Don’t buy a pre-registered car without the V5

We reveal the potentially serious pitfalls of buying a pre-registered car without its V5 registration document, as highlighted by a BBC investigation...

Don’t buy a pre-registered car without the V5

If you’re considering buying a car that's pre-registered – that is a new one that’s already been registered to the selling dealer – make sure you get the car’s V5 registration document at the time of purchase in order to avoid potential problems later on.

The V5 is an important piece of paperwork because it is what shows that you are the registered keeper of the car. You should get it when you buy any car, and you should notify the DVLA that you are the car’s new owner as soon as possible.

If you don’t have a car’s V5 you may not be able to get it insured, and cover you’ve already arranged may be invalidated. You’ll also be put in an awkward position if you’re stopped by the police and can’t produce all of the car’s documents.

Some traders may try to hold on to the V5 for a certain amount of time if they’ve bought the car at a discount that’s dependent on them keeping it for a set time. While these cars may look appealing because they’re being offered for sale at lower prices than others, we’d advise against buying any vehicle without getting the V5 document at the time of sale.