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Driving licence numbers explained

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You can find your driving licence number on the front of your photocard driving licence. And if you give your driver number to your car insurance company, it helps give you a more accurate quote.

Here's what you need to know about your driving licence number.

Your driving licence number is a 16-character code that’s unique to you - it's a mixture of letters and numbers You can find it on your photocard driving licence underneath the licence’s expiry date. It should have the number 5 before it.

What do these letters and numbers mean?

There are 5 parts to your driving licence number:

Surname. This takes up the first 5 characters of the driver number. If your surname is fewer than 5 letters, the remaining spaces are filled with the number 9. If your surname is longer, only the first 5 letters are used. For example:

  • LEE99
  • JOHNS (for Johnson)

Date of birth. This takes up 6 characters, and isn't formatted as you might expect it. The first and last numbers are your year of birth. Inside these numbers are your birth month followed by your birth day.

If you were assigned female at birth, the first number of your birth month goes up by 5. So, a male driver born on 23 March 1986 would have the number 803236. A female driver with the same birthday would have 853236. This is the only marker of a driver's gender on their driving licence.

Initials of your first names. This takes up 2 characters. If you don't have a middle name, the other character is a 9. For example:

  • Jamie Nicholas - JN
  • Adele - A9

Random security numbers. The last 3 characters are randomised for additional security. This helps stop fraudsters guessing your driving licence number based on your name and date of birth only.

You might see a 2-digit number further to the right of that 16-digit licence number. This is a 'licence issue' number, and it increases every time you get a new UK driving licence. It's not part of your 16-digit driving licence number, even though it's on the same part of your licence.

If you're a learner driver with a green photo card, your provisional driving licence number is in the exact same place as the full driving licence. It's a 16-digit number beneath the expiry date.

Normally this driving licence number is unique to you and shouldn't change.

If you're a learner driver, this number should carry over to your full driving licence after you pass your driving test.

The only times when your driving licence number might change is:

  • When you change your name after marriage or by deed poll
  • If you're a trans driver and want to update the 'gender marker' on your driver number

No, you don't have to have your driving licence number to get a car insurance policy. In fact, just over 3 in 5 (62%) of our customers chose to share their driving licence number when they got a car insurance quote*.

Although it's not mandatory, sharing your driver number could help lower your costs.

When you get a car insurance quote with us, we'll ask you:

  • What type of driving licence you have
  • How long you've had your driving licence
  • Whether you have any DVLA reported medical conditions or disabilities
  • If you'd like to enter your driving licence number

You have the choice of saying 'yes' or 'no' to this question - it's not mandatory.

*Confused.com data April 2022 - March 2023. Includes car insurance quotes for main driver only.

Why would I give my driving licence number for my insurance policy?

Whether you decide to share you driving licence number or not, you need to give insurers information about your driving history and what vehicles you're entitled to drive.

Sharing your licence information with them online means they can verify with the DVLA that everything you’ve told them is correct.

What our motor insurance expert says

"Most insurance companies give you the option of giving your driving licence number, and sharing this with information with us helps reduce the risk of fraud. It also helps reduce the risk of any mistakes when an insurer is working out your car insurance costs.

"Sharing your licence information means you get a more accurate car insurance quote."

You can check your driving licence for a list of point on your licence at the government website. To get this you need to enter:

  • Your 16-character driving licence number
  • Your 9-character National Insurance number
  • Your postcode

You should then see:

  • Personal details including name, address, date of birth, gender and type of licence
  • What vehicles you can drive and any restrictions on them
  • Penalties and disqualifications - a list of driving convictions and points on your licence

When you compare car insurance with us, we'll ask you about any motoring convictions, driving licence endorsements or fixed penalty points within the last 5 years.

If you can't remember or want to make sure the information is accurate, you can check your licence details online first.

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