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Policy holder, registered keeper and legal owner of vehicle explained

gices
(Level 5)
20 Sep 2014 11:39, updated
17 Feb 2009, published

If you're shopping around for car insurance, you are more likely to come across questions asking whether you are the registered keeper of the car you want to insure and whether you are going to be the policy holder as well. Therefore before you can fill out the insurance application form as accurately as possible, you will need to understand properly the terminology that is being used.

Who is the policy holder?

The policy holder is the main driver of the vehicle and is the person who will be using the car more often. If there are additional drivers, they will become named drivers on the car insurance policy and will be legally entitled to drive the car with the same insurance protection as the main driver (named drivers should use the car less frequently than the main driver though).

Who is the registered keeper?

The registered keeper is the person whose name appears on Section 5 of the Registration Certificate of the vehicle (also called the log book, V5C). That person is responsible for taxing the vehicle, doing the MOT and maintaining it in good condition. Traffic violations like parking tickets and speeding fines will be sent to the registered keeper as well.

Who is the legal owner?

The legal owner is the owner of the car, that is, the person who has a legally enforceable claim to the car. That person has the right to sell the vehicle while the registered keeper is not in a position to do that (if registered keeper and owner are different that is).

Most of the time, the legal owner and the registered keeper will be the same person. However in cases where a car is leased, then the legal owner will normally be the company and the registered keeper the employee who uses the car. Another example is when a father buys a car for the son to use - the father may want to retain all rights to the car but give the responsibility of day to day running to the son.

How does it affect car insurance

Most car insurance companies will insist that the policy holder be the registered keeper to keep things simple and will not quote for cases where these are different. By law, the policy holder does not need to be the registered keeper but you will be narrowing your choices of insurers if you are in this situation. This is mostly to do with the fact that many experienced drivers used to put down their name as the policyholder while a younger driver would be the registered keeper so that they can get cheaper car insurance. Of course insurers have thus cracked down on this approach because it's fronting and have therefore insisted for both policy holder and keeper to be the same.

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Comments (3)
anonymous
anonymous  (Level 2)
10 Jul 2012 13:05
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Me and my wife bought a car on finance which is now paid. The payments for the car was made from my wife's bank but it was me who put the money in the bank from my wages. The logbook for the car is in my name but now we have split up and she as given the car to her new boyfriend. Have I got any legal rights to stop him from driving the car or taking the car back as I am the registered keeper?

With thanks, hope someone can help me on this matter.

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gices
gices  (Level 5)
10 Jul 2012 13:06

Since you have been putting money in your wife's bank account to pay for the car finance, it will seem that she has been paying it instead of you. As the registered keeper, you do not have any legal rights on the car and you should consider taking your name off it because any speeding tickets/parking fines incurred by whoever is driving the car at the moment, will be sent to you.

If you can prove that you've been putting money in the bank for the purpose of paying the car finance, then you will stand a ground to win back the car but you will have to show proof that you've been putting money regularly (every month perhaps and a fixed sum to cover the loan payments). You should seek professional advice on this matter though.

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anonymous
anonymous  (Level 2)
19 Sep 2012 18:06
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My mother (54) who has a provisional license is wanting to buy me (her son, 22 about to pass my test, (first time driver)) a car as we need one for her new business, so she would be the owner of the car! we are first time buyers and don't know who's name it should be registered in! my mother has no intention of driving the car so would she need to be insured on the car?

I have yet to pass my test so in the meantime we are wanting to put my partner (25 who has driven over 7 years) on the car until I can drive but with me also insured so I can do lessons till I pass etc

Should both myself and my partner be put on the insurance? and should I be the registered keeper? and should me or my partner be a named driver?

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Replies (1)
gices
gices  (Level 5)
10 Oct 2013 11:44

It's probably better to register the car in your partner's name and list you as a named driver on the car insurance policy.

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anonymous
anonymous  (Level 2)
23 Sep 2013 10:47
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I am the registered keeper of my car, but my now ex-partner is the name on the insurance policy and I am a named driver we are no longer together can I become the main name on the policy?

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gices
gices  (Level 5)
10 Oct 2013 11:41

Course you can, you just need to contact your insurer.

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