Helpful ideas to keep you motoring

keeping you on the road

Is your driving licence valid – check now!

Photocard driving licences, issued for the first time in 1998, have a sting in the tail. They are only valid for 10 years, just like passports. Many people in the UK are not aware of this – after all, who has time to read small print?

The trouble is, around 2 million driving licence photocards have already expired and another 2.6 million licences were due to expire in 2013.

Why photocard driving licences need renewing

The thinking behind renewing your photocard has some merit. We all change as we get older and there is little point in having a driving licence with a picture that is years out of date. Just as your passport photo needs to be fairly current, so does the image on your photocard driving licence.

It’s easy to be unaware that your licence is out of date

The problem is that the government haven’t really advertised this fact widely. If you have misplaced your photocard and check your counterpart green licence, you will think you are valid to drive until your 70th birthday, but don’t be caught out. The photocard itself has its own expiry date, which is on section 4b, the front of the pink card.

Penalties for having a lapsed driving licence

The only penalty is a fine of up to £1000.

It is widely reported that not having an up-to-date photocard driving licence will invalidate your car insurance but, unless you have been disqualified or have DVLA instructions not to drive, this is not necessarily the case. If Octagon Insurance becomes aware that your photo licence has expired, we will request that you renew it and confirm to us this has occurred. However, the police may seize your vehicle and charge costs of around £30 a day until you have replaced your licence and can retrieve your vehicle.

Take action now

Few of us can remember when we either got our photocard licence or the last time we renewed it. Check your photocard now.

If you can’t find it or you check it and it’s out of date, you need to renew now. The cost is £20 but that’s still cheaper than the average current fine – which could go up in the future to the maximum allowable.

How to renew your photocard driving licence

  • Do it online. Go to www.gov.uk and you can renew on the website if you hold one of the newer style digital passports.
  • Do it by post. Go online to the DVLA website to download a renewal form or get one from a post office, fill it in and post it off.
  • Do it in person. If you go to a post office and send off the completed form through them, you also need to pay a £4.50 admin charge.

Avoid other renewal websites

Make sure you use one of the three routes above to renew your driving licence. Do not be tempted by other sites that offer to arrange your driving licence renewal – they are likely to charge you an additional admin fee of up to £30, making your overall cost close to £50.

Still got an old style paper licence?

If you have the old style licence then these are still valid and do not expire until you are 70, so you don’t need to do anything until then unless your address or personal details change. But by 2033 all licences must be in the photocard format.

At 70 there is no fee to renew, and you will receive a photocard. You can upgrade before you turn 70. You can apply to change your paper licence for a photocard, however there is a £20 cost and have to provide additional identification (see Gov.uk).

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