Breakdown Assistance for Drivers

Car breakdown and rescue providers

Essential insurances for drivers

No one wants to end up stuck on the side of the road after a breakdown. Fortunately, if you’re a UK driver, car breakdown cover is available, ensuring that if something happens to your vehicle while you are on the road, you will get the help you need. Here’s a brief overview of car breakdown cover, including what it is, what it covers, and where to get it.

What is Car Breakdown Cover?

Just as it sounds, breakdown cover provides roadside assistance in the event a vehicle breaks down. It is frequently bundled in with your car insurance policy. There are two types of breakdown cover to choose from:

·        Vehicle cover: This policy applies to a certain vehicle, regardless of who is driving it.
      Personal cover: This policy applies to any vehicle you may be driving OR riding in, providing it meets your policy’s requirements.

Although you are not required to have car breakdown cover, it can certainly come in handy if you ever find yourself stranded on the side of the motorway. A free car check can help negate some of the risk of breaking down. MOT history let's you see when the car might have warnings for. Those parts could be replaced before the break completely and make the car unreliable. 

What is Included in Car Breakdown Cover?
Breakdown cover can vary greatly, depending on the specific policy you choose. Even the most basic policy should include rescue at the roadside by a skilled mechanic who has the knowledge and tools to find your problem quickly. If possible, the problem will be fixed on the spot. If not, towing will be arranged. This is where the policies may differ. Typically, a standard policy will only tow your vehicle a short distance to a local garage, while a higher tier policy may tow your vehicle anywhere in the UK.

The policy you choose will also determine:
·        How many call-outs you can make in a year, ranging from as few as 5 for basic policies to unlimited
·        Whether or not you are eligible for at home assistance, which covers your vehicle at home and up to a ¼ mile from your home

·        Whether or not you are eligible for national recovery, which will tow your vehicle to any UK destination, while also taking you and your passengers where you need to go
·        Whether or not you are eligible for onward travel, which allows entitles you to alternative transportation or a hired car while your vehicle is being serviced

What Can Car Breakdown Cover be Used for?

Car breakdown cover can be used for any type of event that leaves you stranded, such as a punctured tyre or a dead car battery. It can be used 24/7/365.

Who Offers Car Breakdown Cover?

In the UK, several providers offer this type of cover, including:

·        RAC: RAC offers several plans to choose from, ranging from standard for £5 per month to unlimited, which is available for £7.50 per month. Discounts may be given if you pay for an annual policy in full upfront.

·        AA: AA offers similar policies that are very similar to those available through RAC, although there most basic package does allow for unlimited call-outs and costs £12 per month. However, for £17 per month, you can get everything including national recovery and online travel.

·        Green Flag: Green Flag has 5 different coverage levels to choose from, including one that offers Europe cover, which provides roadside assistance throughout Europe. If you tend to travel, this is something worth considering.

Don’t allow yourself to get stuck on theside of the road, trying to find someone to help you. Get car breakdown cover, so that you are eligible for the assistance you need with a single phone call or click of an app.

DVLA History For Used Cars and Their Owners

Free car history check services

Using data provided by DVLA and other motoring databases

For UK motorists planning to purchase a used car, obtaining a car history check is a crucial step in the buying process. Often available at no charge, a car history check offers a detailed look at a vehicle’s full history and is the best way to make certain you don’t end up with a problem car. Below, you’ll learn what information is included in a car history check and what you will need to perform one.

What Information is Included when checking car history?

A car history check relies on information made available by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), as well as its full MOT history. Included in the are the::

·      Year of manufacture

·      Make, model, colour, and body type

·      Date the vehicle was initially registered and a car owner check depicting all previous owners

·      Weight, engine size, fuel type, number of gears, and transmission

·      CO2 emissions details

·      Issue date of last V5C (log book)

·      Date MOT expires

·      Vehicle tax, including the current rate and when it will expire

·      Mileage

·      Fuel type and anticipated fuel costs

·      Whether or not the car as been scrapped by the DVLA

·      Whether or not the vehicle has been written off by an insurance company

·      Whether or not the vehicle is listed as stolen on the Police National Computer

·      Any outstanding finance agreements or loan

·      Whether or not the vehicle has been imported or exported

·      Number plate changes

·      VIN/ chassis check

·      Alerts on potential recalls and/ or failure/ advisory notices

What is Needed to Perform a Car History Check?

In order to obtain a car history check, you will need the vehicle’s registration number/ number plate. If you are purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller, you may have to pay for the car history check. The cost varies, depending on what internet sit you go through to obtain the car history check. However, if you are making your purchase through a dealer, they will usually cover the cost.

Pay Special Attention To

There is certain information that you should pay special attention to when reading over a car history check. This includes:

·      Any salvage, loss, or junk events and/ or insurance write-offs, which indicates the vehicle has previously been involved in a significant accident

·      Any safety recalls or defects that cannot be easily fixed

·      Mileage, looking for any discrepancies that could indicate the odometer may have been rolled back

·      Where the vehicle has “lived,” looking for any areas that may have been flooded

·      Any lien on the vehicle that is owed by the previous seller

Purchasing a used vehicle is a major decision that shouldn't be made impulsively. Always be sure to look at a vehicle's car history check before you decide on a purchase.

Related articles within this blog about car previous owner history

DVLA services

How DVLA helps motorists 

List of services and guides

In Great Britain, the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is responsible for registering and licensing drivers, as well as collecting and enforcing the VED (vehicle excise duty).

dvla logo for motorists needs various online checks

The DVLA offers a wide range of services for all motorists throughout the UK. This includes services relating to your driving license, such as:
  • Applying for a provisional license
  • Applying for a full driving license
  • Replacing a damaged, destroyed, lost, or stolen license
  • Changing the address on a current license
  • Changing the name or gender on a current license
  • Changing the photo on a current license  
  • Renewing a license if you are 70 years old or older
  • Renewing a full license
  • Tracking your driving license application
  • Booking a driving test

In addition, motorists can use the DVLA website to:
  • Pay DVLA fines
  • Appeal DVLA fines
  • Pay DVSA roadside fines
  • Appeal a penalty charge notice
  • Pay a parking fine issued by a local council (England and Wales only)
  • Challenge a parking fine issued by a local council (England and Wales only)
  • Determine what to do if you receive fines on a vehicle you no longer own
  • Tell the DVLA you have bought, sold, or transferred a vehicle
  • Check to see if a vehicle, accessory, or part has been recalled
  • Report that a vehicle you have checked has been written off
  • Apply for a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) and/ or check a vehicle’s SORN status

Services pertaining to vehicles that are offered by the DVLA check include:
  • Calculating vehicle tax rates, including on historic and company cars
  • Paying your vehicle tax
  • Canceling your vehicle tax and receiving a refund
  • Verifying if vehicle tax is up to date
  • Changing a vehicle’s tax class
  • Checking a vehicle’s MOT status
  • Checking the history of a vehicle’s MOT status
  • Replacing a damaged or misplaced MOT certificate
  • Requesting personalised number plates

Information of Licensing, Vehicles, Road Safety, and Instructor Training
The DVLA also offers extensive information for UK motorists on all topics related to licensing, vehicles, vehicle rules, and safety. Additionally, it provides details on how to become a driving, fleet driver, large goods vehicle, and motorcycle instructor.

DVLA Forms and Needed Supporting Documentation
In addition, the DVLA website allows motorists to easily access any forms that may need to be completed prior to accessing any of their offered services. The website also lists any supporting information that will also be needed, such as a valid insurance certificate.


DVLA checks and mental health

Driving, mental health and DVLA notifications

Staying safe and legal behind the wheel of your car

At the time of making your application for a full or provisional drivers license or applying for a new or replacement, look out for the application section outlining some essential questions about your health. In this section, notify DVLA of any mental health issues you may have. It includes diagnosis from a mental health body or General Practitioner (GP).

Should you have already passed your driving test and have a full UK license and become diagnosed with a new mental health problem, you must get in touch with DVLA immediately (before you begin driving your car again). In particular, when your doctor or GP tells you to get in touch. Use this link on to find the correct form from notification (due to COVID-19 epidemic, there are significant delays in response).

DVLA also expect immediate notification should an existing mental health problem becomes progressively worse.

There are a series of medical questionnaires provided by DVLA for such circumstances. Use this link on the DVLA website for more information.

Further details on when notification becomes mandatory:

  • For a mental health diagnosis
  • Prescribed medications to support your problem
  • Symptoms and side effects of using the medication

    The DVLA M1 online form was designed for those who drive a motorcycle or car and need to notify DVLA of a diagnosis. See for details.

Diagnosis by type

  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Depression 
  • Agoraphobia
  • Paranoid Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorder
  • Psychotic Depression
  • Related conditions

 Sharing information and permissions

The notification includes a page where you need to sing declaration and give permission for the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency to obtain information relating to your medical condition (s) via your GP. To drive safely and legally, you must provide permission so DVLA can get the necessary information else your driver's licence may be revoked until further notice. 

DVLA MOT information for motorists during COVID-19: 

The content from this article was composed by automotive experts at CarVeto, with thanks to


Checking vehicle history

Vehicle checks via DVLA

The driver and vehicle licensing agency provide vast data for car, motorbikes and light commercials. Provided via the website, search using a vehicle check registration number and delve into the maintenance, tax, MOT history, vehicle details and SORN status. DVLA also cite askMID for road insurance checks.

car check screenshot from dvla website

How will this information help if I am buying a car? 

When buying a car privately, it's important to see the current tax and MOT status together with annual costs. 

The MOT history database holds full data from 2005 for any UK registered car (excluding those that might have been imported or exported and then imported where history was not available). 

Check how a vehicle performed on each test, if it passed, failed and/or carried advisory notes. This is useful when buying, especially when checking the last couple of MOT tests. It's the last two years of maintenance and repair that tend to dictate how much money will need to be spent on the car in the coming 12-months. 

When a car had advisory notes for worn drive shaft or brake discs, they may not have been replaced at the time of MOT test. These parts are very likely to need replacing as an MOT technician is likely to fail the car on the parts that were advisories last time around. 

In a broad sense, you can predict how well the vehicle will perform in its next test. That allows the chance to calculate maintenance and repair spends. 

askMID vehicle insurance check

For private buyers, this is another essential check provided for free by DVLA. 
All privately held vehicles must be insured and taxed at all times. If you check a vehicle is over three years old it must also have a valid MOT. 

Checking via askMID database will ensure the car is currently insured by the registered keeper/owner. 


The only exception is statutory off road notification/SORN. If a privately owned car has a sorn it does not need tax, mot or insurance. But, the vehicle checked must not be on the road either. 

Vehicles not found on a DVLA chec
It happens. Some reg numbers are unfound on DVLA. In most cases, this is due to the vehicle have a number plate change. There is often a short period between car reg's where DVLA are yet to update. 

Aside from this one example, if a car is not found on the .gov site you may want to run some additional checks or contact DVLA directly to ensure the vehicle is legitimate and legal to buy. 


Selling a car and notifying DVLA

Managing car documents after you have sold your car

Steps to take when a car remains in the UK or is being exported

Don't miss out on road tax refunds

sell my car online

Sell a vehicle

What you need to tell DVLA when you sell a vehicle online or in person prior to selling your car.

You must update your V5C vehicle registration document (logbook) if you have 
  • made any changes to your vehicle that DVLA need to be made aware of (this can impact emissions, MOT testing and road tax status
  • Changed your name or address or other personal information

If you don’t tell DVLA about changes after a sale or transfer of a car, you may miss out on road tax refunds.

When selling your car

You’ll need the V5C log book to help sell your car. It is good to let the buyer have a look at it so they can ensure it is genuine and matches your vehicle.

But, do not give them the logbook document reference number or provide them with an image of your vehicle logbook. If a third party has this much information they can easily defraud you and get a fake logbook. This often contributes to cloned or stolen cars.

If you have a vanity plate (private numbe plate) that you plan to keep and transfer to a new vehicle, apply to DVLA for removal, before you sell:

After you have sold your car

If the buyer is keeping your old car in the UK, give them the green ‘new keepers supplement’ slip from the V5 logbook.

You have to notify DVLA of a sale or transfer and provide the new keeprs full name and address.
Should the car be exported abroad, complete the ‘permenent export’ section of your V5 logbook. 

Send this slip to DVLA, Swansea, SA991BD. Do not send the logbook to DVLA as the new owner needs it for importing into a new country. 

However, do include a letter with your slip that states the new owners name and address.

Remember to pick up any road tax refund after a permanent exportation of a car.

Haven't sold yet and need some help? 

Related articles: Selling a car and outstanding finance
What Quora has to say about staying safe when selling a vehicle 

Car mileage and clocking

Car clocking rise in the UK

Over the last five years, CarVeto has seen a spike in cars undergoing mileage tampering, commonly known as car clocking. In fact, a huge 45% increase has been recognised with around 1 in 11 vehicles now have some mileage issue recorded against them.

We check mileage history via the MOT DVLA mileage check system for vehicles aged 3 years and over. If mileage was higher at an earlier time in vehicle life, we flag a discrepancy and produce a Warning check result.

What is the biggest issue for the motorist

Cars are clocked to increase resale value. It’s an age old practice for those people intent of deception and includes elaborate service history fabrications and other fake documents. So, a car with 100,000 mileage is worth a lot less than its counterpart with 50,000 miles.


The biggest issue to hand, though is vehicle safety. If a car has been clocked and you buy it without knowledge of actual distance travelled, you’ve no idea how worn the parts are. You also can’t account for cam belt replacements or when the car was last serviced. At least you can check MOT history, online. 

It’s said that car clocking is cost motorists near to 100 million every year.

Is the sale legal

No, it is illegal to sell a vehicle that has been clocked (go here for mileage check reports), without declaring it as ingenue miles. However, the practice of mileage altering is not unlawful.

Metrics over recent years

There has an increase of almost 25% from 2018 to 2019 mileage discrepancies. In 2019, nearly 850,000 vehicles were traced as clocked, but it was a little over 600,000 the year before.

Beyond mileage, CarVeto picks up one in three-vehicles with some hidden history. Significant issues for the motorist to content with including outstanding finance, theft and write offs.

Car tax check

Get road tax

All UK vehicles on this road must have road tax, otherwise known as road fund license. Permits can be obtained for all vehicles via the .gov website

Road tax status

You can check if a car is taxed, MOT'd or insured with a free car check from CarVeto. Useful data includes import, vehicle information and car insurance group/status.

How to get road tax

Tax your motorcycle, car, lorry or other vehicle type by using reference number from one of these vehicle documents:

  • Your V5C DVLA logbook (the vehicle needs to be registered in your name to enable this)
  • A recent V11 reminder form (this might also be called 'last change' via a DVLA final warning letter)
  • Green 'new keepers supplement' (this slip is attached to the current V5C and obtained at point of purchasing the vehicle). The vehicle will not be registered in your name if using this method

Payment is made with a valid credit or debit card, or monthly via bank Direct Debit.

Exceptions and getting road tax

You may qualify for road tax exemption i.e. if disabled or the vehicle is over a certain age. Use this link to learn about exemptions

Changing vehicle taxation class

This occurs when the previous car owner was disabled or if you are disabled and have just bought the vehicle. It is a very important step. Get all the information via .gov.

Other ways to apply for car tax

DVLA contact information
DVLA vehicle taxation
Call: 0300 123 4321

Post office
Most local post offices deal with car tax. Here is what you'll need:

  • Vehicle logbook registered in your name
  • New keeper supplement
Without either of these you must apply for a new V5C logbook via the DVLA V62 form (use link for full article). 
If this is the case for you, you need to register your car with DVLA as SORN until you get a new logbook from DVLA. Here's a useful guide on how to SORN my car

If your vehicle is over 3 years of age, you'll need a current MOT certificate too. You can't tax a car without it. 
Note, MOT data can take a few days to update on the government database. So, there is a minor chance you can't tax your car via this method. 

Car tax explainer

What's an HPI Check?

The hpi check

Myths of a car checking service

Hpi check was founded in 1938 and are the longest standing car history checking service in the UK. 

What does Hpi mean? It is an acronym meaning HirePurchase Investigation (internal link).

But hpicheck is a brand and not a standard vehicle history check.

Is there a free hpi check for drivers?

No, they don’t offer any type of free service. Hpi provides three paid products ranging for £9.99 necessary checks to a full car check as £19.99. There is a multiple purchase product at £29.97 for three tests.

defining an hpi check for motorists
Bought a car with the help of hpi

What do you get in each car check?

Let’s focus on the full check at £19.99 as it is the one you’ll need if you are buying a used car. It includes finance data, write off checks, stolen car checks and National Mileage Register (NMR) history.

These four checks make the most difference when buying. If your hpi car check shows any issues related to these investigations, ensure you look deeper into vehicle history as you may lose money.

Other checks carried out include number plate changes, colour changes, mot and tax history and import or export history. These data points are less likely to determine if the car is a good buy or not. But, they remain essential and should be looked into should your check from hpi show up concerns.

Free check services

Here are some vehicle data check firms that provide a free, initial check. My car check, CarVeto, Total car check. Prices range from £1.99 to £14.99, excluding multibuys.

Other providers not yet mentioned include

RAC passport, AA car check (this is an affiliation programme with hpi check), Autotrader vehicle check.

Prices are like the aforementioned and range from £10 to £20.

Of all providers, CarVeto is the only one to offer a comprehensive, used car buying guide with each full check (Platinum). This product is £12.50 and prices 40% cheaper than hpi’s, and we include our car buyers guide for each customer.

We also have industry-leading customer service and rely on almost 30-years of direct used automotive experience.

What do you get with a free car check?

Getting car check for free before you buy

The best spent money when buying a second hand car has to be a car history check. Reports provide useful background information about a car, van or motorcycle, preferably accessed before you buy. 

The UK vehicle check market is rather competitive with a wide variety of services to choose from. Here are some well known ones you might have used before

  • Total car check
  • AA car check
  • RAC Passport
  • My car check
  • CarVeto
  • HPI check

Some of these services offer a free car check, others only provide a paid car report. 

free car check services in the UK

The essential car data checks

Before paying a holding deposit or buying a vehicle, you need to know if it has history of being a write off, stolen, outstanding finance or mileage problems. 

Note, no free history checks give you this data. It is premium information and costs to buy. 

Car history check service fees vary considerable. You can obtain some of the critical information for just a couple of pounds whist some of the services listed above change almost £20.00. 

What is included in a free car check? 

You will get vehicle details, mot and road tax data, SORN status, import status. Really, a free check allows you to confirm basic information before you buy a premium service. This data is sourced via the DVLA check api

Ensure the car you are buying is genuine and does not have a hidden history. 
A related service includes a car inspection service with providers like Clickmechanic and the AA breakdown.