You can continue to tax and insure your car while you’re not using it. But, if you’ve got off-street parking, or a garage, and you aren’t going to be using it for a while, you might be better off getting it SORN. It means you don’t legally have to tax or insure your car.

When to SORN a car?

There are many potential reasons why you may decide to SORN a vehicle including:

  • You own a car you’re not planning to use
  • Your car requires an expensive repair and you don’t currently have enough money to pay for it
  • Your car is a write-off or is going to be scrapped, and you want to salvage parts from it first
  • You can’t insure your car for a period because you can’t afford it or you need to arrange an MOT
  • You’re going to be away for a while

How do you get a SORN?

It’s important that you do things right otherwise you could be hit with a hefty fine or even have your vehicle ceased. If you’re not going to use your vehicle for a while you must complete a SORN application. This will notify the DVLA that the vehicle has been taken off the road. Only then can you decide to either not renew or cancel your existing car insurance.

Remember that it’s illegal to own a vehicle that is uninsured so if you don’t plan on insuring it and taxing it as normal then either sell it before your insurance and tax run out or SORN the vehicle and take it off the road.

You can SORN your vehicle for free online. Alternatively, you can contact the DVLA on its 24-hour number 0300 123 4321, or complete a V890 application and send it to the DVLA. You’ll need the vehicle log book (V5C).

If you don’t own the vehicle – for example, if you’re buying it – you’ll have to apply by post.

Whichever method you use, you can specify when you want the SORN to begin.

If you get a SORN, you’ll be refunded any full months of unused tax you’ve already paid for, and you won’t need a valid MOT when the SORN is applied. You may be able to get a refund on part of your vehicle insurance too if you cancel the policy before its renewal date.

Driving a SORN vehicle on the road

It’s illegal to drive it on a public road, unless you’re on your way to a pre-booked MOT appointment. If you were stopped, you’d have to be able to prove this. Otherwise, you’d be liable to court prosecution and a hefty fine of up to £2,500.

How do I get my car back on the road after SORN?

A SORN will automatically end when you tax your vehicle again, sell it, scrap it, or permanently export it. You don’t need to renew it every year – as long as the vehicle remains in the UK, the SORN will be valid until one of the events outlines above occurs.