DVLA registered keeper vs the legal owner of a car.

How DVLA and Police regard car ownership.


Who owns a car when the main driver is not the DVLA registered keeper?

The V5C logbook provided by DVLA is not evidence of legal car ownership. Instead, it states the name and address of the registered keeper as the responsible owner or driver of the vehicle.

Nearest car ownership information

Reports includes all ownership dates of change, number of previous keepers, last V5C issue, registered near data.

Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency make a clear statement on the V5 logbook stipulating the document is not proof of ownership. It means the DVLA registered keeper is not always the legal owner of a car.

Image text “This V5C logbook is NOT proof of ownership”

how to prove registered keeper ownership of a car

Who is the legal owner of a vehicle?

The buyer is the individual who owns a car. That may or may not be the registered keeper with DVLA.

This guide explains if it’s possible to find car owner by registration number.

Company cars are a good example of this. The company may be the legal owners (unless the car is subject to a finance or lease agreement) as they have purchased the vehicle. The driver registers it with their name and address via DVLA logbook and drives the vehicle for business and domestic purposes. There is a good reason for doing this.

Similarly, a family member such as a father might purchase a car on behalf of their son or daughter who registered their personal details with DVLA.

Driving within the law

The registered keeper is responsible to the DVLA and Police in case of:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Parking offences
  • Speeding fines (cameras)

Although the individual may not be the legal owner of the car, they assume responsibility for it. Use one of CarVeto’s free vehicle history check reports to search out information pertaining to a car registered in the UK.

Car insurance main driver not registered keeper


Insuring a car, you don’t legally own

There are lots of reasons why you might want car insurance for a vehicle you don’t legally own. You may wish to borrow a friend or family member’s car for a day, week, or month. You may be driving a car to an MOT station on behalf of someone else.

Whatever the reason, it is your responsibility (and the car owners) to have a valid motor insurance policy whilst behind the wheel.

But in most cases, an insurance company will insist that the policyholder is the primary vehicle user.


Getting insured on someone else’s car

Check you are not already insured

If you have a fully comprehensive policy for a car you already own, there is a reasonable chance you will be insured as a third party to drive another vehicle. In most cases, you will not need to notify the insurance company, DVLA check or police that you are about to drive the vehicle in question.

Check your insurance policy to see if this is the case for you.


Buy an insurance policy

Sounds obvious, but if you are insuring a car you don’t own, notify the insurance company of the fact, so you can meet their terms and conditions.


Become a named driver

A policyholder adds an additional driver to their policy. It’s worth finding out the level of cover you will have as a named driver. This may be dictated by your age, speeding offences you have had in the last 3 years and the cost for each type of cover.

The key here is to be in the know at all times and to minimise risk.


Short term policy

Savvy insurance companies now offer short-term policies for immediate needs. This is straightforward with cover usually available from 28 days to three months.

Who is the legal owner of a car on finance?


There are different types of car finance:

  • Hire purchase
    Registered keeper becomes the legal owner once the total borrowed amount/debt has been paid off, usually in equal monthly instalments. It is sometimes possible to settled an outstanding balance early (this depends on the individual agreement)
  • Personal contract purchase
    Registered keeper has the option to buy the vehicle after the agreed contract period has expired. At this stage, the vehicle can be purchased at the agreed balloon payment charge. In some instances, it may be possible to settle a balloon payment over an agreed period such as 12 or 24 months
  • Lease purchase
    Vehicle remain the property of the lending house
  • Personal contract hire
    Remains the property of the lending house
  • Leasing
    Long term car hire type agreement (minimum of 1-year) with no purchase option


With all agreements listed here, when finance remains outstanding, the vehicle belongs to the lending company. Due to this fact, it is illegal to sell a vehicle with outstanding finance.

Finding out information about a car owner

If you are looking to see who owns a car, your first step is usually a CarVeto report. It provides the nearest online data pertaining to car ownership.


Enter a car reg number below for an instant report


We can provide you with the following information if the car was registered in the UK from new:

  • How many owners the car has had
  • The date the registered keeper acquired the car
  • The length of time the registered keeper has had the car in their possession
  • The date the previous owner sold the car
  • The date the previous owner bought the car
  • Vehicle age
  • Date of registration
  • The city (or region) or postcode area where the car is currently registered with DVLA


If you need further details, the V888 offered by DVLA is your next step. This is the only legal method of obtaining the name and address of the existing or previous keeper. There are specific criteria to meet upon application as stipulated by reasonable cause. This usually includes criteria such as:

  • Road traffic accident queries
  • Abandoned vehicles
  • Illegal parking
  • Parking fines
  • Theft of goods
  • Suspicion of insurance fraud (recommend to check the askMID database first)

We know of instances where a DVLA registration check has provided details of the registered keeper and previous keepers, including names and addresses.


Requesting Information About The Registered Keeper From The DVLA

If you want to request information about the registered keeper of a vehicle from the DVLA, you will need to have ‘reasonable cause’.

Check our full reg check guide on requesting information from DVLA. In short, you can request information in 3 capacities:

  1. Request information about an individual V888
  2. Request information as a company about an individual


We have a great deal of additional information surrounding the keepers of a car. Our previous guide discusses a DVLA change of ownership with or without the V5C logbook.

Use the following link to SORN my car

Useful citations included within this guide

Request information from DVLA: https://www.gov.uk/request-information-from-dvla
Request information from DVLA about an individual: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/v888-request-by-an-individual-for-information-about-a-vehicle
Request information from DVLA as a company: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/request-by-a-company-for-keeper-at-date-of-event-information-form-v8882a
Request information from DVLA as a parking ticket issuer: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/v8883-request-for-information-for-those-who-issue-a-parking-charge-notice
DVLA vehicle owner check free

The automotive team, CarVeto