Is buying car insurance about to get simpler?

A row of cars, possibly at a car dealership or maybe just a large outdoor car park
The ABI estimates that MyLicence could save motorists £15 a year on their insurance
"While the new system will help insurers tackle fraud, customers probably won't see the full benefits for a number of years," Lee Griffin,
  • | by Emily Bater

A new government initiative could mean that buying motor insurance is about to get a whole lot simpler and speedier - or at least that's what the government hopes.

Driving records will be put online and stored in a searchable, shareable database for the first time this July, allowing insurers to access a driver's history and details when they buy motor insurance.

The new system - coined MyLicence - should eventually make the process of taking out insurance - whether that be car, motorbike or van cover - much speedier and simpler.

Reducing fraud

The introduction of MyLicence is a "significant step forward in the fight against insurance fraud", according to Nick Starling of the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The ABI are spearheading the scheme alongside the Department for Transport, DVLA and the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

According to the ABI, when applying for insurance, up to a quarter of drivers with motoring offences, including disqualification, either don't declare them at all, or declare something less significant.

Being able to root out fraud should bring down the cost of premiums - eventually. It has been estimated by the ABI that the system will save an average customer £15 a year on the cost of their car insurance.

The insurance industry isn't known for its quick reaction to change, though, so while MyLicence is officially launching in July, that doesn't mean that insurers will be ready to take advantage of the system straight away.

At the moment insurers can only access DVLA data on a customer through a long and expensive process, meaning that, to protect themselves against the losses caused by scammers, honest drivers are forced to pay a higher premium.

Morgan Selbos, policy adviser at the ABI, said that while there's no "big bang approach" to MyLicence, 60% of the motor insurance market has already registered.

"It's down to each individual insurer to decide when they roll out the service, but it's a priority for them," said Selbos.

"The key benefits [of MyLicence] will be the ability to avoid mistakes, which will help the industry reduce fraud, but it will also give honest customers access to the most competitive premiums."

If you're forced to claim on your motor insurance, MyLicence should also make that process easier, as insurers will be aware of all your details straight away and be less likely to question any information given to them.

How will it work?

When you try to take out motor insurance, providers will be able to access the MyLicence database and see your details, whether or not you have any convictions, and how long you've held your licence for.

Instead of being asked to input all these details yourself, you'll simply be asked to give your driving licence number (DLN).

Information available on the database is expected to include convictions; points; conviction dates; disqualifications; type of licence held; length of time licence held; whether the applicant is entitled to drive a manual, automatic or different type of vehicle.

"While the new system will help insurers tackle fraud, customers probably won't see the full benefits for a number of years," said's Lee Griffin.

"In the long term, what it will do is make the quote process when comparing or buying motor insurance much quicker and simpler.

"Instead of customers inputting all their details themselves, including information like when they passed their driving tests and details of convictions, MyLicence will do all that for you by simply asking for your DLN.

"I for one can't remember when I passed my driving test, so it's unsurprising that mistakes occur, but this new system will reduce error and eventually the cost of premiums, too."


The project is part of the government's digital agenda, with the paper counterpart to the driving licence card due to be phased out by 2015. The paper tax disc is being scrapped in 2014, with an assisted service introduced for those who find it difficult to use the internet.

Selbos says that the scrapping of the paper licence will "make it difficult for customers to provide accurate information and will make it a must to use MyLicence".

The ABI will be also be launching a website to explain MyLicence to drivers.

"We want to educate customers about how they can use their driving licence number to buy insurance," said Selbos.