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  • James Clarke

Is Your Car Wrap Road Legal?

Updated: Sep 7, 2018


After vinyl wrapping my own VW Golf a month or two back, I made the call to my insurers to let them know of the car colour change. You can imagine it was a bit of a surprise to hear my insurance was now void and they didn’t want to touch me. Bit dramatic I thought, and a bit of a hassle but I got sorted after an hour or two with the meerkats. After googling for the legal information on car vinyl wrapping and why and who to tell, I came up blank.

This post is aimed at answering the questions on the UK’s car modification laws regarding vinyl wrapping and to give a heads up so you don’t get the shock I did.


Image showing a judge with a hammer used in a blog post about the legal requirements with car vinyl wrapping and informing DVLA insurance and police by Autowrap Centre Liverpool

If you’re a petrolhead and you’re browsing this site, chances are you’ve had a car wrap on your wish list for quite some time. Car wraps allow you to unleash your imagination and customise your vehicle to match your unique style. From basic racing stripes, to complete colour changes—even intricate designs/patterns—the possibilities are pretty much endless with vinyl wrapping.


Image of a wrapped Audi TT used in a blog post about the legal issues with vinyl wraps and who to let know when your car has been wrapped from Autowrap Centre Liverpool

Whether you’re looking to customise a company vehicle with advertisements/branding,or turn your sports car into something really special, it’s important to follow the proper laws to ensure your car wrap is legal.


Image showing a full custom van wrap used in a blog post by Autowrap Centre Liverpool about the legal requirements of car and van vinyl wrapping


Vinyl wrapping is becoming increasingly popular in the UK as an affordable and temporary way to modify your ride. However, recent changes by the DVLA have imposed new regulations for vehicle owners.


So, if you’re considering a car colour change, we’ve outlined the important insurance and DVLA information for wrapped cars below.


Who Should You Notify When Getting Your Car Wrapped?


One of the most common questions when it comes to car wraps, is who you are legally required to notify?

DVLA:

In the past, it was not required to notify the DVLA of a car wrap, because this was considered a temporary modification.

However, in 2017, the DVLA changed its stance on wraps, deeming them a permanent change and the DVLA requires all vehicle owners to report this modification.

From their perspective, the police and other law enforcement agencies rely on the DVLA to provide accurate information/descriptions for vehicles during an investigation. This includes info like make, model, and colour.


If your motor gets stolen, for example, the DVLA will use the information on file to send out a police alert. If your car is technically blue, but it’s fully covered with an orange wrap, it would be much more effective to have this information on file rather than sending out a report with a blue description.


Fortunately, notifying the DVLA is fairly simple.


Image of the DVLA V5C document used in a blog post by Autowrap Centre Liverpool looking at the legal side of vinyl car wraps, insurance info and the police.

You will need to complete section 7 of the registration certificate V5C. Once complete, you can return it to DVLA Swansea SA99 1BA. Once the paperwork has been submitted to report the change of colour, you should receive a new certificate within 2-4 weeks.


For more DVLA information for wrapped cars,you can always call them or visit their website.


Car Insurance: In addition to the DVLA, it is also important that you notify your car insurance when you get your vehicle wrapped. Some insurance companies may see wraps as a temporary change, and therefore, they will not require you to fill out any paperwork. Other companies, however, may deny insurance claims if you failed to report a wrap on your vehicle.

In order to avoid any nasty surprises in the future, it is best to contact your insurance company before wrapping your vehicle to understand what they require.


Image showing car insurance policy used in a blog post about car legal requirements from the DVLA and UK insurers when wrapping a vehicle by Autowrap Centre Liverpool
Image source

When it comes to car insurance for wrapped cars, you may or may not experience an increase in your rate. But by contacting the agency immediately you will have a better idea of their policies and have a chance to shop around if they start being unreasonable.


For me, my insurer couldn't seem to understand about car wrapping, but for this post I spoke directly with one of the big hight street insurers and they stated that they needed to know but it was classed as a mod and wouldn’t end the policy. They did say that if they didn’t know and the car was involved in a claim, the drive could ‘come unstuck’. Ouch, better to tell.


To be totally sure, contact your insurance company before wrapping your vehicle to understand what policies they have in place and how you can report cosmetic changes.



Police: If you happen to get into an accident or if your vehicle is lost, stolen, or damaged, it is important to tell police about your wrap so that they can file a proper police report.

Car wraps are temporary, and can easily be removed—which is why it is important to describe both the design of the wrap, as well as the paint colour underneath. This will protect your liability and ensure the report is properly filed so that the appropriate legal action can be taken.

To make sure there are no surprises from the DVLA or your car insurance, we recommend notifying both of these agencies and following whatever instructions they have in place.



I hope I've helped clear up some of the requirements here in the UK. If you need anymore info, (I'm not a layer tho, I wrap cars!) get in touch on social media and we'll do what we can.

Following these guidelines will make sure the bods at the DVLA and insurance companies know your ride is legal and road ready. What you waiting for?!



For more on vinyl wraps, check out our guide to car wrapping. If you’re not quite up to a full wrap yet but still want to give your car to turn heads, we've got info on the wing mirror wrapping and car window tinting we do in house here at Auto Wrap Centre Liverpool.



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