Can you drive a SORN car to an MOT without insurance?

Last updated June 2nd, 2023

You need to meet a range of requirements to legally drive a car on the roads – and having the appropriate insurance coverage is one of the most important of all.

So, what if you have previously made a SORN (Statutory Off-road Notification) for your vehicle, but now need to take it for an MOT test? In this guide, we will clarify whether you can drive a SORN car to an MOT – and whether you require insurance to do so.

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What is a SORN?

If a car is not being driven or parked on public roads, the owner can make a SORN, which notifies the DVLA that the vehicle has been taken off the road – and therefore does not require insurance or car tax.

A SORN car can only be kept on private land (e.g. on a private driveway). It cannot be parked on any public roads.

Driving a SORN car

The only scenario in which a vehicle can be used on the roads after being declared ‘SORN’ is if it is being driven directly to a pre-arranged MOT appointment at a registered garage or MOT test centre.

If you are pulled over by the police and questioned about your vehicle’s SORN status, you’ll need to prove that you are travelling for the above reason. If you are caught driving a SORN vehicle under any other circumstances, you could be hit with a fine of up to £2,500.

Please note: If your car failed its last MOT you can only drive it to an MOT retest if none of the faults highlighted fell into the ‘dangerous’ category. If your car has ‘dangerous’ faults and you are caught driving it, you may be fined up to £2,500 and receive penalty points on your licence.

When your car fails an MOT with one or more ‘dangerous’ faults, your only options are to have it repaired at the test centre - or arrange for it to be towed elsewhere for the necessary repairs.

Driving without an MOT

The annual MOT test is a mandatory requirement for most vehicles over three years old (unless they have MOT exemption). If you drive without an MOT, this can also invalidate your insurance.

Advanced speed cameras with ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology can instantly identify vehicles without a valid MOT certificate. After identifying a number plate, these cameras can check the registration against the DVLA’s database to determine whether the vehicle is insured, taxed – and MOT certified.

If you are caught driving without a valid MOT certificate, you may face a police caution and an MOT fine of up to £1,000 (or up to £2,500, if the vehicle is deemed ‘dangerous).

Unsure whether your vehicle is MOT certified? Don’t leave anything to chance. Enter its registration into our free MOT check tool for your peace of mind.

Can I drive a SORN car to an MOT?

You can legally drive a SORN car to a pre-arranged MOT test, as long as you have valid insurance coverage for the duration of the journey.

You can purchase temporary insurance from your provider to cover your journey to the MOT centre. However, you will need to book your MOT appointment prior to arranging your temporary insurance (as you will need to show proof to your insurer that the MOT has been booked as claimed).

Can I drive a SORN car to an MOT without insurance?

You can’t drive a SORN car to an MOT without insurance. If you’re caught driving without insurance in a SORN vehicle, you may face severe penalties (including a fine of up £2,500 and penalty points on your driving licence).

You can insure a SORN vehicle to drive to an MOT appointment with a temporary car insurance policy. If you do not want to purchase temporary insurance, you will need to arrange for the vehicle to be towed to the appointment instead.

Remember, after your vehicle (hopefully) passes its MOT, you should also make sure your car is taxed and arrange appropriate long-term insurance cover.