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United Kingdom (UK) - Car Tax and Insurance

Driving in the United Kingdom requires a valid driver’s licence, a registered vehicle, and insurance. When you buy a new car, vehicle taxes will be paid during the purchasing process, which may also include the registration taxes and fees. If the taxes are not paid by the dealership when you provide the car payment, you will pay all the taxes when you go to register for car tags at the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

UK registered vehicles are taxed a Vehicle Excise Duty or VED. This tax includes hydrocarbon oil duty as well as the vehicle tax. There will be a VAT tax on fuel purchases. You may also see VAT tax on your import, depending on where you have imported the vehicle from. You will see a first time car registration fee on your registration payment to the DVLA when you buy a new or used car.

Insurance Requirements

The United Kingdom requires you to have car insurance if you drive or own a vehicle. The type of insurance you elect to have is up to you, although you must have at least third party car insurance. Third party car insurance is the minimum government requirement, and is also known as liability insurance.

Third party insurance will only pay for damages to another person’s property, any injuries the other party might have sustained, or an incident in which the driver is found at fault. It will pay out in the event you cause an incident where there is damage or injury to the car and driver, or to their passengers. You will not be covered for your own vehicle. It does not cover theft or fire. It is the least expensive policy you can obtain in the UK. However, the costs of repairs to your own vehicle if you have an accident may be high enough to negate any savings you make.

Third Party Fire and Theft Insurance

You do also have the option of taking out third party fire and theft insurance. This provides you with more coverage than regular third party insurance. You still have the same level of cover as the regular policy, however you are now also covered for theft or fire, ensuring that if you suffer damage or loss you will be covered. Again, there are limitations to this type of policy. You will not have comprehensive cover, but that might be unimportant depending on the age of your car. It is important to consider all potential issues when purchasing car insurance in the UK.

Comprehensive Car Insurance

This is the third level of coverage for car insurance. As an expat you may be inclined to take out this insurance if you import a newer vehicle. Comprehensive insurance will provide cover for damage to your vehicle and other vehicles. It has a range of cover for fire, theft and accidents if you are at fault. Comprehensive cover can vary from company to company. It is important to compare the different policies under comprehensive cover to determine the best level of coverage. You want to have cover that fits your situation and needs. Some companies provide additional services such as breakdown cover.

Gaining Enough Cover

Recent studies have shown that UK drivers tend to be underinsured, which can cause financial problems after an accident. Vehicles are becoming more expensive to repair and associated costs are also rising. When you look for insurance cover in the United Kingdom, you want to make sure you are paying for services you will actually use, but also that you are fully covered.

In the event that the other driver is at fault but does not have enough cover, you may need to seek help from your insurance company for repairing the damage to your car. Online comparison tools will help you to find the right amount of cover for your car.


Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

This agency is for registration in England, Wales, and Scotland of your vehicle.

Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA)

This is the agency for vehicle registrations in Northern Ireland.

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