If you have reason to find out who owns a vehicle, then perhaps you’ve wondered how you could access this information. There are several reasons why you might want to do this. Perhaps it appears that the car has been abandoned close to your home, and you’re keen to have it removed. If this is the case, then you’re likely to want to know whether or not the car is taxed and insured – especially if it’s parked on a public road. After all, any car kept on a public road must, by law, have insurance and tax.
Alternatively, you may simply be curious. Perhaps someone on your neighbourhood has recently acquired a classic car, and you’re interested in finding out more about the make and model. Another reason could be to check that the car is the age that the number plate indicates, clearly this would be of particular interest to anyone considering the purchase of a used vehicle. You wouldn’t want to pay more than the car is worth, so it’s vital in this case to know its true age.
How can you look up someone’s licence plate?
There are a range of checks you can perform via the DVLA or Motor Insurance Database (MID), as outlined below.
DVLA Vehicle Information check
The first is a simple vehicle information query via the DVLA, for which you will need the registration number. To obtain details regarding the vehicle’s tax or MOT status, age, engine size and fuel type, you simply input the registration and the results will tell you whether the vehicle is taxed, if it has an MOT, how old it is, what type of fuel it uses and the car’s engine size.
Via the MID, you can check the insurance status of a vehicle. This can prove useful for forgetful owners who want to check if their car is insured. You have to complete a declaration when completing the form for this, stating whether you own or regularly drive the car, or if you represent an insurer.
You can also use an MID search to check the insurance status of someone else’s car, although the point of this query is really to assist those who have experienced an accident. The online form therefore asks for details such as the collision date, third party registration number and what your part in the incident was.
You can also run an MOT search via the DVLA, which will tell you whether the car passed or failed its MOT, the due date, what parts failed and where the test was carried out – although you’ll need the number from the V5C, or log book, to view the latter.
How to find a car owner by number plate
If your query relates to the owner rather than the vehicle itself, then you can request information from the DVLA about the car or van – or its registered keeper. However you must have ‘reasonable cause’ for requiring this information – curiosity alone will not suffice.
Some of the ‘reasonable causes’ the DVLA is likely to accept include finding out who owns a vehicle parked on private land, or one that has been abandoned. Trying to trace someone who caused an accident is another good reason, as is trying to track a person who has driven off without paying for something, such as fuel. The owner can also be traced for purposes of parking tickets and notices of trespass, and anyone who may have committed insurance fraud may also be traceable by this means. To apply, you must fill in form V888, and email or post this request to the DVLA.