Last updated: 27/08/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
You don’t need to pay tax or insurance on your car if you aren’t using it, provided you keep it off the road.
However, you do need to officially declare your car as unused by taking out a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) in order to avoid fines or even prosecution for unpaid tax or having an uninsured vehicle, it is not enough to simply leave it in a garage.
In this guide:
What if I don't take out a SORN?
Due to new, strict Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) regulations, it is absolutely essential that you officially declare it off-road by taking out a SORN.
If you are caught without car insurance or a SORN, you will be sent an Insurance Advisory Letter (IAL) informing you of you vehicle’s uninsured status and threatening penalty action unless the situation is addressed and the car insured and taxed (with any tax due in arrears paid).
This penalty action can range from a fixed fine of £100, to prosecution, car seizure and a fine of up to £1,000 – so it is not something to take lightly.
There are means of tracking down uninsured and untaxed vehicles, even if they’re never driven, by comparing records on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) with those held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), so it is absolutely vital that you take action if you’ve got a car you’re not using.
How can I take out a SORN?
Applying for a SORN is relatively straightforward and can be done by contacting the DVLA either online or on the phone.
You’ll need the following information to start:
The 16 digit reference number from your vehicle tax renewal letter (V11 or V85/1), and
The 11 digit reference number on your vehicle log book (V5C
You don’t need to pay anything, and once you’ve applied you should get a letter from the DVLA confirming this within four weeks.
Bear in mind that your SORN will expire after a year so you will need to renew it if you wish to maintain your vehicle’s off-road status in the eyes of the government.
How do I cancel a SORN if I want to start using my vehicle?
It’s pretty straightforward to get back on the road after taking out a SORN, even before it expires.
All you need to do is insure your vehicle and set up your road tax by contacting the DVLA and sending of your V5C vehicle log book.
Once you’ve done this your SORN will automatically expire and you’ll be free to take your car out on the road.
If you're not sure about your vehicle's current insurance status, read our helpful guide on how to check if your car is insured.
When you do come to take out a car insurance policy, make sure you compare providers using our free and impartial insurance comparison service so you can continue saving money.