Don’t forget your car insurance renewal, MOT or tax

Don’t forget your car insurance renewal, MOT or tax


There’s a lot to remember when you own a car. Losing your keys can be a major inconvenience, and forgetting to top up with petrol could really spoil your journey. 

But when it comes to renewing your MOT, tax or insurance, being forgetful could end up costing you thousands of pounds, and you could even lose your licence. Find out what can happen when drivers forget to renew - and how to avoid those costly fines.

Getting an annual MOT is not only a legal requirement for drivers, but it’s also essential to ensure the vehicle you’re driving is safe. Many people assume that they will receive an annual MOT reminder automatically, but this won’t happen unless you set one up, meaning many drivers forget to book in their test.

If you have forgotten to renew your MOT, you’re not alone. In 2019, an average of over half a million people per month were up to 12 weeks late in renewing their MOT, putting themselves at risk of being fined, according to data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA1).

The overwhelming majority (81%) of all late MOTs were renewed within three months of their expiry date. However, tens of thousands of drivers leave it longer than a year to get their vehicle tested, risking their own safety and a hefty fine of up to £1000, as well as invalidating their insurance. 

If you are caught driving a dangerous vehicle with no MOT, that fine could rise to £2500 - and include three points on your licence.

The DVSA figures reveal that drivers are more likely to forget their MOT if it’s due in May than in any other month, whereas December shows a marked drop in the number of expired MOT certificates in comparison to the rest of the year.

If you discover your MOT has expired, it is illegal to drive your vehicle except to a pre-arranged MOT appointment.

Percentage of MOTs due by month

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has meant it’s been more difficult to arrange an MOT, so the government has allowed for an extension for all MOTs set to expire between 30 March 2020 and 31 July 2020. This allows drivers an extra six months to arrange their MOT from its original expiry date and mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August 2020.

However, you will not receive an updated certificate with the new expiry date, so it’s important to set yourself a reminder so you don’t miss it when the time comes.

The extension means that motorists for whom the MOT was due at the end of March will be looking to book their test in October instead. MoneySuperMarket Car Monitor user data shows that October is the busiest time for MOT tests - even before COVID-19 - with 15% of all renewals due that month, so garages will almost certainly be busier than normal.

To find out more about the extension and how you can keep your car safe, check out our guide on how to check your vehicle is roadworthy. You can also set up free and easy MOT renewal reminders through our Car Monitor.

Calendar of forgotten MOTs

In the past, the paper tax disc in your windscreen was a helpful visual reminder of your renewal date. These were abolished in 2014, and the following three years saw the number of untaxed vehicles treble in the UK. According to data from the Department for Transport1, in 2019, 1.6% of all vehicles on the road were untaxed – that’s over 634,000 vehicles!

When your car tax is up for renewal, you should receive a V11 reminder letter in the post to help you to remember. It’s also a good idea to be on the safe side and set your own reminders, as if you are caught driving without tax, you could face a fine of up to £1000. Even if your vehicle is stationary on the road, if you’ve forgotten to pay the tax, it could be clamped or even impounded!

MoneySuperMarket Car Monitor user data2 shows that the most popular month for drivers’ tax renewal is August, whereas most insurance renewals occur in January, March and May.

Car Insurance is a legal requirement and forgetting to renew your policy could bring severe penalties. If you’re caught driving an uninsured vehicle, the police could give you a fixed fine of £300 and six penalty points. However, if your case ends up going to court, you could receive an unlimited fine and risk being banned from driving altogether.

Cars are a major investment for some people and being involved in an accident, or having your vehicle stolen can be costly. Depending on your coverage, your policy should provide financial protection if your car is stolen or involved in an accident. It should also offer cover for injuries or damages to people and property, so it’s essential that you renew your insurance when it’s due.

Many insurance companies offer customers a rolling auto-renewal, which takes away the need to remember to renew. However, this could mean that you miss out on a better deal, so setting up an early reminder will give you time to shop around and assess your options.

If your car insurance’s end date is looming and you’re considering a new lender, you can compare quotes by checking out our car insurance page. We make it quick and easy to figure out how you can get the best and most affordable rate, and we even offer automatic reminders through our credit monitor app.

Photocard driving licences were introduced in 1998 and must be updated every ten years – so if you got one when they were first brought in, you should have updated it twice by now!

However, recent figures from the DVLA1 suggest that 2.3 million people in the UK are driving without a valid licence – putting themselves at risk of a fine of up to £1000.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the DVLA has granted an automatic 7-month extension period to drivers whose photocard licences expire between 1 February 2020 and 31 August 2020. If this applies to you, you will be sent a renewal letter at the end of this 7-month extension period.

If you can’t remember your licence renewal date, you can find the expiry date printed on the front of your photocard, under section 4b. It’s important to let the DVLA know if you change address as you should receive a renewal letter in the post before your licence is due to expire – but only if your address is up to date!

It’s essential you don’t forget to update your details on your licence as having an incorrect address, could also incur a fine of up to £1000. If you’re moving house, make sure you remember to change your driving licence at the same time. Similarly, if your name or gender has changed, you need to have this updated on your licence, too to avoid being fined.

In 2018 alone, there were over 96,000 fines issued for offences related to driving licences, insurance and record keeping – which includes people who simply forgot to keep their paperwork in check.

London saw the highest number of driving documentation offences in 2018, with almost 30% of all infringements across the UK, which is perhaps unsurprising considering its population density. The area with the second highest number of offences was the east of England, with 14% of all cases.

Across northern England, it seems that the north-west could be more forgetful than the north-east. North-east England had the smallest number of paperwork offences in the country - just 2715; 2% of the UK total - whereas north-west England was a whopping 10% higher, with 19,555 documented offences. A further 10% of documentation offences were recorded across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Across Wales and the south-west of England, numbers are lower. Only 4% of all paperwork offences occurred in Wales, and 5% across the south-west.

Many of these offences were endorsable, meaning that drivers received penalty points on their licence as well as on-the-spot fines – so it’s worth taking the time to check that all of your paperwork is in order to avoid it happening to you.

Number of driving offences in 2018 involving licence, insurance, or vehicle tax, broken down by region. 

License, insurance and car tax offences by region

It’s easy to forget things like insurance or tax, especially when they only come up once a year – but as the data shows, it can be easily done. So, what can you do to improve your memory and avoid a potentially hefty fine?

Nelson Dellis is a four-time USA Memory Champion and one of the world’s leading memory experts. He gave us his six top tips on what you can do to improve your memory.



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Having a good memory starts with intention. If you look at something you want to remember and tell yourself, “I WANT to remember this,” you’re more likely to remember it, as you are now focussed on it.



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Our brains prefer to remember pictures, so if you can convert a date, name or address etc. into an image, you’re on your way to having a stronger memory.

Let’s say you want to remember your car registration and it’s DB19 MSM. You can try breaking the numbers and letters into smaller groups to see if they remind you of anything.

  1. DB may remind you of David Bowie
  2. 19 may remind you of how old you were when you bought your first car
  3. MSM may remind you of ‘MoneySuperMarket!’ 



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Like any other skill, memory gets better with practice. You can practice by trying to use your memory instead of relying on your phone’s contact list when calling people - see how many people’s phone numbers you can remember off by heart!


Make it foolproof

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Being less forgetful can simply be a case of being better prepared. Let’s say you need to remember to renew your car insurance, but you’re worried you’ll forget. Combat this by drawing a picture of a car and placing it next to your computer. When future-you goes to log on, you’ll see the car, and it will remind you to take the time to look for car insurance quotes. 



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Once you have a picture for something you want to memorise, like your car registration number, you’ll want to remember what those numbers and digits are for, so try and associate that image to what it represents. For example, with the number plate DB19 MSM, you can imagine yourself aged 19, driving along, listening to David Bowie after getting a great deal on your car insurance. This way, you’re associating the images of the number plate to what they represent – the car.


Look for patterns

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Memorising something is easier when it makes sense to you, so always be on the lookout for patterns. In the case of your own car registration, take a look to see if there are any fun patterns that can make it more memorable!

Test your memory

Put your memory skills to the test with our unique memory game. See if you can spot all the differences in the game below and share your results to see how you stack up against your friends and family!

Image of first car interior to compare
  1. Sunglasses
  2. Company logo
  3. Seat design
  4. Seat design
  5. Coffee cup
  6. Air freshener
  7. Song playing
  8. Extra key

differences left

Image of second car interior for comparison
  1. Sunglasses
  2. Company logo
  3. Seat design
  4. Seat design
  5. Coffee cup
  6. Air freshener
  7. Song playing
  8. Extra key

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  1. MoneySuperMarket submitted Freedom of Information request to the DVSA and received the MOT data on the 20th of April
  2. Department for Transport 2019 Vehicle Excise Duty Evasion statistics
  3. MoneySuperMarket Car Monitor User Data
  4. DVLA data figures as per