Car insurance, MOT and road tax information

Road tax, car insurance and MOT

Legal essentials.

You've passed your driving test (congratulations!), about to buy your first car and now you've got to think about road tax, MOT and car insurance. These are are all legal 'must-haves' and of course keeping everything legal is very important if you don't want the police taking your car away and maybe your new driving licence. As a driver you will have to keep up-to-date with these.

World Driving will take you through all the legal stuff that you need to know as a new driver.


Road tax.

The UK road fund licence (or road tax as it is most commonly known as) is something that you must have to be able to use your car on the road. A reminder is sent to you when your road tax is due to expire.

You can renew your road tax online or by taking a trip to the Post Office, together with your MOT certificate, vehicle registration documents and insurance certificate.

Road tax is available for 6 months, 12 months or monthly by direct debit. If you can, go for 12 months as you can save a little bit of money.

For cars made before 1 March 2001, the cost of road tax depends on the engine size of the car, the bigger the engine then the more pollution it probably makes and therefore you must pay a bit more for your road tax. For cars made after 1 March 2001 the road tax is based on the CO2 produced by the car. The lower the CO2 then the less you pay. If you buy an electric car then you will have to pay no road tax as it outputs no CO2 emissions.

You can declare that your vehicle is off the road (Statutory Off Road Notification, known as SORN) and if it is, then you will no longer have to pay road tax. Further information can be found at

Selling your car:

You will get a refund of any unused road tax when you sell your car. Road tax cannot be transferred to the new owner.

Buying a car:

You must tax your new vehicle before you use it. You can do this online at or by using their automated phone service - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0300 123 4321.


Everyone who uses the roads must ensure that their car is in a roadworthy condition and that it also meets certain environmental requirements. If you're buying a brand new car, then once it's 3 years old you'll have to present your car for inspection at an MOT garage every year. There are around 19,000 MOT test centres in the UK displaying the blue 3 triangles sign. The MOT looks at some important items to see if it meets the legal requirements, but the MOT certificate is no guarantee of the general mechanical condition of your vehicle. The test doesn’t cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox.

If your car fails an MOT, then you will be given the reason why and sometimes you won't have to pay to get your car re-tested. More information can be found here at
MOT sign

Car insurance.

Car insurance is something else that you legally must have. This is one expense though that is not fixed and is something you can reduce by comparing prices with different insurance companies.

How cost of your car insurance will depend on many things such as (deep breath)... your age, male or female, where you live, what you do for a living, completion of the Pass Plus course, any points on your licence, any 'no claims' bonus, the type and model of your car, the engine size, will it be in a garage, on a driveway, security on the car, mileage, any modifications and how old the car is! If you don't make a claim and as you get older, every year your car insurance premium should steadily go down resulting in a 'no-claims' bonus.

Three different types of car insurance are:

Third Party. This is the legal minimum and the cheapest policy. The third party is anyone you might injure or whose property you damage.

Third Party, Fire and Theft. This also covers other people, property damaged and against your vehicle being involved in a fire or being stolen.

Comprehensive. This is the complete and best cover, but the most expensive. Depending on the terms of the policy it provides cover for damage to your own vehicle and personal injury to yourself.

You can also get a 'black box' fitted to your car that monitors your driving style and can reduce your car insurance premiums.

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