check that your car is on the database yourself by going to and putting in your registration number.

The AA has been working with the Department for Transport on the detail surrounding issue of electronic insurance certificates. And, says Douglas: "We have the technology in place – so as soon as the government gives the go-ahead, you can opt to receive you certificate electronically, instead of by post."


Last updated: 24 December 2009