Whether you’ve lost your V5C or can’t find your insurance documents, there’s no need to panic.
The good news is that it should be relatively straightforward to get replacements. But the steps you need to take differ depending on what you’ve actually lost.
Here's what you need to do if you’ve lost the paperwork you need for your car. From ordering a new logbook (V5C) and getting a replacement to arranging a new MOT certificate.
I've lost my V5C, what should I do?
The easiest way to replace a lost log book is to submit an online application with the DVLA at GOV.UK.
To apply for a new log book online, you need to provide:
The registration number
The VIN/chassis number of your car
The name and postcode registered in your log book
It can become slightly more complicated if any of the details in the original log book are out of date. If your personal details or the car’s information have changed, then you can’t apply for a replacement V5C online.
Instead, you must use form V62 to apply by post, sending it to the DVLA in Swansea.
You can also apply for a new log book over the phone by calling DVLA Vehicle Enquiries on 0300 790 6802. But this can also take up to 6 weeks.
One occasion where it’s important to have the right documents is when you're trying to sell your car. Although you can sell your car without its V5C, it might be difficult. So if you've lost your log book at this time, you should try applying for a new one.
If you’re buying a second-hand car you should also check its current owner hasn’t lost their log book.
How long does it take to get a replacement V5C?
If you apply online you should get your replacement V5C within 5 working days.
Phone and postal applications to replace lost log books take longer to process and you may have to wait around 4-6 weeks.
How to change the details on a V5C log book
If you need to change your log book details like your name or address, you can do so via the government website.
When changing your V5C details, you need the registration number of your vehicle and your log book reference number.
The DVLA must also be informed if you make major changes to your car and need to update your V5C. This includes changes to the colour, the chassis or the seating capacity.
You can inform the DVLA of these changes to your vehicle online.
How much does it cost to replace a lost V5C car log book?
The application costs £25, which you can pay online either by credit or debit card.
Should you later find your lost V5C, you can’t get a refund.
What is a V5C log book for?
Your V5C log book shows who is responsible for registering and taxing your vehicle. It doesn't prove ownership.
Can I sell my car if I can't find my V5C?
It's possible to sell your car without a V5C, but it's not recommended as it often makes the process more difficult.
Some buyers and dealers may lower their offer or simply refuse to buy a car when it's missing the log book. The lack of documentation can cause suspicion as it sometimes indicates the vehicle has been stolen or written-off.
But if you manage to sell a car without the log book, you still need to tell the DVLA about the change in ownership.
You also need to provide the buyer with a 'bill of sale' which should have the following details:
The buyer's full name and details
The car's make and model
The registration number and VIN plate number
The price and terms of payment
Confirmation that the car was 'sold as seen'
The signatures of both the buyer and seller
The date of the sale
This information should help the new owner apply for a new log book.
What should I do if I've lost my other motoring documents?
It's not just a lost V5C that you might need to replace. There are a variety of other essential motoring documents that you need when owning and driving a car.
Whether it's your insurance documents, driving licence or MOT certificate, it should be possible to have them replaced without much fuss.
How to replace your driving licence
If your driving licence has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, you should be able to get a replacement from the DVLA.
If you’re a resident of Great Britain, you can apply for a replacement driving licence through the GOV.UK portal. If you live in Northern Ireland, you can apply at nidirect.
For your online application, you need to provide:
Details of the addresses you’ve lived at during the past 3 years
Your National Insurance number
Your UK passport number
Confirmation you've not been disqualified from driving
If you have a valid passport, the DVLA may use your current passport photo for your new licence. But they need your permission to do so.
To complete the online application, you must pay £20 by credit or debit card. You should get a confirmation email from the DVLA once you’ve applied.
Expect to get your replacement photo ID driving licence through the post within a week. The DVLA no longer issues paper counterparts.
Should you then find your old licence at a later date, you need to return it through the post to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AB.
For more information, check out our guide on driving licence categories and codes.
How do I replace my MOT certificate?
You can also apply for a replacement MOT test certificate online at GOV.UK.
All you need is your car’s registration number and the 11-digit number from the log book.
There’s no charge to apply for a replacement MOT test certificate online.
Alternatively, you can request a replacement from any MOT centre – it doesn’t have to be the same centre where you got your MOT done.
But many MOT centres charge a £10 fee to do this, or they may charge you half the cost of the MOT.
You could get a hefty fine when driving with an expired MOT. But so long as your MOT is still valid, you’re allowed to drive as you wait for the replacement paperwork to arrive.
How to replace your car insurance policy documents
Car insurance companies generally allow you to access and print off your insurance documents online as and when you like.
Otherwise, you can contact your insurer to request a replacement document - this is often a Certificate of Motor Insurance. But some insurers might charge an administration fee to do it this way.
If you're unsure which insurer you're with, check your bank statements and search through your emails first.
Compare car insurance quotes
How to replace your passport
Whether your passport was lost, stolen or damaged, you must apply to the passport office for a replacement.
The passport office also says you must replace your passport if it has ‘more than reasonable wear and tear’ as you risk being turned away at border checkpoints.
The cost and process involved in getting a replacement passport depends on how quickly you need it.
Assuming you don’t need your replacement urgently, you can make a standard online application at GOV.UK.
As of 2 February 2023, the standard online application for adults costs £82.50 and £53.50 for children. You usually get your new passport within 10 weeks. To make the online application, you need a digital photo and a credit or debit card to make the payment.
If you’re replacing a lost or stolen passport, you need to ask someone to confirm your identity online as well.
You can also do a standard application by post using a paper form, though this costs £93 for adults and £64 for children.
For the paper application, you need 2 identical printed photos, with 1 of the photos countersigned by someone to confirm your identity.
If you need a passport urgently, there’s the Passport Office Online Premium Service. But you’re only allowed to use it if you actually have the old passport.
It costs £177 but means you could have a new passport within a couple of days.
The passport office also has a one-week Fast Track Service to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport. This costs £142.
But you need to book an appointment and pay by card in advance.