1.6 Million Drivers At Risk Of £1,000 Fine For Expired Photo Card Licences

03 January 2012

Following a Freedom of Information request(1), Sainsbury’s car insurance has discovered that over 1.6 million drivers could be at risk of a £1,000 fine because the photo card on their driving licence has expired. In addition, almost 3 million drivers must renew their photo by the end of 2012 yet many are not aware of this. Sainsbury’s car insurance is encouraging all drivers to avoid any risk of incurring a fine by checking the expiry date of their photo card and ensuring it is updated when required.

According to the DVLA, UK drivers are required to update their photo on their photo card driving licence every 10 years and British law requires drivers to do this whether or not they are active drivers. Having an expired photograph on your driving licence carries a £1,000 fine; it could be enforced by the police (under Section 99 (5) of the Road Traffic Act 1988). There is no impact on your car insurance as long as the driver has not been disqualified or told not to drive by the DVLA (due to a medical issue, for example). However, Sainsbury’s car insurance is encouraging best practice and is therefore highlighting that all drivers have a responsibility to ensure their licence is kept up to date.

The supermarket bank carried out a further survey (1, 2) and found that fewer than one in three (30% or 487,000) of those drivers with an expired licence are aware that their licence has expired. A further 10 million people do not know when their driving licence expires and 14% (234,984) of expired photo card licences have been out of date since 2009 or before.

The research(1) also revealed that the vast majority of drivers are unaware of the true consequences of having an expired photograph on their driving licence. Just 29% know that it could make you liable for a £1,000 fine, and more men (30%) than women (28%) are aware of this. However almost a third (31%) of drivers incorrectly said they thought it could invalidate your motor insurance and 27% thought it could mean getting points on your licence. Interestingly, 13% of drivers thought it could result in your car being confiscated. Almost half (41%) of motorists admitted to not knowing the consequences of having an expired photograph on their driving licence.

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s car insurance said: “The photo card driving licence was introduced in 1998 so it’s unsurprising that those issued with a licence around that time may not remember that they need to update their photograph. We would therefore encourage all drivers to check when their photo card was issued and ensure that they arrange to update their photo when required to avoid risking a £1,000 fine.

“Drivers should also remember that their photo card licence serves as more than just a driving licence. Should they intend to use it as a form of identification for other things such as hiring a car or an internal flight, for example, having an out of date photograph could cause problems or delays.”

Sainsbury’s car insurance offers two options of cover, a standard policy and a Premier Cover option. Both products offer some of the widest range of cover and benefits available in the marketplace.
New Sainsbury’s car insurance customers could also benefit from double Nectar points on all Sainsbury’s shopping in-store, online and in petrol filling stations for two years; the saving equates to the equivalent of 2% off their Sainsbury’s purchases when paying along with their Nectar card(3). For example, those spending £49 a week in-store at Sainsbury’s could, over a year, earn up to a week’s free shopping(4).

For further information on Sainsbury’s car insurance, call 0800 092 9459, visit or pick up a leaflet in store.


For further information, please contact:
Ian Morris / Tom Wilson
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7638 9571

Notes to editors:

(1) Based on a FOI request by Sainsbury’s Finance to the DVLA on 17.10.11
(2) Based on a survey of 2004 UK based adults conducted by ICM research on behalf of Sainsbury’s Finance on 11th -13th November, 2011
(3) Double Nectar points available to customers purchasing comprehensive cover. The policy must be renewed at first renewal for double Nectar points to continue. for full terms and conditions. Points are not available on a limited range of Sainsbury’s goods and services – see in-store or for details.
(4) Week’s free shopping earned by combining base points earned in-store/online and offer bonus points for 2 years when you collect double Nectar points with selected finance products. For example, £49 per weekly spend over a year earned 10,192 Nectar points = £50 approx to redeem in-store. Bonus Nectar points subject to a monthly maximum of 2,500 points per qualifying product type per month.
Sainsbury’s Finance:
To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury’s Finance online media centre

Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Finance provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times.  Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

Sainsbury’s Finance recent awards include Best Overall Online Provider, Best Online Pet Insurance Provider, Best Online Personal Loan Provider and Best Direct Home Insurance Provider at the Your Money Awards 2011.

Sainsbury’s Finance is a joint venture between J.Sainsbury plc and Lloyds Banking Group.
For further information and general Sainsbury’s Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit

About RBS Insurance
RBS Insurance is the second largest general insurer in the UK1 and is wholly owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Headquartered in Bromley, Kent, it has operations in the UK, Germany and Italy.

It provides a wide range of general insurance products to consumers through a number of well known brands including; Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. It also provides insurance services for third party brands, through its U K Insurance Limited division.  In the commercial sector, its NIG and Direct Line for Business operations provide insurance products for businesses via brokers or direct respectively.

In addition to insurance services, RBS Insurance continues to provide support and reassurance to millions of UK motorists through its Green Flag breakdown recovery service and Tracker stolen vehicle recovery and telematics business.

1Based on policies in force 2010.

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