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What’s the difference between a car’s owner and registered keeper?

10th Dec, 2019

If you’ve already started to look for the best places to scrap your car, you may well have already seen that the terms ‘car owner’ and ‘registered keeper’ are often used interchangeably. This can be confusing, as they’re not always necessarily the same thing. Essentially, a car’s registered keeper is the main driver, and the person responsible for taxing the vehicle, insuring it and ensuring it has a proper MOT. On the other hand, a car’s owner is just that – the person who has paid for it, or was given it as a gift. Most of the time, the car’s owner and its registered keeper will be the same person – but not always!

A company car is a good example; the registered keeper will be the employee who drives it to and from work, and makes sure that it’s properly maintained and paid for. However, the car will actually be owned by the business. The car owner and the registered keeper both have slightly different responsibilities towards the vehicle, so we’ve explored them in more detail below.

The car’s registered keeper

As we touched on above, the car’s registered keeper is basically the main driver. They are responsible for making sure that it’s taxed, insured, in possession of a valid MOT, and basically roadworthy. As the term suggests, the registered keeper will also be the person who’s named on the registration document. This is part of the reason why the V5 is not regarded as proof of ownership, something you may have already guessed from the words “this document is not proof of ownership” in massive bold capital letters on the front.


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Crucially, the registered keeper is also the first point of contact for the police or DVLA about any queries or offences relating to the use of the car. That includes things like parking tickets, speeding, or involvement in collisions. The registered keeper is also liable for giving third parties permission to drive the vehicle without first checking if they have appropriate insurance and a full driving licence. (Teenagers can sometimes be susceptible to this sort of behaviour!)

The car’s owner

If you’re the car owner but you’re not the registered keeper, it’s never a bad idea to keep a copy of the original invoice or receipt from when you originally bought the vehicle, or when you were given it as a gift. Ideally, you’ll want to have a record of:

  • The date it came into your possession
  • The amount you paid for it
  • The method of payment
  • Who it was sold by
  • Who it was sold to
  • The make, model and registration number

If you’re the owner but not the registered keeper (for example if you’re a parent, or a small business owner), then you might want to make sure the registration documents reflect that fact. While you may not be held responsible for certain offences like speeding, as the car’s owner you could be held responsible for certain other offences. For example, if you give someone permission to use the car when you know full well that it’s not insured or safely roadworthy, that can get you into serious trouble. In fact, this is why most insurance policies will insist that the car’s registered keeper is the same person as the owner, and may incur higher premiums if that’s not the case.

When the time comes to scrap your car, here at Scrap Car Network we don’t necessarily need both of you to be present (unless, as we’ve covered, you are indeed the same person). Instead, we only need the V5C so that we can check your identity as the registered keeper of the vehicle. Lost your V5C? No problem – it’s actually quite a common issue. We can even scrap your car without it, as long as you can provide some other form of definitive proof that you’re the registered keeper.

The entire process kicks off with a single scrap car quote – which you can get right here on our site! Just enter your car reg and postcode into the fields above, and we’ll give you your scrap car quote. The entire process takes less than ten seconds. Curious to see how much your car is worth?

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