Verifying car ownership details is a crucial step when considering the purchase of a used vehicle. 1 in 3 vehicle checks uncover history not disclosed by the seller, so it’s crucial to check before deciding to buy.

Whilst it is illegal in the UK to get personal details of a car owner by license plate, there is plenty of other information that you can find out online through a car owner search to make sure you’re not getting into bother when buying that second-hand car.

By checking ownership details prior to purchase, you can ensure that the seller has the legal right to transfer ownership.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary information and steps to find car ownership details by license plate, allowing you to make an informed decision with confidence.

Using Online Tools to Find Car Ownership Details

There are various online platforms and databases that offer services for checking car ownership details by license plate.

These tools can provide valuable information about the registered vehicle to help in your purchase decision.

Many of the tools available will show basic information such as the vehicle make and model, it’s age, MOT & Tax status for free.

However, for more detailed checks such as outstanding finance or write-off information, a fee is usually charged. 

It is unlawful in the UK to disclose a registered keeper’s details without their permission, although, If you want to find details such as the registered keeper’s name and address for instance it may be possible, but will involve some work to find out. 

To use online tools effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a reputable online platform or database that offers car ownership lookup services.
  2. Enter the license plate number of the vehicle in question into the search bar.
  3. Review the search results to obtain the car’s details.

When using online tools, it’s important to ensure the legitimacy and reliability of the platform.

Look for user reviews and ratings to gauge the credibility of the service.

Can You Find the Car Owner’s Personal Details Through a License Plate Check?

The short answer is no.

It is against the law in the UK to disclose a registered keeper’s details without their permission, although, If you want to find details such as the registered keeper’s name and address for instance it may be possible, but will involve some work to find out. 

Accessing Car Ownership Information Through the DVLA

In addition to online tools, individuals can access car ownership details through official channels. This would involve contacting the DVLA.

The DVLA won’t release owner details online. They will at times give details related to the previous or current keepers but only in certain circumstances. 

Because of UK privacy laws, the DVLA won’t just give out ownership details so easily. You must meet certain criteria before applying to the DVLA for this information. 

Here’s how to request car ownership information from the DVLA:

You must first have “reasonable cause” to obtain such details.

Examples of ‘reasonable cause’ for the DVLA would be:

  • finding out who was responsible for an accident
  • tracing the registered keeper of an abandoned vehicle
  • tracing the registered keeper of a vehicle parked on private land
  • giving out parking tickets
  • giving out trespass charge notices
  • tracing people responsible for driving off without paying for goods and services
  • tracing people suspected of insurance fraud

Requesting details of the previous or current owner of a vehicle is not possible just because you want to buy the car. It’s much stricter than that.

In order to obtain these details, you will need to fill in a form V888 with the DVLA.

Verifying Car Ownership Details Before Making a Purchase

Before finalising a vehicle purchase, it’s essential to verify the obtained car ownership details. This can be done by cross-referencing the information with the seller’s documentation and conducting additional checks if necessary.

Here are some tips for ensuring a secure and reliable transaction:

  1. Compare results from the car ownership search with the seller’s identification and vehicle registration documents.
  2. Look for any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the information provided.
  3. Consider seeking professional assistance or legal advice if there are doubts or uncertainties about the car ownership details.

By verifying car ownership details, individuals can mitigate the risk of purchasing a vehicle with unclear or disputed ownership, outstanding finance or other nasty surprises that an unscrupulous seller may be holding back from divulging.


In conclusion, verifying the details of a used car before purchase is an essential step in the process.

By using online tools and accessing official channels, individuals can obtain the necessary information to make informed decisions.

It’s crucial to interpret and validate the obtained car ownership information and ensure a secure transaction.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, individuals can confidently check important details of a car by its license plate and proceed with their vehicle purchase with peace of mind.