Documentation: The bits that really matter

June 1, 2015 | By | In Buying Guides
Documentation: The bits that really matter

Summer is the perfect time of year for a clear out, but when it comes to paperwork it can be difficult to work out what should be kept on file and what can be shredded to free up some cupboard space. So to help make things easier, we’ve compiled a short and snappy check list of the documentation that you are required to keep by law, plus the bits that make sense to hang on to.

V5C registration certificate: AKA the logbook

This is issued by the DVLA and keeps track of all the registered keepers of the vehicle. It also lists the vehicle’s details along with any major modifications. This is something you are required to keep by law. However, if you’ve lost, damaged or had yours stolen, there’s no need to worry. Just order a replacement from the DVLA at

Driving licence

Arguably one of the most important driving documents, driving licences are often the most commonly lost, stolen or damaged. It’s really important to keep both the photo card and paper counterpart licenses safe and secure as you’ll need them in the event of an accident, offence or insurance claim. However, the counterpart is being abolished, so from 8 June you can securely dispose of this too

MOT test certificate

Another crucial bit of paperwork. Without having the current certificate you won’t be able to tax or insure your vehicle. You can dispose of old copies, but we think it can be a good selling tool, especially if you only have a partial service history. It’s now possible to check online too, click here to check yours

Insurance certificate

Whether you drive your car regularly or keep it parked most of the time, even if it’s in a private garage, the law states you must have motor insurance.

If, for whatever reason, you are stopped by the police they can also ask you to show them your certificate. If you can't produce the right document on the spot, they will give you seven days to do so at a police station of your choice.

If you can't produce a document within this time your vehicle could be seized and, even worse, sold on so it’s best to keep this document in a safe place!

For more information on car insurance you can visit the Motor Insurance Database (MID) website at

Service history

If you have your car serviced we think it’s wise to keep all of the documents. This is particularly important when trying to sell as it’s one way of proving to potential sellers how well the car has been looked after. If you’ve lost yours, or bought a car without one, it might be possible to order a new one detailing the past history. To do so, contact the original manufacturer quoting information from the V5C certificate.  


Although it’s not a legal requirement, it makes sense to keep receipts for major purchases or work done. With owning a car, we think keeping the original purchase documents along with receipts for any parts or labour for major repairs and anything still under warranty is advisable and shouldn’t take up too much room in your files. 

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