What do you do if you have a car that you want to take off the road? Maybe it’s a classic car that you never drive but you don’t want to sell. Or maybe you don’t use your car and don’t want to keep paying for Car Insurance. If you want to take a vehicle off the road, and stop taxing and insuring it, you need to make a SORN.

What does SORN mean?

SORN means Statutory Off Road Notification, and it tells the DVLA that you’ve taken your car off the road. It means you don’t have to pay vehicle tax or keep your car insured.

If you SORN a car, you’re not allowed to drive it on public roads. You also can’t park it on the street. If you have a SORN, your car must be kept in a garage or on a private driveway.

Why would you need to SORN a car?

Some people take their car off the road because they go away from home for a long period or time, or they only take their prized classic car out for a spin during the warmer summer months. If you buy a project that needs a lot of TLC, you may also want a SORN as you won’t be driving the vehicle for sometime. 

According to the DVLA, you must get a SORN for your car in any of the following situations:

  • Your vehicle isn’t taxed
  • Your vehicle isn’t insured – this applies even if it’s just for a brief time, for instance, if there’s a delay renewing your policy
  • You want to break a vehicle down for parts
  • You want to take a vehicle off the road

It’s important to note that you can’t transfer a car SORN between owners, so even if you buy a car that’s already off the road, you’ll have to take out a SORN yourself.

How to SORN a car

It’s easy to apply a SORN to your car. The simplest way to make a SORN is through the government’s website, but you can also give the DVLA a ring on 0300 123 432. This is a 24-hour service. Finally, you can send off a V890 form in the post.

You should ensure that your address is correct in your V5C (log book) before you make a SORN application. If it’s not, then you can update your address online or by post before registering your car as off the road.

If the car isn’t registered in your name, then you should fill out the relevant part of the log book and send it to the DVLA along with a V890 form rather than applying for a SORN online. And if you don’t have a V5C, then you can fill out an application for one at a cost of £25.

How long is a SORN valid?

A SORN lasts for as long as you need it – if you’re keeping your car off the road, you can use a SORN to ensure you don’t have to pay tax or insurance. However, it’s worth remembering that if you sell the car, the SORN won’t transfer to the new owner. If they also want to keep it off the road, they’ll have to apply for a new one.

You can also choose when the car SORN starts when you apply for it. If you want it to begin immediately, then you should use the 11-digit number on your V5C. If you’re looking to begin the SORN from the first day of the next month, then use the 16-digit number found on your V11 (your vehicle tax reminder letter) instead.

If you apply to put a car on SORN by post, you can choose the start date, and your SORN will begin on whatever date you put on the form. You can’t backdate a SORN, and it’ll be automatically cancelled if you tax your vehicle again, sell it, scrap it, or export it. If you tax your car after a SORN and then decide to take it off road again later, you’ll have to apply for another SORN.

Do you have to pay to SORN a car?

Applying for SORN is completely free. It could save you a lot of money if you have a classic car that’s kept in the garage and never driven. In fact, you’ll even receive a refund for any vehicle tax you’ve paid in advance for future months.

Although it’s free to make a car SORN, it’s essential that you remember to do so. If your car isn’t taxed and insured and also doesn’t have a SORN, you’ll automatically be fined £80. You may also be subject to additional fines for having an uninsured vehicle. The standard fine for this is £100, but if you get taken to court, the fine could be increased to a maximum of £1,000.

Can a SORN car be parked on the road?

If you get a SORN for your car, you can keep it on a private driveway, on private land or in a garage.

You cannot keep it on the road.

If you don’t have your own driveway, you could rent a garage or other storage facility in which to keep your car. Remember: if you need to drive your car to get to its storage location, the car will need to be taxed and insured for the journey. Once it is safely stored, you can apply for a SORN. 

Can I sell a SORN car?

Of course you can!

SORN cars can certainly be sold, but the new owner must understand that they will need to take out their own SORN. Also, they will need to tax and insure the vehicle should they wish to drive it to its new home.

Is my vehicle SORNed?

If you want to check the status of a car, you can head over to the UK government website and run a check.

On the website, simply fill in the form to find out if a SORN is in place. If you have only just registered a SORN, it may take a few days for the database to update.

Does SORN affect insurance?

Your Car Insurance isn’t automatically cancelled when you SORN your car.. If you want to cancel your insurance, you’ll have to contact your broker or insurer directly. You may have to pay an early cancellation fee for your policy. If you’ve made a claim, you might owe your insurer money for the remaining months left on your policy.

Can you insure a SORN car?

Once your car has been given a SORN, the law says you no longer have to insure it. However, you may still want to for peace of mind and added security.

If you cancel your Car Insurance while your car has a SORN, you wouldn’t be covered for any accidental or weather damage, or for the theft of your car – and if you have a classic car, that could end up being expensive to repair. If you continue your insurance cover though, you’ll still be able to claim even though your car is off the road.

You may be able to change your cover to a SORN Car Insurance policy, sometimes known as Laid-Up Insurance. This type of policy will cover loss or damage from fire or theft while your car is off the road. Of course, it doesn’t cover you for driving. If you want to drive your car at any point, remember to cancel your SORN and switch back to regular Car Insurance!

Will I lose my no claims bonus if I SORN my car?

If you decide to continue to insure your car, then you won’t lose your no claims bonus. However, if you decide not to insure your car, then it really depends on your insurance provider.

There isn’t usually an expiry date for no claims bonuses, but a very extended period between Car Insurance policies could mean that you lose your benefit. An ‘extended period’ is usually judged to be more than 2 years. 

There may be some providers who will reinstate your no claims bonus, but they could be few and far between. 

Get a Quote for Laid-Up Car Insurance

SORN Car Insurance is usually cheaper than regular insurance because you’re not driving the car. We can help you to find the best insurance deal for your circumstances – just give the team a call on 0800 917 2274 and we’ll happily give you a free, no-obligation quote.