Your photocard driving licence probably contains a lot more information than you think, which is why it’s a good idea to check it every now and again. Here, mustard.co.uk, comparison site for cheap car insurance in the UK, explains how to check your licence and why it’s important to do it.
Why should I check my driving licence?
If certain details are incorrect or you’re driving with an expired licence, it could lead to a hefty fine. Checking your driving licence gives you the opportunity to review all the information and make sure it’s correct. It’s also a chance to double check when your licence expires so that you can apply for a new one in good time.
How do I check my driving licence online?
You’ll need to go to GOV.UK, view or share your driving licence information and enter your:
- Driving licence number (line five on your photocard licence)
- National Insurance number
- Postcode (as shown on your driving licence)
From there, you’ll be able to see your personal information, including your name, address and date of birth. You’ll also be able to check when your licence was issued, when it expires and what its status is (for example, if it’s a full licence).
There’ll also be a section that lists the types of vehicles you can drive (or ride) along with any restrictions attached to your licence, for instance, if you need glasses. A third section will set out any penalty points you have along with disqualifications.
When you check your licence online, you’ll also be able to generate what’s known as a ‘check code’. This enables other people to view your licence information and it’s something car hire companies often ask for.
How often do I need to renew my photocard driving licence?
If you’ve got a photocard licence, you’ll need to renew it every ten years. The quickest way to renew your licence is online at GOV.UK, it currently costs £14 and you’ll need:
- A valid UK passport
- Addresses from the last three years
- Your National Insurance number if you know it
If your licence expires and you don’t renew it, you can be fined up to £1,000.
If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to go to NIDirect and follow the instructions there.
Do I need to change my name and address on my driving licence?
Yes, you’ll also need to update your licence if you move house but doing this won’t cost you anything. Simply, go to GOV.UK, change your address on your driving licence. You can be fined £1,000 if you move and don’t update your details.
You can also update your name and gender without charge but you’ll need to fill in a D1 form for cars or motorbikes or a D2 form for a lorry or bus licence. You can get both forms from Post Office branches. When you apply, you’ll need to make sure you send off any accompanying documents (the forms will set out what you need). You can find more information at GOV.UK.
Do I need to share my driving licence number with insurers?
When you search for car insurance quotes, you’ll often be asked for your driving licence number. You’re not obliged to give them this information but it can help them calculate the fairest premium based on your driving record. It also means they can verify any information you’ve given them.
Giving insurers your driving licence number can also help lower the risk of misinformation which could risk invalidating your policy.
Can I drive while I’m waiting for my renewed driving licence?
If you’re waiting for your driving licence to come back from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), you should still be able to drive. However, you must meet certain conditions, including:
- You must be medically fit to drive
- You can only drive vehicles you were entitled to drive previously
- You have not been disqualified from driving
You can find a full list of conditions in the DVLA’s INF188/6 information leaflet.
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