Last updated May 12, 2023
Driving a car anywhere without valid insurance is illegal. If caught, you may incur a £300 fine and receive penalty points on your licence – or in some cases, a more severe penalty such as disqualification from driving and an unlimited fine.
There are no exceptions here. Even if you are driving your car to an MOT test, you could still be prosecuted if you do not have valid insurance.
This can present a problem if you own a car that is due its annual MOT, but you don’t want to insure it full time. In this guide, we will clarify the rules regarding MOTs and insurance, what they mean for drivers – and the various insurance options at your disposal when you need to get your car MOT tested.
Having a valid MOT certificate for your vehicle is a requirement for most car insurance policies. This means that if you do not have a valid MOT, your insurance policy is void - and you won’t be able to claim on your insurance in the event of an accident, even if you are still paying for the policy.
Some insurance providers will allow you to take out a policy on a vehicle that does not have a valid MOT, providing you meet one of the following requirements:
However, you should bear in mind that unless it is MOT exempt, the circumstances in which you can drive an MOT-less vehicle are very limited, even if you are insured. You cannot usually drive on the roads – or even tax a car without an MOT.
Most insurance providers will not allow drivers whose vehicles are not covered by an MOT certificate to claim on their car insurance policy, unless the vehicle qualifies for MOT exemption, with this exemption outlined in the policy.
It is illegal to drive or park your car on any public roads if your vehicle is not covered by a valid MOT certificate. The only exception is that you may drive your vehicle to a garage or MOT test centre for a pre-arranged MOT appointment or repairs.
If you are caught driving without a valid MOT and cannot prove that you are travelling to a pre-arranged MOT appointment (or for repairs highlighted by a failed MOT), you may receive a fine and penalty points on your licence. For a full explanation of the penalties you may incur, see our guide ‘MOT fines: The law explained for driving with no MOT’.
If you sell your MOT failure, the buyer will need to arrange for it to be transported at the point of sale, as the vehicle cannot be used on the roads until it has a valid MOT certificate.
If you wish to check whether a vehicle is covered by a valid MOT certificate, simply enter its reg number into our free MOT check tool and find out in seconds.
If you wish to check whether your vehicle is still covered by a valid insurance policy, read our guide on how to check if your car is insured. It’s important that you understand the rules surrounding your car insurance policy - and are aware of when you need to renew it or reinsure your car.
If you are caught driving a car without a valid MOT, you could receive an MOT fine and penalty points on your licence.
ANPR cameras, which are mounted on police cars (and placed in other locations such as car parks, A-roads and motorways) can instantly check whether your vehicle has a valid MOT. To learn more, see our guide to the different types of speed cameras on UK roads.
You can report a vehicle without an MOT to the police if you suspect that it is being used on the roads illegally.
Driving without insurance is illegal under any circumstances. It is a legal requirement to have at least third-party car insurance if you are using your vehicle on public roads.
Failure to arrange valid insurance before driving is a criminal offence and if caught, you could receive a £300 fine and 6 penalty points on your licence. However, if the case goes to court, you could receive an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving.
A full insurance policy will offer you the best possible cover before and after you drive to your MOT test. However, this is the most expensive option and may not be ideal for those who do not intend to drive their car regularly following the MOT.
Most short-term car insurance policies will cover you to drive to your MOT test and are a cost-effective option for those who do not need a full car insurance policy.
You only need insurance to drive your car to its MOT. Therefore, you won’t need insurance if you arrange for the vehicle to be collected and transported to and from the test centre instead.
If your car is registered as off-road or SORN (Statutory Off-road Notification), it does not need an MOT certificate. However, you will need to get an MOT and insurance cover for your car if you do plan to reverse its SORN status.
In this instance, you can drive your SORN vehicle to a pre-booked MOT appointment, so long as it has valid insurance and can reasonably be considered roadworthy. If stopped by the police, you may be asked to prove that you are travelling to an MOT appointment.
It’s never easy to know exactly what to do after a car accident, but the situation can be complicated even further if you have collided with another driver - and you don’t have a valid MOT certificate.
In this scenario, any insurance policy you had would be voided since you do not have a valid MOT. Therefore, you would not be able to make a claim on your policy to cover any damage caused by yourself or another driver.
You cannot drive a car to a scrapyard without a valid MOT. If you wish to drive the vehicle to the scrapyard yourself, you will need to arrange temporary insurance first.
However, rather than arranging an MOT, temporary car insurance (or both) to scrap your car, it may be simpler (and more economical) to arrange for the vehicle to be transported to the yard.